Ensemble Clever Kitsch, Belgium © Jonas Persson

4 Ways to Motivate Your Choir Singers and Find New Members

How to bring together your choir again after the pandemic and make it even grow

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The COVID pandemic has gone on for more than two years now. During that time, choirs have struggled to keep their singers motivated.

At the same time, many directors find their membership declining. This is due to a number of reasons. With a lack of in-person rehearsal for so long, it was difficult to keep singers engaged. And soon enough, other responsibilities came along to fill the void.

What choirs need are practical tips and realistic advice to help them keep choir singers motivated and find new members. This is essential for the growth of these communities and the ongoing health of choral music.

So let’s look at four ways you can turn the corner and start to grow again.

1. Perform. Perform. Perform.

Performances are the most powerful thing you can do to keep the momentum up and draw in new members.

Performances do many things at the same time.

They give your choir singers a reason to keep rehearsing. With the excitement of an upcoming event, choristers also get the opportunity to reconnect with why they love choral music in the first place.

But every performance also needs promotion. And while you’re promoting an event, you are also promoting your group. This alerts choir singers in your area to your organization.

COVID restrictions make performing more difficult than before, but the hurdles are well worth the end result. Especially as many of us are entering the summer months, the ability to perform outside can be a real game-changer.

2. Keep Your Music Fresh

Introducing new music that’s both beautiful and fun to sing can be very powerful for your choir. It expands everyone’s repertoire, and usually gives way for new balances to be struck among the choristers.

New music also feeds into people’s desire to do Tip #1 — perform!

Once we learn a new song that we love, we are driven to show people what we’ve accomplished. It’s only natural!

That also feeds into the performances, making them fresh and interesting, which again brings in new interest from singers in your area.

When we were all in lockdowns, it was difficult to introduce new music. But as restrictions continue to ease and vaccines continue to become more and more the norm, we need to return to that hunt for the next great piece for your choir.

3. Make the Choir’s Goals Clear

Do your singers know what they are trying to accomplish over the next six months? What about the next year? Keeping goals clear and frequently stated is a great way to motivate everyone and keep them going in the same direction. With many people striving for the same thing, a sense of community can blossom.

Goals are also important for driving new membership. After all, having a vague sense that you want to “add new choir singers” isn’t going to move the needle. That open-ended task will never be prioritized over the more practical issues you face every single day.

If your organization knows what your choir will achieve and how many people will be added to achieve it, everyone can get on board.

A great goal does two things right: it has terms that let you know whether you’ve succeeded, and it gives you some time constraint. For example, “We will add three singers by December 1.” This lets you know exactly what you need to do (add three singers) and when it needs to be done (by December 1).

That might seem obvious, but all kinds of organizations suffer because their goals are vague or, even worse, unspoken. If you are the choir leader or musical director of your choir, it’s your job to set goals and let people know what they are.

4. Bring All Hands On Deck

Something that so many choirs fail to see is that each and every singer has way more talent, skills, and resources than their voice.

And what many organizations also fail to see is that members will scale their investment in a group based on how involved they are. If you are only expecting singers to come to rehearse a couple of hours once a week, they will match their enthusiasm to that level.

But if you are trying to grow, you have a word of mouth army — your choir! And if they are encouraged to help the choir grow, they are going to feel a much larger sense of ownership over its success. That’s a win-win for everybody.

It means more people in the choir, and it means you choir singers feel more deeply engaged in the group. That’s rewarding for everybody.

Dare to Grow

While COVID has made it difficult over the past two years to keep engagement high and membership up, we are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s important to stay positive and proactive. If you use the four practical tips above, you’ll be well on your way to having a large, enthusiastic choir!

If you are looking for #1: an opportunity to perform, #2: a reason to update your repertoire, and #3: a clear goal ahead for your choir, we’ve got an idea for you!

SING FOR GOLD will be the greatest choir event of 2022, where choirs from around the world will travel and meet in beautiful Calella at the Costa de Barcelona, Spain/Catalonia, to sing together in Friendship Concerts, learn from International Choral Experts  in Evaluation Performances, and enjoy sun, beach, and sea with new singer friends from all over the world!

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