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image by Carolyn L. Marshall |

I know.  I know.  Choirs are so last Millennium.  I should get with the times.

But, in spite of the trend away from choirs, I still love them.  In high school, choir is where I learned to love singing.  It taught me harmony. Choir encouraged in me a heart for praising God.

And now, as a choir director in a church, I get to teach other people about music through the vehicle of the choir.

But whether or not you use a choir in your ministry, any music practices can become a drudgery.  People can drag into rehearsal as an obligation they dread, not a privilege they anticipate.

As the leader, you should strive to make your rehearsals times that your volunteers look forward to.

So, how do you help your musicians love what they do?  

Here are five keys:

1. Know your volunteers

Your volunteers each have a certain skill set.  Some can read music; some cannot.   Some enjoy singing the high notes; some do not.  If your choir can read every piece of music you give them, then you can order more new music more often.  If they still are learning how to read music, you need to take that into consideration.

2. Strive for Consistency

Your choir needs to consistently know that you love them, that they can learn from you, and that you will stick with them through tough rehearsals.  They also need consistency in your planning and teaching.  Whenever I’ve not had things together for rehearsal, my choir has suffered for it.

3. Order New Music

New music breathes new life into your choir rehearsals.  A good new song infuses excitement and anticipation into the choir.

4. Keep Balance

Since each volunteer is different, you’ll need to maintain a balance of methods and musical styles.  Some people in my choir like to learn by singing the song all the way through.  Others like to focus on small sections in order to learn the parts.  I have found that either extreme to the neglect of the other frustrates someone in the choir.

5. Teach Musical Principles 

Every choir rehearsal should teach your choir something else about how to read music.  John Bertalot in Five Wheels to Successful Sight-Singing goes so far as to say, “Every moment of all practices must be geared to sight-singing.”  Although you may not go that far, use every opportunity to teach how to read music.

What are some other keys to helping your choir love what they do?