“But what if I can’t sing?” This is the most common thing I hear from people when they are considering joining a choir. We seem to be worried about being able to read music and the quality of our voices. But really neither of these factors really matter when you join a community choir.
When I was in primary school I sang in a choir. The music teacher, Mrs Barker, was inspirational to me just because she loved singing. We loved learning the songs she taught us and we really didn’t even consider whether or not we were good enough to be a part of the choir. I still remember words and parts of songs that she taught us back then.
Mrs Barker entered our primary school choir for competitions and I will always remember the sensation of us shouting out in excitement the time we won a 1st place and beat the school that always won each year. She ignited a choir spark in me that has never gone away.
But when I went moved to secondary school in my first year, at the age of 13, I failed my first audition for the school show. I was told I was ‘too quiet’. That comment stuck with me for a long time and has affected my mindset about my own singing voice even into adulthood. It was another 4 years before I would sing again.
Perhaps as an adult, starting singing is harder because we are more aware of ourselves and others. But then as an adult I believe we are also more in control of choosing to follow our dreams. There are some simple steps you can take if you want to just try out singing – even before stepping through the door to a choir session:
- Listen to songs on the radio. There are so many different types of radio stations in the UK, especially if you have DAB. We are spoiled for choice and variety. Find the station that plays your favourite songs and sing along. Who cares if you get the words wrong! Put your radio on in the kitchen, in the car, while you do the chores. Have some fun with it!
- Book a singing teacher just for one or two sessions to find out what your voice is like. They will give you some advice on your range. They will give you tips about how to produce the sound when you breathe out. They can help you learn some tips to make you feel more confident.
- Go and listen to some local choirs. There are lots of concerts, particularly in the summer and at Christmas time. They will love to have people come along to support them and often choirs are raising money for a charity as a part of their ticket. Going to see choirs perform will give you an idea about the type of music they sing. What is their conductor like? Do they look as if they are enjoying themselves or if the music has meaning for them? Find out if you can come along to the choir for a taster session.
- Talk to any friends you have that sing in choirs. Why do they enjoy it? I’ve got a few friends who are officially choir junkies – they just can’t get enough of it. Find out why they are hooked. What does the choir give them – a social network or perhaps a weekly highlight or even a musical buzz? It will be different for everyone and you too.
So, why not give yourself a break. Be a little more patient and encouraging of yourself. If singing in a choir looks fun, why not try some of these steps and find a local choir that suits the kind of thing you are looking for.
As well as being the founder of The Creative Choir Leader, Beth Morgan is the MD and founder of The Great Day Choir – a daytime ladies pops choir based in Bristol and Bath, England. The choir is an all abilities choir and aims to singing both for the benefit of the well being of the members but also to help make an impact in the local community. Find out more HERE: www.thegreatdaychoir.co.uk