Guiding voices in worship as a choir director can be a rewarding experience. The joyous sound of unified praise has the power to heal hearts and spirits. Effective choir directors know how to harness the technical skills and vocal passions of their members. While it takes hard work to establish rapport with a choir, doing so is well worth the effort.
Know your role. While you may indeed by a stellar singer, this is not your primary duty. Losing sight of your mission will make you ineffective. Give choir members the chance to shine, instead of competing for their spotlight. Your job is to empower your group to sing with both passion and proficiency. Remain reasonable, responsive and reachable to your members.
Hammer home the fundamentals of singing. While technical proficiency isn’t everything, it matters. Instill technical knowledge such as how to read music and the proper use of vocal nuances. Stress the importance of warming up before singing and practicing vocal health in everyday life.
Stress the importance of teamwork. Encourage cohesion between different choir sections. Avoid playing favorites. Develop the star potential of talented members without alienating the rest of the choir. Schedule team-building activities outside of rehearsal to promote unity. Suitable events include attending gospel concerts and watching Christian movies.
Stay positive throughout training. Displaying a negative attitude can ruin confidence and destroy group cohesion. Accept that all of your members won’t possess the voices of angels. You may even be blessed with more than a few bad singers. Don’t let this stop your enthusiasm for directing. Remember that your mannerisms will be scrutinized by eager choir members, church leadership and congregations.
Keep practices organized and no nonsense. Allowing rehearsals to descend into chaos is counterproductive. Your choir may even lose members or support because of it. Ban distractions such as cellphones. Discourage horseplay and gossiping. Handing out itineraries at the beginning of practices can facilitate productivity.
Offer constructive criticism when correcting weak areas. Responding to flat notes or poor diction with snarky comments and a furled brow is ill-advised. Ensure that your body language and words remain encouraging -- regardless of the sounds you hear.
Use eager members to your advantage. Make your job easier by giving leadership roles and duties to hardworking members. Choose helpers who get along well with others and can follow direction, without complaint. Holding official elections can encourage maximum participation from everyone.
- Listening to a variety of music will open up new directions for your choir.
- Keeping an open mind and ears can help you find suitable music.
Mika Lo has been producing online content since 2005. The majority of her work has been published in areas such as parenting, lifestyle and health. Lo has also assisted with the development of community and hospital-based patient education programs, including creative discharge classes for new mothers and assisting underprivileged patients with medication assistance and information.