For years at Roundtable Conferences all over the country I have heard Randy Edwards say that talking is the most OVER-utilized form of communication in a choir rehearsal and that print media is one of the least utilized. I can’t agree more.
Once I recorded my high school choir rehearsal and noted the amount of time I talked and the amount of time they sang. OK—I was embarrassed—I simply talked too much. It wasn’t that I was saying bad things or unnecessary things, I wasn’t doing that, but the question is “was I communicating in the most effective way”?
Here’s a better way. In a recent rehearsal, the soprano part was the featured theme of the anthem. The other sections were an interesting rhythmic accompaniment. Instead of talking about how important the sopranos were to the song and the other sections needed to be supportive, I just asked the sopranos to come to the front of the rehearsal hall and face the other sections as we all faced each other and sang the piece. They got it! It was also a boost to the sopranos ego as a section (you may not need that, but that is a good thing for us this year)
For years we have used a printed choir agenda for every rehearsal. You can see a sample from a recent rehearsal. The high school choir is called “Sonlight” and the weekly choir agenda- “Sonscreen”—one of the kids came up with the name (we had a contest with an iTunes card as the prize). On the agenda each week is the line up of songs for the rehearsal (so that they can get them in order), information about today’s rehearsal, fund raising information, upcoming concerts, and, on the first of every month, a synopsis of the month’s activities are featured. I also list the name of the student who is doing the devotional for that day.
One choir that I know about has an extensive intercessory prayer ministry for their members. Instead of people taking rehearsal time to tell about their requests, they text them in ahead of time. Just the act of texting it helps make them brief. Then, those requests are included on the back of the choir agenda. Prayer cards are provided for each choir member to send at least one note each week to someone listed on the back of the choir agenda. The church mails them to the people and the communication becomes even more personal.
If you don’t use a printed agenda–try it for 3 months. I think you will love it. The whole rehearsal is right there in their hands. Sometimes, at the end of the rehearsal, when I have important information on Sonscreen that I want parents to see, I ask all the kids to take out their phones, take a picture of Sonscreen and text it to their parents.
Now, you will not need to do this if you have kids in your choir who go home every week after rehearsal and say “Hey Mom and Dad, come sit down at the table and let me tell you everything Randy said today!” Yeah. . . . . . I don’t have any of those either.