A Guide To Setting Up A Choir

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Starting a choir from scratch might seem like a daunting task, but it isn’t as difficult as you might fear. Like any other project, a little planning can go a long way. Whether you’re setting up a school choir to meet curriculum criteria or simply starting a choir because you and a few others love to sing, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to help you get on your way.

Don’t panic! Starting and running a choir will be a lot of fun and we promise that passion is worth a whole lot more than experience.

10 Top Tips For Setting Up A Choir

  1. Enthusiasm is infectious
    If you’re keen and show it, others will soon catch the bug! Share your passion for starting a choir with colleagues and pupils – you might be surprised at the support you receive. And don’t forget to share your excitement with us across social media. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.
  2. Choose your repertoire carefully
    Children’s voices are still developing and it’s important to sing age-appropriate repertoire. Every songbook in the Out of the Ark Music catalogue has advice on age suitability, and the range and vocal flexibility required have been carefully thought through. Our award winning Sing™ series is perfect for choirs aged 5-11.
  3. Be open to everyone
    It’s a really good idea to keep your choir un-auditioned and open to all. Everyone can find their singing voice – sometimes the opportunity and a little encouragement from others is all they need!
  4. Use tools available to you
    If you’re not already familiar with our Words on Screen™ feature, it’s a genius tool for teaching songs. You don’t need to play the piano to set up a choir. Words on Screen™ makes it easy to teach songs to choirs: just press play and the words synchronize with the music! You can even highlight certain lines to help perfect harmonies and in-the-round singing. Learn more about Words on Screen™ here.
  5. Where and when will you hold rehearsals? 
    To use Words on Screen™ you’ll need a sound system and screen which may mean using the school hall – but a classroom will do! Remember: try not to schedule your rehearsal at a time that clashes with sports matches. It’s much easier for kids to focus on singing if they don’t have to choose between the things they love doing!
  6. Don’t forget the warm-up!
    Getting the voice and brain warmed up is vital if you want to make the most out of rehearsals. Take a look at Sing™ Warm-ups for some really great warm-up songs.
  7. Short and sweet
    Keep rehearsals snappy and varied. Aim for 30-45 minutes (including a warm-up), and work at a small selection of songs – something to suit all tastes!
  8. Listen, learn, progress
    Try recording your choir regularly so that children can hear their own voices and see how they are progressing. The more they listen, the more they will learn and the better they will perform once the curtain rises on the first big performance!
  9. Set some goals 
    These need not be big (at least to start with), but children love performing and there’s no doubt that choirs gel quicker and better if they have something to work towards. Whether singing in an assembly, a full-blown concert or busking for charity, an upcoming performance can really provide energy and focus. Why not set a goal for this Easter? Check out our collection of Easter Songbooks and start organising your first performance now!
  10. Get stuck in and enjoy! 
    Go on, make a start today: a year from now you’ll look back with pride on what you’ve managed to create. Once you have a core of reliable singers, make sure they talk to their friends about it! Before you know it, you’ll have a thriving singing community!

Don’t just take our word for it. 
Read Starling Arts blog post, Make Some Noise In 2019!, for more reasons to start a choir – prepare to be inspired!

Want to start a choir but in need of some extra training?
Take a look at our selection of workshops carefully designed to spark imagination and build the skills necessary for teachers to confidently deliver lessons through song.
Our Workshop 3: Winning Warm-ups makes a fantastic introduction to starting up a choir in a school or church.

Check back in soon for more tips and specific advice on singing in schools and churches. Don’t forget, we always love to hear from you! Send us videos or recordings of your choir singing in concerts, or simply just rehearsing.
Email music@outoftheark.com or share your video clips with us on social media.
Written by Antony Copus – Out of the Ark Music Team and writer of some of our favourite school nativities including: Lights, Camel, Action! and Hey Ewe!
Read more about Antony and his writing here.

Keep up to date with all the latest from Out of the Ark Music by signing up to our eNewsletter and subscribing to our blog here.

USED IT? LOG IT! Most schools have a CWCL licence from Christian Copyright Licensing Limited (CCLI) - more information can be found here. This licence grants permission to display song lyrics and music from Out of the Ark Music’s Words on Screen™ Singchronize™ Player and CD ROMs, on any projection screen as well as download and share lyrics and music. Whenever you use our songs, please make note of your usage and then log your songs on your CCLI copy report, so that song writers and copyright holders are paid for their work.

Out of the Ark Music has been providing schools across the country – and world – with wonderful primary school musicals and primary school songs for nearly 30 years. Our Christmas musicals and nativity plays make children sparkle and shine, year after year, as they proudly perform their school Christmas play. Our extensive collection of fun and joyous Easter songs, harvest songs, school assembly songs, leavers songs and even space songs, fill schools with laughter and give students and teachers alike, a reason to sing every day of the week. We’re glad you’re supporting us in our dreams of creating the best music for schools around the globe. Read more about us here.

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