5 Fun Ways to Start Your Choir Session

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First impressions count, right? So the same goes with how you kick off your regular choir session with your singers. Getting your choir engaged in the first 5 mins can make or break the rest of your session or rehearsal. Imagine that the energy and tone you bring to the beginning of your session can create the right environment for a success musical outcome. Well it can, and here are different 5 ways to do just that:

Start with laughter

Studies around laughter therapy have shown that the act of laughing can help improve sleep, depression and cognition. When people laugh they can feel a bond to the community around them and it helps them to feel safe. Their sense of belonging is increased. How can you find ways to plan for laughter in the first few minutes of your session?

Try out: Cat On Yer Head – great game for more than 20 people up to 1000 people!

An imaginary cat chases an imaginary mouse. Even better if you up level the game and add objects for the cat to get or mouse holes. In large crowds you could add more cats and mice. Very funny once it gets going.

Start with an ice breaker

The Handshake Game

This can be played with any number of people. Roam around and invent a handshake with each person you meet. People will mill around shaking hands. The only rule: try to invent a new hand shake for each new encounter.

Start with stretches to music

There’s nothing better than putting an upbeat song on your playlist and use it to structure your stretches. I love using “Blame it on the Boogie” or some funky salsa. Lead a series of stretches during the verses and then sing the choruses with the usual actions. In the “I just can’t control my feet” bridge of the former song, I get my singers to march on the spot encouraging them to ready raise their heart beat. A raised heart beat will get the blood pumping around your singers bodies and banish the wake up blues, post lunch energy dip or even the ‘I’ve had a hard day at work’ slump. Good for the body, brain and mental health.

Start with breath work meditation

The Choral Music Experience pedagogy established by Doreen Rao, is rooted in allowing singers to find their own natural voice through singing. And a part of this is guiding the singer to become more and more aware of their breath, voice and body as they sing.

For this reason, CME encourages starting every session with a short breathing meditation. It can be a very centring experience for your singers as they become aware of their breath, the cool feel of the air through the nostrils and upper mouth, together with the movement affects on the rest of their body.

“Find a comfortable, safe space. Relax your hands. Let your shoulders drop. Bring your awareness to your breath.

Breathing in. Breathing out
Breathing in deeply. Breathing out slowly.
Breathing in calmly. Breathing out with ease.
Breathing in smiling. Breathing out release.”

Source: Circle of Sound Voice Education. A Contemplative Approach to Singing Through Meditation, Movement and Vocalization. by Doreen Rao, Ph.D. with Bill Perison.

Start with a gathering song.

You’re a choir, so why not start with singing and, even before any announcements are made. There are plenty of songs which encourage a sense of coming together. Plus, riff based songs are also good for this as they encourage repetition for easy learning and simple harmonies.

Start with an action song

There are plenty of short fun action songs that are great to start your session eg. My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, My Dog He Can Do the Can Can, I’m Alive Alert Awake Enthusiastic, The Dum Dum Song, Waddaly Atcha.

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Get ideas and inspiration !

Leaders are learners. Check out our Inspire Club Guest of the Month training series….