Fresh blood: the pros and cons of letting new singers join your choirListed on September 8, 2013 in Blogs!
As choir starts back after a break, you might notice a few new faces in the ranks.
Bringing in new recruits maintains the lifeblood of a choir, but what are the pros and cons?
the benefits of fresh blood
She considered several of the less-obvious benefits that a choir gets from new members, such as:
- seeing the excitement of new members reinvigorates existing members and gets them excited again
- seeing a new member learning skills from scratch reminds existing members of how far they’ve come
- seeing your choir afresh through new eyes reminds you of how special it is
- fresh blood challenges existing members to be aware and critical of the way they do things
There are, however, several challenges to overcome when new members join:
- how to assimilate them and make them feel comfortable and welcome
- how to keep the old repertoire alive
- how to get them up to speed quickly
- keeps numbers up – singers inevitably leave over time and if they’re not replaced the choir will die
- injects enthusiasm – as Liz Garnett points out, it can revitalise a choir, especially if it has become stale and complacent
- maintains a tight ship – having a few keen new singers usually raises the game of the existing singers, and also new members are more likely to be on time, etc.
- hard to keep old repertoire alive – many choirs have large back catalogues that they like to keep alive. If the old songs are taught afresh there is a danger of existing choir members getting bored. I’ve written about several different approaches to solving this in Helping new choir members learn the old songs
- too many people to deal with – if you have an open door policy and keep taking on new singers, your choir will grow and grow. Managing a large choir can be much harder than you think (see Size matters and Working with a big choir).
- it’s hard to join an existing group – no matter how friendly people are and how hard they try to be welcoming, it can be daunting to join a group that’s been going for some time. It can inevitably feel cliquey with all the in-jokes and familiarity. Which is why I only take new recruits on once a year and make sure there is a large bunch of them.
Here are some related posts that you might like to read:
- Everybody has a place in the choir – looks at the assumptions new members bring with them and why they might leave
- From the back of the choir 1: first steps – one singer’s experience of joining a new choir:
- Handy hints for hesitant singers – 10 tips for singers new to choirs
- How to recruit singers to truly reflect your local community? – if you DO decide that recruiting new singers is a good thing, how can you make sure you reach the whole of your community?
Chris Rowbury’s website: chrisrowbury.com