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Safety in numbers or an elimination of perfectionism?




How are we all doing? All is good here at The Enlightened Singer HQ, really good actually. I can't remember if I mentioned this before or not, but, as well as being a singing teacher, I run 3 ladies choirs in Selsdon and South Croydon called Songsations. Recently we did a concert in aid of Papyrus and The MS Society and this concert was a rousing success. We then did another concert a few weeks later with the Norwood Wind Ensemble which, I believe, was an even bigger success.


All this performing got me thinking about singing and the effect it can have on our confidence, both when singing and our general well being. Some of the ladies in my choir are pretty confident singers, and were so before they joined the choir, but some of them are scared of singing, for various reasons. However, what I noticed at these concerts was a distinct growth of confidence in all participants.


Of course the growth in confidence can be put down, in part, to safety in numbers. Songsations have 3 sessions a week and, usually, these sessions are attended by around 13 people but when we do concerts we join together and there are around 25 participants which means the less confident singers feel more hidden but also braver. Of course everyone still worries that they will sing when they are not supposed to, hold a note on too long because they weren't looking at me, the conductor, or they'll sing the wrong note or word but this collective growth in confidence was a joy to behold.


I think there are other forces at work though. I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason as to why the last performance we did was particularly good or what had made it such a wonderful experience for the choir, the audience and me as their leader but I think I now understand.


I have been putting together a workshop for people who want to sing more confidently, on their own, in front of others and during the course of my research, and deciding what actual message I wanted to convey, I began thinking about perfectionism. It then hit me why my choir are so fantastic when they perform and always exceed my, quite high, expectations of them. It's because they are not seeking and have never been asked or encouraged to seek perfection by me when they perform.


I definitely put them through their paces in rehearsals but, when it comes to performances, I NEVER expect perfection. I expect joy and I expect passion but I do not expect perfection. This, I believe is the secret to our success. We love what we do, we don't really care what anybody thinks of us and we have a passion for the songs we sing.


This is going to be the cornerstone of my workshop in August. We will look at eliminating perfectionism and injecting joy back into our singing. If this sounds like something you would like to explore then please email me at: enlightenedsinger@gmail.com to be put on the mailing list. If you can't make this workshop in person I plan to do an online version at a later date so get yourself on the mailing list and eliminate FOMO (fear of missing out, for those who don't know).


Oh, and for those ladies who live near Selsdon or South Croydon and fancy singing some top musical theatre tunes go to songsations.net to see what we're all about.

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