Talk Less. Write More.

Get the explanations out of your rehearsal.

When Robert Shaw wrote his famous “Dear People” letters, he would have to sit up late typing the letters on a typewriter, have them mimeographed and then mailed to his choir members.

The work was significant.

He did it anyhow because anything he could put in the letter was something he could leave out of his speech at rehearsal.

Less talking = more singing, and more singing = better singing.

Today, all the work Shaw did has been replaced by instant sharing via email, Facebook, blog, text. Write it down, post it somewhere, and make sure your students all know it’s there.

Easy. And then you can leave the explanation on paper and save your precious time together for music-making.

I am especially interested in the “why’s” – why we do this vocalise, why a musical phrase should look like this, why we are focusing on tuning fifths.

Get the why out of your rehearsal, where it’s just slowing you down, and into print. The curious choristers will read and reread (and follow links) until they understand it. The students who aren’t ready to learn that why might not read your post right away, but they also might not hear you in rehearsal – and this way they can go back when they finally do get curious and find your explanation.

Get the talking out of your rehearsal and watch your choirs get better faster.

PS: There is current educational jargon for moving the lessons out of the classroom so you can focus on practice during class time. It’s called “flipping the classroom” – and Shaw was doing it 50 years ago.