Have you ever done a year-in-review for your choir year? Have you taken time recently to evaluate yourself and your teaching? Do you set goals for your choir at the beginning of the year, or make a mental list of things you'd like to accomplish?
Taking time for reflection and evaluation is a healthy and productive way to check in and stay engaged in your work.
It provides a useful framework for goal-setting, and it's also a vital part of the learning process - taking the experiences you've had this past year, observing them from a new vantage point, and considering what you've learned and how this will affect your work in the future.
Before summer vacations and trips to the lake and slow afternoons on the porch take over your schedule, take some time to reflect back on your choir year. Carve out some time when you can sit down and really dig deep. The whole process may take you only a few hours, but you may find it helpful to do a little bit of reflection and evaluation each day during the course of a week, or so.
However you choose to do it, here are a few questions you might consider as you reflect back on your choir year:
The Choir Year in Review: 16 Questions
Please note: some of these questions are from Lara Casey in her goal-setting series, and from Karol Kimmel in her post, "Evaluating Your Choir Program: Children's Choir, Part 1."
1. What worked well this year?
This might be things related to rehearsal structure or building community among your singers, organizational processes or collaborating with other staff members, worship-planning or seating plans.
2. What were some of your favorite moments?
Be specific. Write down anything that comes to mind: an interaction with a choir or congregation member, a moment in rehearsal, or a time in worship.
3. What did you learn from what worked well?
Write down at least 2-3 specific things.
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evaluating your choir year. Sign up below:
4. What didn't work this year?
Again, this might be things related to rehearsals or organizational processes, worship-planning or the structure of your service, communication issues, etc. Where is there room for improvement?
5. What were your biggest challenges?
What left you feeling drained or frustrated? What were the hardest moments of the year?
6. What did you learn from what didn't work?
Write down at least 2-3 specific things.
7. How did you grow as a musician and leader this year?
What did you learn? What made you a better teacher/director/leader/accompanist/singer this year?
8. What do you want to change or do differently next year?
Big or small: rehearsal order, your weekly schedule, an organizational system or structure, etc.
9. In general, was the level of music you chose appropriate for your choir?
If you feel like some of the things you chose were too challenging, what would your choir need to learn in order to make those anthems more attainable?
10. What kind of music would you like to introduce to your choir next year?
Perhaps you'd like to introduce more musical variety to your choir next year, or choose an anthem in a new language. Or, perhaps you'd like to do some music that helps them learn and develop a new musical skill of some kind.
11. What supplies in your choir room need to be replenished?
Pencils, folders, labels, whiteboard markers, etc.
12. Is there anything (supply-wise) you don't currently have that would be helpful or useful to you or your choir members in some way?
Whiteboard/SMART board/projector/screen, bulletin board, label maker, portable speaker, clock, etc.
14. Did you recruit any new singers or families this year? If so, which strategies were most effective?
Think back to how those interactions first started: was it a personal invitation from you or a friend? Was it an announcement in the bulletin or a special mailing or VBS?
15. What can you do to recruit and engage new singers next year?
Think about strategies that worked will this year and how you might be able to use them again next year. Also, consider a few new strategies to try. Here are a few ideas:
16. How can you serve your choir members well next year?
What do they need? How can you connect with them in a personal and meaningful way? And how can you balance serving and resting to ensure you don't burn out?
Don't forget to download your free PDF workbook to help you
review and evaluate your choir year! Sign up below:
I'd love to hear: Do you take time at the end of the choir year to do an end-of-the-year evaluation or review? How do you reflect on the year and plan for next year?