Ten Tips for Bigger and Better Choirs

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“Ten Tips for Bigger and Better Choirs,” Ensign, June 1992, 72–73

Ten Tips for Bigger and Better Choirs

Nearly every ward choir director knows how frustrating it is not to have enough people participate. Many able ward members feel they are just too busy to sing in the choir. But you can build up your choir if you improve rehearsals. When word gets around that choir practice is fun, more and more people will make the time to come.

Following are some ways you can do it:

  1. Always warm up. Voices need to be warmed up before exercise just as muscles do. Scales or simple hymns can work equally well.

  2. Sight-read. Occasionally, people like new music. Add variety to rehearsals by letting the choir sight-read a new hymn from the hymnbook.

  3. Sing a cappella. Nothing improves intonation and precision more than singing without accompaniment. If choir members are uncomfortable singing with no accompaniment, try singing a familiar hymn a cappella, or even the chorus of such a hymn.

  4. Have sectionals. Learning notes by rote can be boring. Splitting up into groups makes this job go twice as fast.

  5. Rehearse beforehand with your accompanist. You can’t hold the choir’s attention if you’re having director-accompanist discussions during the rehearsal.

  6. Plan ahead. It is better to practice a piece of music for ten minutes during six rehearsals than to practice it for one full hour during two rehearsals. Always work on several numbers at each rehearsal.

  7. Learn the difference between correcting and criticizing. When you correct your choir, they get better. But no one responds well to negative criticism.

  8. Keep them singing. Remember that your choir can’t chat and sing at the same time. Few people can argue with a downbeat.

  9. Have the choir stand for part of the rehearsal. Not only does this make for better singing, but it prevents fatigue.

  10. Show your love. Share with the choir your testimony of the messages contained in the music you are singing. Tell them often how much you appreciate their talents and service.—Susan J. Denney, Denton, Texas