Congratulations! You’ve joined your local choir or choral society. You are going to have such a wonderful time, musically and socially. But if you are feeling slightly daunted at just walking in and taking a seat, help is at hand. We very much hope that your choir is as friendly as ours (!) but here are some ways to ease yourself in to singing with a new group that we gathered from members old and new at Streatham Choral. Hopefully you’ll soon be raising the roof with the best of them!
Find a buddy
If you haven’t already been introduced to anyone in your voice section, ask if you can sit next to someone with experience. Don’t be afraid to listen into them or ask if you lose your place in the music. If you have joined a choir a couple of weeks into their rehearsals this can be really helpful and no one will think any the worse of you.
Choose your seat
Where you sit can also really help or hinder in the early days. If you can, sit in the middle of your section so that you have a wall of sound around you, hopefully all singing the same notes! And if like me, you’re a bit short, it might help to sit nearer the front so that you can see the conductor clearly.
Listen at home
Few of us have access to keyboards for practising at home but it is well worth listening to the music during the week. Find the pieces online (Spotify is a good source), sing along to the CD in the car or use online choral aids such as Choraline. Your voice rep may kindly put together a playlist for you so do ask if you haven’t received it yet. It is amazing what a difference it makes to your confidence once the tunes are really established in your head.
Bring a pencil and write everything down! If your conductor shares valuable information about breathing, dynamics and how to find certain notes, scribble it down on your score. It will be a valuable reference and help everyone achieve a wonderful sound with the details that transform everyday singing into something special.
Sounds a bit silly but it’s true. Relax and enjoy the singing. We all hit duff notes, come in too early or turn three pages over instead of one at some point. No one will single you out if you make a mistake so take a deep breath and join in!
These are just some of the ways we have found to help new members feel included and welcome. If you sing in a choir and have other tips that you know work, do leave them in the comment section below!