Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tonal Tuesday - Protecting Your Relationship with Your Choir

I read an article on Facebook about his gentleman who got divorced after 16 years of marriage.  I not only agree with most but feel they are a good guide to every relationship. I found that these 11 points were most salient.  A marriage is a union between consenting individuals that outlines rights and obligations. Hmm.  
Let's think of a conductor and choir's relationship as a marriage of sorts. The heading of the points belong to the original writer but the description is mine as I see it applying to a choir & director.

1) NEVER STOP COURTING - Never take for granted that just because they joined the choir they will stay.  The choir has a responsibility to help the director by showing up, working hard and appreciating the effort (our ETS members are very good at this)
The director needs to keep practices fresh by doing new pieces & warm-ups.  The choir can keep things exciting by bringing new ideas or like Gary, inviting us to his home for the last practice because the church was too stuffy.

2) PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART - Find what pleases you.  If something isn't working, take a moment to discuss it with the choir member or director after or before a practice.  If you let things simmer in silence then no one wins.

3) FALL IN LOVE OVER and OVER again - When you have been working hard or it has been more effort than usual to get to practices, fall in love with the music, the group or the concerts all over again.  After we sang at the Relay for Life , I sure remembered why we do this. The smiles, comments and applause reinforced our mission of Song, Service, Fun.

4) ALWAYS SEE THE BEST - Yup.  We can spend our lives finding fault, or we can choose to find the good.  Catch them doing something right.  Only you can control this.

5) IT'S NOT YOUR JOB TO CHANGE OR FIX HER - We are all different and differently talented.  Rejoice in the differences.

6) TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY for your own emotions - Remember that no one can make you "feel" any certain emotion without your permission.  Remember little kids who say, "He made me feel bad." and you told the child that he could choose how he felt or reacted.  Works for big people too.

7) NEVER BLAME - Look inward for solutions.  See 6 above.

8) Allow people to JUST BE - Accept that sometimes you or the choir will be happy, sad, energetic or lethargic.  Roll with it.

9) BE SILLY - Laughter IS the best medicine.  Being overly serious all the time is counter-productive.

10) FILL THEM UP - See #4.  Be sure to tell others just how much they mean to you.  Tell the basses how important their part is.  Tell your singing partner that their confidence in that phrase helped you "get" that part.

11) BE PRESENT - Focus on the here and now.  Enjoy the moment!

Making a choir work is not just about the right music, the right practice tactics or concerts.  It is about creating relationships.  People must be able to work together to produce a wonderful musical sound. Respect and real caring are integral to that melding of sound and emotion. People are not machines producing sound and that respect for their humanity is oh so important.  Working on the relationships makes the music sparkle.  Make it so!

You can find out more about Gerald, who was the inspiration for this article, on his blog at http://geraldrogers.com

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