World Choir Games Flanders 2023

Singers and choir leaders: what bad habits have you got into?

  • [A version of this article first appeared as a post on my blog From the Front of the Choir]

    We are all creatures of habit. Which is no bad thing until it starts to affect what we do adversely.


    photo by CTRLF5


    How many bad habits have you got into this past year and how might you change that?

    There are many things that singers and choir leaders do out of habit such as:

    • always standing in the same place at choir
    • sticking to the same voice part regardless
    • conducting with both hands symmetrically
    • regularly turning up late to choir
    • clearing your throat every time before you sing
    • standing lopsided or with your chin pointing up
    • straining for notes that are just too high
    • always starting with the tune when teaching a song
    • getting singers to stand in a circle in your singing workshops


    The list goes on …

    There is nothing inherently wrong with many habits, although some can be harmful.

    However, when something becomes a habit, you stop noticing it so it is then outside your control. See Breaking the habit of a lunchtime.

    Here is a good exercise to carry out every once in a while.

    1. Take a moment to think of something that has become habitual (the list above may help get you started).
    2. Is this the only way you can do it? Is there an alternative that might be worth experimenting with?
    3. Can you think of any habits that are inherently bad (e.g. reaching for notes out of your range, bad posture, turning up late each week)? This may be a bit harder to figure out as it involves a degree of self-awareness (see The secret to great singing that teachers don’t tell you) and brutal honesty.
    4. Choose one habit that you want to change and find an alternative way of doing it. Keep it up until the new thing becomes second nature. Only then, you might want to think of another habit that you’d like to change. Only tackle one at a time. See What single thing will make you a better singer this year? and What small changes will make you a better singer or choir leader in the coming year?


    Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

     

     

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    Chris Rowbury

    website: chrisrowbury.com
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