10-foot and 10,000-foot Views

Choir directors have to have both: you have to be in the moment, reacting immediately to everything from kids falling off risers to emotional breakdowns to out-of-tune final chords to fire drills.

But you also have to have the arc in mind, always. The arc to the concert, the arc to the year. What is happening in 6 weeks from Thursday that we have to start preparing for? How do I ensure that my students have the skills to succeed at sight reading next February? What am I programming for next year’s Christmas concert?

You’re better at one or the other – I’m much better at 10′ than 10,000′, but over time I’ve learned to dream big dreams, anticipate the needs to execute, and do the legwork ahead of time.

Other people are great at 10,000′: they have their programs done three years out but flounder in an actual rehearsal.

I’ve learned so much about how to balance the two from my inspiration and choral mentor: virtually all my choral skills come from watching her and discussing with her.

May we all learn to balance the 10′ and 10,000′ views as well as Mandy Scott.