10 things singers can do at home when there’s no choir to go to
Tipps by Chris Rowbury
There are many reasons why you might not be able to get to choir and have to stay home. How can you keep your choral and musical interests alive? Here are 10 ideas.
It’s not just during a pandemic that you might not be able to get to choir.
- there’s the long summer break
- when you’ve got a nasty cold and don’t want to infect anyone
- if you can’t afford the choir subs or travel costs to get to rehearsal, or
- when you move to a new area without any choirs, or
- if you break your leg or arm, or
- when you have to stay home to care for someone, or
- if your choir leader quits or has to cancel rehearsals.
I’m sure there are plenty of other situations you can think of. In these circumstances, how can you keep your love of music and choral singing alive?
Here are 10 suggestions.
1. revise your parts
If you’ve ever been in a choir you probably have loads of teaching resources and choir recordings. This is a great opportunity to go back over the repertoire, check that you’ve really nailed your part, and sing against the other parts or whole choir recording.
2. keep your voice in trim
Professional singers will make sure they do a daily warm up. Just because you’re not at choir doesn’t mean that you have to let your voice go. Simply do the regular warm ups that you can remember from your own choir rehearsals.
For variety, there are plenty of warm up videos online. For example:
- Jennifer John has a series of 30 minute mini singing lessons called Free the Voice – there are at least 29 episodes;
- Wendy Nixon Stothart has 30 Days of Vocal Warm Ups – she’s up to day 26 at the time of writing.
3. tidy up
If you use sheet music, I’m sure your music folder and song archives could do with sorting out. If you have lots of recordings and other learning resources, it’s a good time to create a system to put them in a sensible order.
4. learn a different part
When going through your choir’s teaching and learning resources, why not try learning a different part to a song you already know? Don’t strain your voice, but you might be surprised that you can sing higher or lower than you thought. It’s also a good brain exercise to be able to switch between the two parts!
5. develop your skills
This is a great time to get down to learning that instrument you’ve always meant to, or develop your voice by trying out different vocal techniques from different cultures, or tweaking your vocal range a little. Maybe it’s an opportunity to start to learn how to read or write music notation. Or even learn Solfege, Curwen hand signals, or shape notes.
6. listen to choir recordings
A chance to listen back to recordings of your own choir (either live concerts or maybe you have some choir CDs), recordings of other choirs in your music collection, or hunt down new stuff on YouTube. Compare and contrast familiar repertoire or discover new genres.
7. research social media resources
There are loads of interesting groups and organisations to follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Time to click on plenty of links, go down the rabbit holes, and start to follow people.
8. discover new music
It’s not that easy to stumble across music that you might not be familiar with. Most online algorithms keep us in the same bubbles that we’re used to. But it is possible to keep following suggested videos on YouTube for example, and end up somewhere really strange and unexpected. Don’t forget to bookmark your interesting discoveries.
Ask random friends who are in different kinds of choirs from yours to suggest recordings.
Pop over to my YouTube channel. I have a playlist there called Originals. These are recordings of many of the songs I’ve taught over the years, but from the cultures they originated from.
You might also like to check out a couple of series on my blog:
- Now THAT’S what I call singing (Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3)
- How men sing – amazing examples from across the globe (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)
9. read about choirs and singing
I’m sure you have some books on your bookshelf that you’ve been meaning to get around to reading. Now is the time! But there’s also loads of stuff online: blogs, podcasts, tutorials, etc. You can also sign up to my Monthly Music Roundup which comes out on the 1st of each month (8 articles about singing/choirs/music plus song of the month), or Like (and visit) my Facebook page: I post two interesting music/choir/singing snippets each weekday.
10. sing online
There are plenty of opportunities (at the time of writing) to become involved in online singalongs and virtual choirs (see How to sing together in times of isolation). Your own choir may well have set something like this up.
There are also plenty of singing teachers out there who offer online lessons.
nothing can replace choir
Of course, nothing can ever replace the feeling of singing in a group with others in the same physical place at the same time, especially in harmony.
Stay safe, and keep singing!
This text was published first at www.chrisrowbury.com.