To Choir Masters: Overcoming Your Creative Tantrums

Categories Editorials

This piece of write up is directed not only to choir masters but to people who are in one form of leadership or the other in a choral group. To be sincere being in charge of a group of human beings is never easy.
In a typical choir you always have the musical guru or gurus,  musically average members who are able to understand songs fast, docile/tone deaf members and the clown or clowns of the choir who crack the choir up with their jokes and gestures at choir gatherings.

However choirmasters are faced with the problems of bringing about a relative level of perfection to the musical pieces that their choir perform. This can bring about undue stress in a scenario whereby the choir is finding it difficult understanding a musical piece, this undue stress on choirmasters make them lash out at choristers who make mistakes while singing. This form of aggression shown by choirmasters has many names but i call it creative tantrums because it arises as a result of the choirmaster trying to bring his members to his own level of musical understanding.

It is not a tantrum borne out of hate but out of love. However without proper self control choirmasters can end up making it a permanent behaviour thereby irritating the members of the choir and bringing about discord.
Creative tantrums can be controlled with choirmasters coming to the conclusion that

  • Not everyone in the choir has the type of musical training or experience that the choir master has
  • They also have to come to the realisation that not every member is musically gifted. Hence we have some choristers who are basically tone deaf.

Putting all this into consideration the choirmaster should endeavour to do the following to avoid unnecessary tantrums.

  1. The usefulness of rehearsals cannot be over emphasized. Choirmasters must make sure that rehearsals start early enough so that all that has to be done can be finished on time.
  2. Choirmasters should not load a choir rehearsal with too many new materials as this will lead to choirmasters rushing to finish up the teaching of a material in order to start a new one. This ends up having an adverse effect on the choristers who may feel stressed and irritated.
  3. Most fully established choral groups rarely have one musical guru. There is always those other people or that one person who is a musical genius as well or is at least musically inclined to help. Therefore choirmasters should eandeavour to ask for the help of choristers who can help out.
  4. Choir masters should introduce complex pieces long before the time they are sang so that the choir can get better acquainted with the song before the period they would be sang. This also helps to avoid unnecessary stress on both the choirmaster and the choristers.
  5. Choir masters should make sure there is no segregation during rehearsals i.e haves and the have-nots sitting separately. Those who can sing should be mixed up with those who do not know how to sing.

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