5 Simple Ways to Communicate with Your Choir

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Communication skills are such an important part of ministry: keeping people connected and engaged, and making them feel a part of the things that are going on, both in the music program and in the church as a whole. Clear, consistent communication is key to building and sustaining your music program and developing that core sense of community among all involved.

I’ve talked about building community before (see How to Build Community in Your Choir), but it’s worth saying again:

"I believe the heart of ministry is community - a sense of connectedness, fellowship, and unity; shared responsibility and ownership. If we aren't united in our mission and work together as a choir, what kind of ministry do we have?"

How do you unite everyone, in mission and work? You guessed it - communication.

It doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact, the simpler the communication is, the easier and more effective it will be most times. The important thing is that you keep communication lines open, that you regularly share updates, encouragement, news, and other reminders in a consistent way, and that you do your best to keep people involved and connected to the work you’re doing. 

Here are five simple ways to communicate regularly with your choir throughout the year:

1  |  Spoken Announcements

Spoken announcements are a natural way to communicate important information quickly and effectively.

What to include:
- 2-3 short-term reminders (e.g. "Don’t forget to RSVP for the picnic!” or “Mark your calendars for our Christmas Choir Kickoff next month!")

Share these announcements toward the beginning of your rehearsal, or in the middle (next to the talk break!). If you have a whiteboard in your rehearsal space, consider writing the most important announcement/reminder on the board for everyone to see.

2  |  Weekly Emails

Collect everyone’s email addresses at the beginning of the year (or when they join the choir) and get in the practice of sending out regular messages to the group (make sure to BCC the group’s email addresses to avoid others hijacking your list).

What to include:
- a short note from you (gratitude, encouragement)
- short-term announcements and reminders
- warm welcome to any new members, guests, or visitors at rehearsal this week
- highlighted prayer requests (with permission)

Send this out the day after your rehearsal as a way of recapping what took place and bridging to Sunday.

3  |  Monthly Newsletters

Put together a simple, one-page newsletter each month to communicate news, events, and other pertinent information. Print enough copies for everyone in your choir and have it available at the first rehearsal of each month.

What to include:
- a short note from you (reflection, encouragement, inspiration)
- longer-term announcements and reminders
- a list of upcoming anthems (for the month)
- choir birthdays (with permission)
- warm welcome to any new members
- a special thank-you to volunteers (music filers, folder organizers, robe cleaners, etc.)

Print and copy this on a different color each month, so it’s easy to spot. Put one in each choir box and post one on a bulletin board (or somewhere else) in your rehearsal space.

4  |  Calling Tree

Most of these are paid services, but they are a super-fast way to call everyone in your group without the mess (and delay) of an old-fashioned phone tree. Simply call in to the service and record your message, and they will automatically call everyone on your list for you. When your choir members pick up the phone (or it goes to voicemail), they will hear your message.

What to include:
- voice reminders (e.g. special rehearsals, what time to come on Sunday, what you’re singing, last-minute change-of-plans, etc.)
- use a service like DialMyCalls or Call-Em-All to deliver your voice message to your phone list

This is a great way to communicate last-minute reminders or changes, related to weather, illness, or other emergencies. You could also use it in addition to an email, if you have a group that does better with phone messages than emails. For the latter, make this call on Friday or Saturday so the details are fresh in people’s minds.

5  |  Short-and-Sweet Text Messages

What to include:
- quick reminders (e.g. what time to come tomorrow)
- last-minute changes (due to weather, illness, or emergencies)
- use a service like EZ Texting (free for up to 250 msgs/mo.), Remind (free), Class Pager (free for 25 people, unlimited texts)

*You might also consider services like One Call Now or Flock Note (free for up to 40 members), which offer a combination of services including email, voice calls, and group texts.*

How to do you communicate with your choir throughout the year? What are your best strategies?