Zoominar #5 - June 6, 2020

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The big question for today’s session was “When are we all going back to singing?”

One of our members said she’d received a letter from Age Concern stating that even at level 2 it would be acceptable for choirs to go back on Monday 15th June.  Also it is important that you check with your venue before you arrange live sessions again.

Being a little unsure of things for her choir, she decided to draw up a power point, which she is happy to share.

  • Common goal: We all want to sing together again
  • Balancing risk and fear post lockdown: We need to understand that we are all individuals with unique circumstances.  While some may be highly motivated to get back into the thick of it, others will want to wait, and that’s perfectly fine.
  •  Choose your own pace.Some people in your choir may want to move fast, some slowly and some people not at all.
  • Amount of fear or anxiety we experience may be out of proportion compared to the actual risk of contracting covid 19: Look for ways of balancing these 2 things. It can be difficult to feel centred and motivated when experiencing a lack of control. 
  • Tips on fighting stress:
  1.  Focus on what you do want as a song leader
  2. Connect
  3. Practise relaxation techniques, breathe deeply
  4. Practise being thankful
  5. Appreciate beauty, go for a walk
  6. Keep physically healthy; drink lots of water and eat well.
  • Benefits of singing in a group:
  1. It has a positive effect on our state of mind and physical being
  2. It’s very uplifting
  3. Reduces isolation
  4. Builds communities
  • Our job is to increase safety at our gatherings in Level 1:
  1. Have accurate details for tracking
  2. Hand sanitiser
  3. Ventilate the room
  4. Chairs will need to be 1 meter apart in rows
  5. Choir members need to bring their own cup
  6. Make sure members are fully aware of social distancing
  7. Have a list of cleaning procedures
  8. Ask people to stay at home, if even slightly unwell
  9. Duration of choir, no more than 90 minutes
  10. Level 1 feels like a comfortable starting point for choirs to recommence.


There was then a discussion of some of these aspects.

1.       There will be a need to make people feel comfortable singing again.  Because some singers are not confident and may have relied on others to guide them, being 1 meter apart will be difficult or challenging.  So a suggestion was made to put the strongest singers in the back rows, and less confident ones in the front.  Also new singers are good being place at the front.

2.      If you’re still unsure about going straight back to singing, it was suggested you could arrange to have coffee at a café where your members could meet and then watch how people interact.

3.      Consider LIVE STREAMING on Facebook for those people in your choir who for whatever reason cannot go back to live singing. He runs this using his phone.  You can delete the face book session afterwards.  You don’t have to have a face book account. (Tevivi is happy to share how to do this).  This may be good for people who aren’t ready to come back to choir.

4.      If you use instruments during your sessions, please ensure they are cleaned regularly, after each person has touched them.

5.      Think about how people are going to be feeling after being so isolated.  e.g. settling people in.  Joke about elbow bumps or foot taps, rather than a hug.

6.      Think about when you might take a holiday and then re-set for Term 3.

7.      Video your sessions to use as teaching aids in the future

8.      Arts Funding guidelines and funding recommendations for song leaders, as it’s been difficult during lockdown.  The arts community now understands that user-pays is not a suitable model., now that many people have lost their jobs and this will affect us.  This is the time that we need to apply for funding to do the work that we do.  A fact sheet would be useful for members to use in order for them to be able to apply for funds.


Where are we going as a network?

Some ideas were discussed as to how SLNA can better support members.

  • We have a lot of diverse skills within the network: Identifying our own specialties and skills would be brilliant.  Perhaps we need a register.  Pam has already presented a brilliant video tapestry.  This is an example of video editing skills.  People could provide one list of what their skills are and another of what they want to learn.
  • Training and development resources on-line (e.g. On-line courses) If you are a member you would be able to access these courses free or for a minimum charge. Non-members would pay. This would provide our expert teachers of music theory with some income.
  • Budget templates:
  • Resources:
  • Videos:
  • Musical arrangements:
  • Song writing workshops online:
  •  Ideas about repertoire:
  • Open-source idea: People will bring subjects and then split up into breakout rooms.  Everyone has every right to choose where they want to take their 2 feet and they can pop in and out of subjects going wherever they want.
  • Training and development resources – on line courses made available to members (free or very reasonable)
  • Keep Zoominars going (perhaps once a month once we go back to normal times).  They are enriching and it’s so worthwhile being together.
  • Village Harmony workshops – all courses are on-line.  SLNA have funding for PD. There are 3 spaces available.  90 mins per day for 6 days (5 am).


The SLNA Newsletters:

It was noted that they are helpful and informative and it is good to have short newsletters regularly (little and often). They also inform us of up and coming events.

One member asked ‘How do we find and read the old newsletters in the archive?’

Carol is now going to put a link on the latest newsletter to the archived ones.



It was agreed that having free membership at the moment was a good decision.

One member said how appreciative she was of the Zoominars, which are bringing members together regularly to share ideas and thoughts.

The new date of renewal of membership is now end of May.  This date is much better because it occurs the same date for everyone, and it’s just before the SLNA ‘lead in’ weekends. 


Debrief the video tapestry:  This will happen soon.