choir rehearsal

Making the Most of Your Weekly Choir Rehearsal: 7 Helpful Strategies to Save You Time

Making the Most of Your Weekly Choir Rehearsal: 7 Helpful Strategies to Save You Time

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Time. 

It’s one of the biggest challenges we face as church musicians and music educators. Here’s what some of you shared on my reader survey in response to the question, “What is your biggest work-related challenge?":

TIME!!! I am always scrambling to get things done.

I find it challenging to fit in all I want (or need) to do. (My inspiration is often greater than my time allotment!)

Limited time (30 min./week).

Lack of enough rehearsal time and space.

I teach Preschool through 8th grade music. It is challenging to find time to put together great lessons for that huge age span.

Trying to make my staff/session understand that SO much of what I do is "invisible hours”; that I spend hours upon hours studying scores, researching liturgy, finding new ways to help all my choirs, etc. So many of them think that the bulk of my time is in front of a choir or congregation, when in actuality there is so much that goes into preparing for those few hours in front of people.

5 Reasons Why Your Rehearsals Feel Monotonous (and How to Fix It!)

5 Reasons Why Your Rehearsals Feel Monotonous (and How to Fix It!)

You know the feeling:

Lackluster.
Laborious.
Boring.
Same old, same old.

It’s easy to slip into a rut in rehearsals from time to time, but I think we can all agree: these are not things we want to feel or experience.

We don’t want to feel like we’re just going through the motions each week; we want to feel excited and energized to sing and learn and make music together.

Spruce Up Your Teaching Routine With This Fun App (+ Creative Ways to Use It!)

Spruce Up Your Teaching Routine With This Fun App (+ Creative Ways to Use It!)

We all get into ruts in our teaching from time to time.

With all the planning and preparation that goes into teaching week to week, choosing repertoire, dealing with the administrative responsibilities, and all the other things that come across our plate on a given day, there’s only so much time you can spend planning, crafting, and creating innovative lesson plans and teaching strategies.

The struggle is real, y’all.

A few weeks ago, I was in the midst of planning my first studio class for my piano students and searching for a fun game/musical activity that would get everyone up and moving and work for students at different grade levels.

Enter the Decide Now! app.

A to Z: Must-Haves for Your Choir Room and Rehearsals

A to Z: Must-Haves for Your Choir Room and Rehearsals

It’s back-to-school season, which means it’s time for all things Fall, new school supplies, and the start of a new choir year. 

If you’re a planner, like me, and you like things to be organized, you probably spent some time this summer cleaning out choir folders and boxes, straightening up counters and rearranging chairs, getting the piano tuned, and planning music for the Fall and Christmas. You may have even spruced up your choir room a bit, with a new bulletin board, fresh whiteboard markers, and a blank calendar.

What’s missing?

Well, whether you’re working with an adult choir, a youth choir, or a children’s choir, there are a few things every choir room (and rehearsal) should have. Here’s my must-have list, from A to Z:

My Step-By-Step Process for Rehearsing a New Anthem

My Step-By-Step Process for Rehearsing a New Anthem

How do I introduce this anthem to my choir? 

It's a question we've all asked ourselves at one point or another. And truth be told, the rehearsal process for a church choir can be a bit ambiguous. It's sort of like working with a school choir, except they're volunteer adults and you probably have a mix of ages and levels (some might not even read music). Oh, and you need to have something ready to sing every Sunday.

What's a choir director to do? How can you teach something effectively and meaningfully in a short amount of time?

My secret weapon? Start early. I try to give myself plenty of time to introduce, rehearse, and polish an before singing it in worship, so I often introduce it at least four weeks in advance.

I like to spend several weeks working on an anthem in rehearsal - not because it takes the choir a month to learn something new but because it allows us to focus on different elements each week. You'll notice below that my process for rehearsing the anthem is different each week. This keeps our rehearsals varied and interesting - working on several different anthems (in different stages) in rotation each week. 

10 Secrets for Running a Successful Choir Rehearsal

10 Secrets for Running a Successful Choir Rehearsal

Success? Rehearsal? Have you met my choir?! 

I know, I know. Choir members can be chatty and they don't always show up on time and sometimes it feels like you stand up in front of them and say the same. things. every. week.

I get it.

But success doesn't mean everything will be perfect. It doesn't mean setting unrealistic expectations for your group or holding them to unfair standards. Success is simply the "sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out" (Robert Collier).

And it starts with you.

Jim Rohn wisely said, "Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better" (source). What can you do today that will set you up for success in rehearsal this week? What can you do in rehearsal that will set your choir up for success?

Here are a few helpful tips and strategies for running a successful rehearsal, this and every week:

How to Plan a Productive Choir Rehearsal

How to Plan a Productive Choir Rehearsal

Like most church choirs, you probably have a mid-week rehearsal. This is a great time to prepare music for Sunday and the next few weeks. Please do not spend an entire rehearsal on Sunday's anthem! Plan your time carefully, use it wisely in rehearsal, and everyone will leave happy and encouraged. A successful, productive choir rehearsal takes proper preparation, careful planning, good time management skills, and attention to detail. I recommend dividing your rehearsal time into five components:

Warm-ups
Music for Sunday
Other Anthems
Announcements
Devotion/Prayer

Plan each category carefully the day of (or one day before) your rehearsal. Remember:

"Success in the choral rehearsal is a direct result of thorough planning." (source)

Prayers for Choirs: No. 2

Prayers for Choirs: No. 2

It's that time of the year again. It's hard to ignore the daily reminders - pink and red hearts in the store windows, chocolate displays, and flower delivery ads in the sidebar of your browser.

Valentine's Day. Perhaps more of a "Hallmark holiday" than a true representation of what it means to love and be loved, but still, isn't it worth thinking about?

"Love one another" was the greatest commandment ever given, after all.

Love one another - no qualifiers, no rules, no exceptions. Just love. It's a way of life, a calling, really. But, you should know: This kind of love is not the kind you read about in Hallmark cards.

"The kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence." - Bob Goff, Love Does

This kind of love asks us to give of ourselves and set aside our own wants and needs. It's time-consuming and it won't always be reciprocated. But it also never fades. It "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7). This kind of love never fails.

Prayers for Church Choirs

Prayers for Church Choirs

"To sing is to pray twice." - Saint Augustine

I've always thought of church choirs as small groups, in a way - a community, a fellowship, a place to come together. Choir gives people a place to sing and make music, yes, but also feel safe, be vulnerable, and supportive as we carry one another's burdens.

This is one of the reasons why I feel it's important to end each rehearsal with prayer.

I grew up singing in a fairly large choir in a Methodist church in Georgia (I say "grew up" because I joined when I was 11!). At the end of each rehearsal, we put down our folders, joined hands, and made a circle around the choir room. We stood there for a few moments, sharing joys and concerns with one another and closing our time together with prayer. It was meaningful to me then and has stayed with me; it's a tradition I've carried with me to all the churches I've served.