If attendance is a problem for your ward choir practice you can start a "Whole Note" award. Each time they attend during the month you award a "quarter note". At the end of the month you give a little somthin' to those who earned a whole note with four quarter notes. - Allie
I went to the Distribution Center and bought several low cost items with choir budget money. 25 cent bookmarks, 50 cent pictures of the First Presidency, red pencil scripture markers, Mormon Ad cards, some N/C pamphlets, and to really splurge, $5.00 DVDs. Each week at practice, we would have a drawing of half a dozen numbers. If your folder number was called, you won the prize! The First Presidency picture was the highly desired prize, but everyone liked winning something. It lightened the mood and hopefully made choir a little fun so people would want to come again. - M. Sharpe
Have 30 minute rehearsals and don't waste a minute. Sing every month in Sacrament Meeting so the choir members feel a sense of accomplishment. Invite people individually, tell them why you want them--they have a strong voice, they can sing high, they can sing low ect. Say,"I heard you have a good voice? Is that true. We need you. You would add so much to our choir. Just give it one week."
Make sure everyone has their own folder with music and a pencil. Have them put their name on it. This way you won't have to repeat things week after week, they will be able to write it down, on their parts, in their own way.
Instead of spending an hour learning each part, have the group separate into other rooms to learn their part on their own. If there is enough pianists, then you, as the director can roam around and see how everyone is doing. Meat back after 20 minutes and spend a few minutes working on it together. Then you will have time to emotionalize the song and work on other problems. There is nothing more boring then sitting and waiting for the other people to learn their parts!
If you have a pretty good choir you might want to try some songs accapella, you would be surprised how well they do.
Not only does each choir member have their own folder and pencil, they are assigned a number. As new music is handed out they take their numbered piece and when we are finished with it, it is returned. This way we keep track of our music and any piece that ends up missing, we know who to go to. I also numbered some hymnals so that each choir member has their own hymn book to write it (pencil, of course!). The numbered hymnals are kept with the choir music. - Mary C.
A ward cannot have enough people who are skilled at knowing the basics of conducting a choir or congregation. While people are usually willing to learn, they are less willing to as a group. We've created a series of 10 free conducting basics videos and sent the e-mail out to members of our ward and stake. They then learn the basics of conducting all in the comfort of their own home! The link is www.tetonmusic.com/conducting.htm - Kim
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