CBC’s Margaret Gallagher visits Lions Gate Chorus and interviews director Sandy Marron, Team Coordinator Cammi Mackinlay and Inner Coach Jan Carley at their Final Dress Rehearsal before their 60th Anniversary Concert Sat. 22 Nov at the Massey Theatre, New Westminster BC 7:30 pm Info. at http://lionsgatechorus.ca
TICKETS will be available at the door. Afterglow following the concert.
The only thing predictable in any SAI competition is the unpredictable. Despite our best efforts to reduce and eliminate all external interference, it is rare that we get through any competition experience without some unplanned occurrence.
The salient difference-maker when confronted with the inevitable interference (you know what I mean – buses late, traffic patterns bunching up, a suddenly ill chorus member) is not the interference itself, but how you handle the interference. We cannot control circumstances, we can only control our reaction to those circumstances. We are the only thinkers in our own minds. Developing an A+ level of Interference Management Mastery will positively influence your performance experience and results.
I had the fascinating volunteer job of working in the traffic pattern at our recent Regional competition and got to witness first-hand the varied mental state of all of the directors and choruses in the warm-up area after they experienced delays in the traffic pattern.
Leaders: When you do your competition planning, consider your mindset mastery level. Prepare your reaction to the inevitable interferences because your chorus will follow your modeling example. Pre-plan the ways that you will refocus and support your chorus to refocus so that it becomes second nature. Acknowledge the interference, and make the choice then to let that interference go. Take the lead in communicating with and encouraging your chorus members to do the same.
Charlie Parker was one of the great sax players of the 20th century who once said, “Music is simply melody, harmony and rhythm. That’s it!” Imagine how those focusing on those 3 concepts could create a simple yet flourishing 2013.
1. MELODY: Choose a simple melody for the year, something that has to do with deep meaning related to compassion, community, and contribution.
2. HARMONY: Consider carefully those with whom you can best harmonize around this melody, those who will align with your purpose and feed your soul most powerfully.
3. RHYTHM: Create a rhythm or pace – perhaps a range of rhythms and paces — that will ensure both contribution and self-care as you move through the coming year with grace and gratitude
*reprinted with permission from Brian Fraser’s JAZZ THINK TIPS ezine www.jazzthink.com
I recently returned from the Sweet Adeline International Competition in Denver, and had an amazing week listening to the over 2,500 singers who graced the competition stage. Having worked with many of the choruses competing, I know that the setting of goals was a part of their competition preparation. How each group felt about their competition experience (no matter what the result) was closely tied to how they framed their competition goals.
Goals can inspire you and give you focus and direction, yet they can also cripple you and provide mental interference that can negatively affect your experience.
I love the following quote by George Benson. It’s a wonderful reminder that no one cares if you make a mistake. However, it’s our fear of making a mistake that robs us from experiencing our true potential and making the deepest musical connections with our audiences.
“The greatest thing I think that happened to me was, one day I heard a record by the number one guitarist of all time, Andre Segovia, and some place in this classical concerto…he made a little bobble. And I said, ‘Andre Segovia made a mistake! If he can make a mistake, who the heck am I? Who cares whether I make a mistake?’ So I played with reckless abandonment, didn’t worry about mistakes any more. Best thing that could ever happen to me ’cause if you worry about the music, you can’t do it with conviction. So I stopped worrying about it and now I have a career that I never imagined.”
–George Benson, in an interview with Aamer Haleem (CTV Morning Live, May 2012)
In our barbershop art form it is easy to get trapped into solely focusing on technical mastery which can hugely limit our vocal freedom , emotional expression and possibilities for true connections with our audiences. Do you ever hold back, or limit yourself out of fear of making a mistake? I welcome your comments here.
It’s a frequent topic of discussion with many chorus leadership teams – How do we motivate members to show up? To pass their qualifications sooner? To learn their music earlier? To take personal responsibility?
Most of us in the mid-life age bracket grew up with the common “Carrot and Stick” motivational method of reward and punishment wherein good behavior was rewarded, and poor behavior was punished. We, in turn, frequently use that technique in our role as leaders to motivate others, still confused by why chorus members don’t step up to the plate and consistently take personal responsibility.
Motivating by fear may work in the short-term, however, the negative emotional effects of a “Carrot and Stick” approach on individuals and the chorus culture are significant. And the use of rewards as a motivational technique can actually serve to undermine one’s self-motivation, thus reducing the possibility of one taking personal responsibility.
“Carrots and Sticks are so last century”, says Daniel H. Pink, in his brilliant new book, DRIVE – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
Pink refers instead to 3 essential elements of true motivation (autonomy, mastery and purpose) that connect to create the most powerful form of motivation of all – intrinsic motivation – that which comes from within.
Pink says that “traditional ‘if-then’ rewards can actually give us less of what we want and can serve to diminish performance and crush creativity.”
I highly recommend Pink’s book to anyone in a leadership position.