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Coaching Focus on Re-Opening: Reconnecting and Rebuilding

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Having announced in my last post that I am ready to welcome individuals and small ensembles for coaching, I thought it might be useful to work through some of the things that people might need to work on at this moment. We have all made heroic efforts to stay in touch and make what music we can over the past year, and small ensembles have at least had the chance to meet up outdoors during the spring to start rebuilding.

Still, there are lots of ways in which we will be feeling the effects of such a long hiatus in our regular musicking, and I have been giving a lot of thought to what people are likely to need help with, and how I can support them in this rebuilding process. The key areas I have identified are as follows:

  • Ensemble skills. This has been the missing link for all of our remote rehearsing. Particularly in Zoom, where the best we can do is take it in turns to sing on-mic to duet along with, but even in Jamulus, where you can get a fully harmonic experience, the sense of real-time connection of ensemble work is at best approximate. I can offer exercises and rehearsal strategies to rebuild the mutual awareness needed for balance, blend and synchronisation, to support the process of getting back into each other’s heads, and moving back into the ‘same house of being’
  • Vocal skills. Singing into small devices has, for some people, also boxed their voices in. For some it’s feeling inhibited singing at home with family and neighbours in earshot, for others it’s just the sense of singing alone in a small room that has reduced the scope of voice needed for the occasion. I can help you re-open your voice – connect it back into your body and into your full expressive self. As we broaden our horizons to go back out into the world, we can also broaden our vocal and emotional horizons.
  • Cognitive skills. Brain fog is in some ways an adaptive response to extended periods of lockdown, but we’re all likely to find the transition back to a more outward-looking and engaged mode of existence cognitively challenging. I can support your ensemble in this process by sharing approaches to rehearsal that will help your brain get traction on the music once again.

We have all had parallel experiences over the last 15 months, but all in our individual circumstances. My approach to coaching has always been diagnostic rather than prescriptive, and this has never been more important than now. So, the guiding principle for all our work together will be:

What does this set of people need at this point in their journey? Let’s focus on that.

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