Can choirs do remote rehearsals online?

One of the great things about being in a choir is the community aspect. In Vivamus, Thursday evenings are dedicated to singing together. Our harmonies and collective voice are more than music: they’re an expression of unity. Especially after the isolation of the pandemic lockdowns, going to choir – being part of a wider group – is a tonic.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible. Train strikes, other transport problems, illness: sometimes the choir isn’t able to get together.

What then? Do we miss out on valuable rehearsal time? Or do we attempt that dreaded thing: a remote, online rehearsal?

Online rehearsals were explored much more during the pandemic, when choirs couldn’t get together for months at a time. Naturally, they’re far from ideal.

There’s a lack of aural unity. Everyone’s audio and video set-up will be different, and therefore it’s impossible to get everyone singing in the same time. At Vivamus, we circumvent this by having every singer on mute. This means we can only hear the choir director – and ourself, of course. So there’s no grappling with split-second time differences; however, there’s sadly no chance to immerse in a collective choral impact.

There’s also the ever-present threat of tech problems. Audio can come and go; sometimes you can hear the accompaniment, sometimes you can’t; sometimes people may drop off or be unable to access altogether.

Fundamentally, seeing your fellow singers as small squares on your computer screen is a universe away from being with them in the same room. Hearing only your voice and no one else’s in a choral context can feel a little lonely.

So why do we do it?

It may sound hard to believe, but there are some benefits to online rehearsals. It allows you to focus on your line alone, and really listen to yourself without distraction. There’s also the convenience of doing choir rehearsals from the comfort of home – you can even wear pyjamas if you want to. (Note: Vivamus doesn’t mind if singers want to come to in-person rehearsal in pyjamas, either – but it may be just a tad unorthodox.)

Online rehearsals aren’t ideal, and we don’t choose to use them very often. But during those tough times when being in the same room isn’t possible, they can still bring us that precious joy of music on our Thursday nights.

Because when we simply cannot get together, the bottom line is: it’s better to sing than to not sing, isn’t it?

Find out more about Vivamus and see our upcoming concerts.

Post written by Swéta Rana.

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