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Ways to increase the number of choir members we have

How can we increase the number of choir members we have? Any ideas?
Replies (9): Threaded | Chronological
on March 23, 2014 11:31pm
What type of choir?
What type of singers are you after? (Sight-readers? Trained voices? Anyone with a pulse? Age range? Gender?)
Applauded by an audience of 4
on March 25, 2014 7:33pm
Beginning Middle School Choir. Started at end of year.
on March 24, 2014 12:06pm
This is something my district has been discussing lately, and I'm anxious to see what others say.  Personally I'm very fortunate, but we're always worried about numbers.  Right now I have on average 250 students in my 7th grade chorus.  They have me every other day for 42 minutes all year long.  We recruite by sending high schoolers to the middle school right before scheduling to talk about the class, but that's just for 8th grade.  We have no other recruiting going on and our band program in 5/6 is taking a great number of students that could be taking chorus.  I get a descent amount that enjoy and comply with singing, we offer general music, band, and orchestra for those who do not want to be in chorus.  I should also say that I only see my entire group the day before my concert for a dress rehearsal.  Otherwise they are divided into classes of 20-30 students.
on March 25, 2014 3:00am
Agree with Simon that specifics will depend on the type and circumstances of the choir, but the two biggies that generalise across the board are:
1. Make sure your current members are having a great time. By this I mean specifically that they feel they are achieving things they can feel proud of, that they leave rehearsal feeling energised and enthused and wanting to come back for more.
2. Make sure the choir's performances are full of joy.
These two will attract a steady trickle of new members even without any specific recruitment activities, and will ensure the success of more concerted recruitment campaigns.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on April 16, 2014 8:05pm
You tell me what to do, but not how to do it? Could you elaborate on how to make choir more fun and entergetic?
on April 17, 2014 2:53am
You can do a lot in the planning - making sure you get a variety of repertoire and a variety of activities so people feel stimulated and don't get bogged down. Some blog posts with ideas to help on that dimension:
Also, think about the vocabulary you use in the rehearsal, as this can have a significant  impact on the atmosphere:
And I should probably add that 'fun and energetic' is one way to have a great time, but it's not the only atmosphere that singers respond to. Sometimes calm, focused work is what the music and/or the people need. But whatever the atmosphere, it's that feeling of being emotionally engaged and of having made genuine progress that will see people leaving feeling less tired than when they arrived (or, tired in a different way - satisfied, fulfilled rather than weary).
Applauded by an audience of 1
on March 25, 2014 6:30am
I have a community choir and would like to get some "younger" members and more experienced singers.  We have 18 now and I would like to increase that up to 30.  We get a lot of work done but also need better "readers".  I think Liz is right about having a good time and being joyful.   Next year I'm planning to some "Broadway" numbers in the Spring which should get a lot of attention.  Does anyone have other ideas?
on March 26, 2014 5:03am
I do a decades concert with my students.  We begin in the early 1900s and go to the 2010s.  The students do a project learning about things from the time frame then I introduce a song that was popular during that time.  This is great because I get to expose them to quality music in many genres, but they ultimately get to sing songs they know and like as well when we get to the music of today.  It's a small sacrifice I think.
on April 17, 2014 6:18am
Liz and Elizabeth pretty much nailed it!
Middle school years are unique.  They have to want to sing.   It is our job to inspire them to do so.
Here are a couple of more ideas to guide you as you develop your teaching style:
1)  Use your personality to engage them. 
2)  Laugh every single day.
3)  Only sing songs and genres that YOU are passionate about.  They sense your passion and respond to it likewise...regardless of the type of music.  If you love it, they are more likely to share that love.
4)  Don't solely focus on technique 24/7.  Music is spiritual.  Connect to the spirit of the songs in your discussions.  It changes how they sing.
5)  Move.  We cannot expect them to sit still all the time...especially boys.  If you want to attract males, you will definitely need to learn to incorporate movement into rehearsals in various ways.
6)  Discover Music K-8 magazine.  It contains awesome pieces for this age group in every issue and the composers share great ideas about how to bring the songs to life for this age group.
Hope that helps!
Dale Duncan
Read my blog for middle school choral music teachers:
My Sight Singing program specifically aimed at Middle School:
My YouTube Channel with Classroom Management ideas and Sight Singing tips:
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