Planning the Choir Year: 4 Creative Theme Ideas for Your Children's Choir

Planning the Choir Year: 4 Creative Theme Ideas for Your Children's Choir

How do you plan your choir year?

Maybe you spend some time over the summer mapping out what dates your choir will sing, what hymns you’d like to teach them, listening to new releases from the publishers to get ideas for anthems, and searching Pinterest for games and other creative ideas.

Maybe you plan the first few weeks of rehearsals and then get burnt out and start winging it.

Maybe you’re somewhere in between.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”

We need to plan ahead in order to teach effectively. We need to think about the musical growth and learning we’d like to see and make a plan for how to get there.

Life Lately: Spring Edition

Life Lately: Spring Edition

I’ve been thinking a lot about seasons lately - how they shift and change, pulling us into something new, yet familiar, inviting us to change right along with it.

There’s something so reassuring about picturing your life this way: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

This past season (since my Winter update) has been full of new things: new places, new friends, new challenges, new house projects, new habits.

This is life lately:

How to Use Vocal Exploration in Your Rehearsals: 19 Practical Ideas

How to Use Vocal Exploration in Your Rehearsals: 19 Practical Ideas

Vocal exploration, or time spent exploring what the voice can do is a vital part of early childhood and elementary music-making. Invite your singers to experience what their voice can do and experiment with different types of sounds.

As you plan your choir rehearsals, look for new and creative ways for children to explore what their voices can do. 

Spend a few minutes each week reviewing the four voices: speaking, singing, whispering, shouting. Then, take some time to create vocal sound effects that span the entire vocal range. This helps them build coordination and develop control of their voice, learn about their voice and what it means to sing, and build personal confidence.

11 Prayers for Children's Choir

11 Prayers for Children's Choir

Prayer is an important part of any church choir rehearsal, but maybe especially for children’s choirs.

Spiritual growth goes hand-in-hand with music education in this setting, and taking time to pray together is an important part of cultivating faith, learning how to trust, and developing a personal understanding of who God is.

Praying a short, simple prayer on the spot is always an option, but if you’re looking for something different, here are a few other ideas for prayers you can use in your children’s choir rehearsals:

What to Sing with Your Summer Choir

What to Sing with Your Summer Choir

So, you’ve decided to have a summer choir. 😊

You’ve invited your current choir members and put the word out to others in the congregation who might be interested. Now, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to sing each week.

Depending on how you structure your summer choir, you may have a general sense of how many people you’ll have each week (and how many parts you’ll have covered). But, if you’re leaving it more open and letting people show up without RSVPing ahead of time, choosing music can be a bit more complicated.

Related post: Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

You need anthems that are:

  • singable and intuitive

  • written in an accessible way

  • easy to learn

Jumpstart Your Music Career with These Helpful Tips

Jumpstart Your Music Career with These Helpful Tips

The beginning of a new career is an exciting time, full of energy, motivation, and possibility.

Maybe you’re taking that first step from music student to music professional, newly-printed diploma in hand (or in the mail - sometimes these things take a while).

Or maybe you’ve been working for a few years and are ready to make a change and set off in a new direction.

Maybe you’re in between things: trying to figure out what you want to do and what kind of musician you want to become, or maybe you’re beginning a second career later in life.

Wherever you are today, and wherever you hope to be in the next few months, here are 5 helpful tips for getting started:

Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

It’s that time of the year: The days are getting longer, the grass is growing taller, and we can (finally) leave the house without putting on a coat - summer is almost here!

As people are wrapping up their school-year commitments and making plans for those lazy, hazy days of summer, now is the perfect time to start organizing a summer choir at your church.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:

“That’s not in my contract!”
"We all deserve a little break, don’t you think?”
"No one would come if we had rehearsals in the summer.”

I get it. Summer choirs may work really well in some churches and not-so-well in others.

The good news is, there’s not a one-size-fits-all model.

Dear Creative: A Letter to Freelance Musicians

Dear Creative: A Letter to Freelance Musicians

Dear Creative,

Life as a musician is beautiful, messy, deeply fulfilling, and complex work.

It starts within—a desire to do work that matters, to make a difference; a yearning for beauty; a spark of creativity. It requires you to take risks, listen, adapt, and live with abandon.

It’s what all artists do, really. We dream, we try, we create, we innovate. 

There will be good days, times when you feel like you are making a difference, creating something beautiful, and truly serving people.

And, like anything in life, there will be hard days mixed in, as well.

7 More Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program

7 More Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program

A few years ago, I wrote a post called, 10 Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program. Today, I’m writing a follow-up post to share seven more ideas to add to your inspiration list.

Choir programs are a great way to keep your choir members engaged and committed to rehearsals (especially toward the end of the academic year, or over the summer) and explore some new music that you wouldn’t normally sing during the church year.

The music you choose will depend on your choir's interests and abilities, your church, and your goals for the music program. Plan a choir program as a fundraiser of some kind or to celebrate a special anniversary for your church. Consider collaborating with other church choirs in the area to create a special community event.

Six Things to Read, Watch, or Listen to This Week

Six Things to Read, Watch, or Listen to This Week

It’s that time of year: full schedules, full to-do lists; trying to keep up, show up, live up to expectations; rushing a little more, relaxing a little less. 

You know the feeling.

Often, they’re subtle changes—choices we don’t even realize we’re making until we find ourselves here: a little more anxious, a little less rested, a little more curt, a little less kind.

Maybe this is the week we give ourselves and those around us an extra measure of grace.

Maybe now is the time to step back, slow down, eliminate the nonessentials and simplify our schedules and hearts and minds.

Because teaching and leading and working from a place of stress doesn’t serve anyone.