Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the configuration of your room, and seating your choir.
When choosing the configuration of your room, and seating your choir keep the following items in mind.
- Be aware of the height of you versus the choir, especially if discipline is an issue. Just because you have risers doesn’t mean you need to use them.
- Channel your inner civil engineer and plan the flow of traffic into and out of your rehearsal room. This means that you should have aisles planned out so that each section can easily get to their spots. Theres nothing worse than 4 straight lines with no aisles for people to be falling over each other. There are only two ways in/out of each aisle. Unless your students line up in riser order outside of your door before the bell, I don’t see this as a good solution.
- Plan for bathroom breaks/interruptions when choosing a seating layout. If a student must get up in the middle of rehearsal, will it be distracting to the rest of the choir. This is especially difficult when you’re on riser. You may want to visit your bathroom policy if you have no other choice.
- If you choose to put your students in a pattern where they face each other, like a “U”, make sure they can handle it. Sometimes kids can get a little goofy if they have the ability to look at each other and not at you. 90-degree angles are not your friend in this situation.
- Consider a podium. One cue I used to use was that the choir was not allowed to speak when I was on the box. We used to listen for the sound of the air conditioner only when I was standing on my podium. I would train the kids by getting on and off the box and allowing them to rehearse talking and being quiet based on where I was standing.
- Let them face the clock. It’s better than creating unnecessary neck tension in the middle of your rehearsal, if you get my drift.
- You must be far enough away from the choir that you can hear all the parts evenly, but close enough that you’re still engaging.
- Ask for feedback from your most trustworthy students or class. They will tell you whether they notice discipline issues and will give you a general sense of the “vibe” that this configuration is causing.
- Most importantly, can your choir hear each other?