Today, Stevie and I discuss the ridiculousness of your terrible attendance policy and offer better alternatives that you don’t want to hear. It’s about time to create accountability without taking yourself too seriously.
It all started with a Facebook post in a group that shall not be named…
Hello all, I am on the board for my college’s a cappella group and we’ve been dealing with a bit of an attendance issue. We’re a small group (currently only 11 members), and when everyone auditioned to be a part of the group, they were told how important attendance is, as it is any any musical group. That being said, we haven’t had a single rehearsal this year with everyone present, the main reason usually being, “I had too much homework to do so I skipped”. Does anyone have any suggestions to help attendance? We’ve considered doing an ‘attendance contract’, but I’m skeptical if that would actually help. I’m open to all ideas!
Warning: Stevie and I offer EVEN more solutions on today’s Technique Tuesday Episode!
My original answer on Facebook…
1. Have a conversation with the group about whether the rehearsal time makes sense for them. If you’re missing 1-2 people, that’s probably normal. If it’s 4-5 you should look into an alternate day/time. Giving the choir ownership over the time will make them more likely to commit bc they had a say. (This doesn’t work for school/curricular ensembles of course)
2. Build in subs to your ensemble so if a few people miss, you have others to step in. A choir of 11 should be 16. You can swap singers in/out during performance. There’s no rule that says if 11 people are on stage that only 11 people have to be enrolled in the ensemble.
The only reason you should cut someone from the ensemble is if their absence is so consistent that you think, “Do they even want to be here?”. If you get that vibe, it’s time to have a conversation about their goals.
I run FOR-PROFIT teen choirs. This is a huge concern for me as I make more money when I have larger ensembles, so I think twice about booting people. All of my kids are high achievers. They miss for soccer, homework, vacations, etc. But I’m glad they do, because they’re cool kids who have a diverse array of talent and energy to bring to the table.
Isn’t your job to encourage others to be involved in the art form? Fire as a last resort.
You’re a creative person. Be creative with how you solve this problem.
If you have any follow-up questions, please let me know!