One of the hardest things to deal with when singing in a choir is the worry about not being good enough. If you, like me, are a member of a large choir, you get absolutely no feedback on your performance as an individual. You simply hear the group criticisms and wonder if you are to blame.
I often go from feeling like a strong member of the choir to feeling like the weakest link, and wondering if I am deserving of my place. I feel you can’t rely on the person next to you to tell you honestly if you are doing a good job. They are more likely just to criticise you behind your back when they think you were flat, or singing too loudly, or your high notes weren’t hitting the mark.
I practice almost every single day for choir. I have paid for singing lessons as far as I could afford to. I do singing exercises every day to try and work on my tone and my pitch and my breath control. I think constantly about trying to keep my larynx in a neutral position, trying to keep my voice forward in the mouth, etc. All while reading my music and trying to enunciate the words correctly. I record myself and use the piano to try to measure my pitching and hear how well my tone sounds from outside.
It’s a tough and seemingly unending struggle trying to be good enough to be an asset to your choir. It is also a thankless task where there’s no individual feedback, and sometimes it gets me down. Not because of the lack of recognition of my ability or even my hard work, but because of my uncertainty about the existence of the former and value of the latter.
I do think that there are some ways in which my choir, at least, could be better managed to get the most out of its members. I know that the director cannot be expected to do this, but perhaps it would be a good idea to facilitate more peer guidance and correction in a spirit, not of competition, but of cameraderie and support.
I wonder if this is realistic. Choirs do seem at times, like most walks of life, to become hotbeds of rivalry between members, which in turn fosters distrust and insecurity in individuals. It shouldn’t be like this, and I’m sure that deep down that is how everybody feels. I think, indeed, that deep down, it is each person’s insecurity about their own position that creates such an atmosphere in the group in the first place.
I would love to hear if you have a similar experience of this situation and if you have any ideas. Please do comment and let me know.