I recently heard a choral director comment that, ‘I was told, good naturedly, not to single people out in rehearsal this week.’ This made me stop and think, particularly in the context of my recent posts on raising the stakes. The conversation moved on and I didn’t get a chance to follow up the exact situation that elicited this request, so I found myself having an imaginary debate with the person who made it over the rights and wrongs of addressing individuals in a choral situation.
Now, the people who don’t want to be singled out would say, in a general sense, that they don’t like being put on the spot. They choose to sing in a group because they feel safe there.
And the rapacious director who replies that this exactly why people should be singled out has a point. Many choirs suffer from a certain sheep-like tendency for everybody to hide behind each other, vocally and expressively. In these circumstances, having everybody feel a little more individual responsibility for making the music rather than just singing along with it is a Good Thing.