Why Choir (and HOW Choir??) during COVID 19?
Hoo boy! This one is big... but important!
Kids and adults need to be able to connect, communicate, create and express. Music is one of the very best ways to do all those things while disguised as being FUN! I've written the following mostly for my children's choir singers, but we can extrapolate much of it for adult groups as well.
Music-making and music learning are much MORE fun when we are able to be in the same room: we can hear better, breathe together better, and understand immediately what is working and what might need improvement. We can hear each other modelling how to sing the right thing, and sometimes even the wrong thing! We can match the colour of our voice to other singers, not just the pitch. If someone beside us is singing loudly or softly, we can match how loudly or softly, instead of having to guess. AND - this is important!! - we can interact with our singing friends and maybe even make jokes, spend time together working hard but then also spend time playing or talking.
BUT - maybe we won't be able to be together in the same room each week like we usually have in the past,
OR - maybe we won't be able to see each other's faces as well, while we have to wear masks to keep each other safe,
OR - maybe we'll have to have shorter rehearsals, or go sing together in new and unfamiliar places (like outside?),
OR - we might even have to find new ways to present our music to our friends and families, since they might not all be able to be in the same room with us for a concert.
Meeting online will never be a replacement for meeting in person, and as long as we acknowledge that right of the bat, we can make a point of looking for the positives:
We can learn our music really well, because we'll clearly hear our own voice as we sing along to recordings.
We can take the time to learn a lot about the way music is created, written down, sounded and sung. This might mean focussing on who the composer was and how they decided to do certain things in a piece of music we are learning. It might mean finding out about a set of words and where they came from (a poet? A story?). We can learn about what the music looks like on the printed page, and how to recognize the things we are seeing. We can make up exercises that help us with challenging lines of music, or hard text. And we can watch each other on video chats, or listen to each other sing to hear how others are doing (only when you want to!).
We can play games online together even when we might all be able to sing at the same time. This will make the learning part more interesting and engaging!
AS OF TODAY, July 29, 2020:
It sounds as if the best practice for children's choirs will be to NOT meet every week, so some online work especially as the Fall begins with school as well.
It ALSO sounds as if it IS POSSIBLE to meet occasionally, and to take precautions such as
- extra distancing (more than the recommended 6 feet for talking)
- outdoor rehearsals with distancing as weather permits
- shortened exposure rehearsals (with masks)
- option 1: rehearsals only 45 minutes long, not constant singing
- option 2: rehearse in the church sanctuary for 15-20 minutes, stay distanced and walk to the hall for another 15-20 minutes of rehearsal, return to the sanctuary for last 15-20 minutes.
PLEASE KNOW THAT AS SOON AS IT IS SAFE TO MEET IN PERSON, THAT WILL BE OUR PREFERRED OPTION, BUT THAT THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF ALL OUR SINGERS AND THEIR FAMILIES IS THE TOP PRIORITY.