Ahhh Gareth Malone. What’s not to love? Ever since I saw ‘The Choir: Boys Don’t Sing’ on the telly all those years ago I’ve been inspired by his energetic approach to getting more people singing. And so whenever I hear a rumour that he’s starting a new series, I make a point of watching, and each new series got me a little closer to starting the choir I so wanted to start.
So Gareth Malone, thank you for your inspiration and thank you for your energy. Without you I would not be doing what I’m doing today. Fanfare Music would definitely not exist.
Let me give you some examples of Gareth and his high energy choir directing which I’ve found useful in my very short career up until now…
1. Gareth is just Gareth. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He ‘la la’s at the top of his voice. He dances around. He pulls faces at singers to make them smile.
2. Gareth likes to challenge people. Solos. ‘Group work’. Harmonies. Tough deadlines. I’m completely up for this too. It’s good for you.
3. Gareth likes you to think out of the box and try something different or new. I asked my choir in the run up to Christmas to split into groups and put a ‘composition’ of their own together based on a well known Christmas song which I issued each group with. Mixed reactions…
4. Gareth has Enthusiasm with an intentional capital E. If you can’t get excited about something you can’t expect your choir to either!
Reflecting on the Gareth Malone-style challenge I set my choir this month, what have I learnt?
Enthusiasm is very important, definitely contagious and it can also be grown with a bit of encouragement, humour and team spirit. These things usually work out in the end. I must admit I did have a slight confidence wobble when my choir weren’t jumping up and down when I first told them about my planned ‘treat’. But we persevered and in the end they were all cheering each other on and laughing, and singing, together - which is what I was aiming for in the first place. Friendship is a big help and this exercise encouraged people to talk to one another and work together to combat nerves and self consciousness.
So thank you Gareth Malone. Thank you for your enthusiasm and for your inspiration.