Do you offer a taster session for interested people to try out your choir? What are the pros and cons? Have you really thought through your intention for offering one? Or do you just offer a taster session because everyone else seems to?
What is a taster session?
A taster session is where a potential new member can come to your session and have a ‘taste’ of your choir. The new singer might be unsure about your choir or even their ability to sing, so a taster session is designed to help them make this decision. Conversely, it can sometimes turn people away from joining your choir which we’ll explore further below.
The sessions can be paid or for free. But either way, they are generally seen as a one off way to lead your new recruit towards signing up for full membership.
When do they happen?
It’s completely up to you when you run a taster session. You might offer a taster session whenever someone asks about joining. Or you could run them on set dates, typically at the beginning of a new season or term. Two of the best time of year to offer a taster session is in the new year and also when school’s return.
What are the benefits?
- People get to ‘try out’ your choir before committing to see if it’s the right fit for them
- You get to ‘try out’ new singers
- It’s a soft way to recruit new members
- It might be easier for existing members to introduce the choir to an inexperienced friend who’s thinking of joining
- You can sell the session through an experience of it.
What are the downsides?
- You don’t get paid for a free taster session
- If the new recruit is a little hesitant after singing in your session, there’s no commitment for them to see it through for a bit longer.
- There is extra administration for you eg. Follow up emails and phone calls.
- You and your members can feel disheartened and rejected if people don’t come back.
- Someone might decide they are not good enough for your choir having experienced your session.
What if you choose NOT to offer a taster session?
If you choose not to offer a taster session for potential singers, then it’s worth thinking through how you can provide a window into what your choir is like in another way. Choir websites can be perfect for this. You can showcase photos and videos of your choir in action. You can also write blog articles to celebrate all the terrific work your choir might be doing in the local community. Have you been on the local media? Then make sure you add this too!!
You need to decide first what your intention is if you are going to offer a taster session. How are the sessions going to fit into your overall recruitment process? And how will your existing singers react to them?
And furthermore, if you decide that they are not for you or your choir either, then that’s ok too.
Beth Morgan set up The Creative Choir Leader Group and The Inspire Club to help provide accessible online support, training and resources for choir leaders. She believes in the power of choirs to change the lives of people in local communities.
After working in secondary music eduction for 29 years, including developing school choirs to perform at international level competition, she now runs her own adult community choirs.
Beth is currently the MD for the Bristol Military Wives Choir, a member of the 75 strong choir network, supporting women connected to the military. In addition, in 2017 she founded The Great Day Choir, a successful daytime community choir network across bristol and Bath, UK for women of all ages, including a child friendly choir. The latter has helped to raise 1000s for local charities.