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Choir Ninja, with Ryan Guth

May 26, 2017

Purpose, mission,’s all the same idea. Why do you do what you do? Now that the pressures of concert and contest season are behind you, it’s time to spend some time wrestling with the big questions. There are no easy answers, but Ryan and Stevie Berryman walk you through the discussions you need to have with your musicians, your board, or just the director in the mirror. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “It’s important that as musicians we are consumers as well as producers.” - Stevie Berryman Show Notes:

  • “Who do you serve?” is one of the most important questions for a group to ask themselves, but it is frequently overlooked.
  • Just being good at what you do is not enough to compel an audience to show up for what you do. We are flooded with great performances, both live and in digital formats.
  • “Who do you serve” is not necessarily the same question as “Who is your audience”. You might serve your members, your community, your church congregation, other students.
  • To figure out your answer, try focusing on the “One Thing.” Brainstorm answers in a journal. Ask “when am I my best self?”
  • We all should be consumers of choral music as well as producers. Think of the concerts you attend purely for the pleasure of it, not because you are in any way responsible for it. Why do you show up? In what way are you being served?
  • It is so easy to hear great performances that being good at what you do is likely not enough to get people to show up. Refining your concept of who you serve, and reflecting that in your group mission statement, will help you attract the people you want to serve.
  • Craft a mission statement that reflects your group’s notion of who they serve. Beyond being the “premiere” music ensemble in your area, what do you really do?
  • Use the summer break to answer these big picture questions. Talk about it with your board and your members. Consider having a retreat (at a different location than your rehearsal space) so that everyone in your group can have a voice in this discussion.
3 Key Takeaways:
  1. Why should someone care enough about what you do to show up for your concert?
  2. Don’t underestimate the value of showing up. Be a consumer of music, not just a producer.
  3. Our culture is saturated in outstanding art. That means that just being good, even great, is no guarantee that anyone will listen to you. You delivery of your art is nearly as important as the art itself.
Resources/links Mentioned:
  • A servant cannot serve two masters
  • The One Thing, by Gary Keller
  • Brass Beats
  • cravat/dickie debate: A cravat is a short, wide strip of fabric worn by men around the neck and tucked inside an open-necked shirt. A dicky is a false shirt front. So while it is not impossible to wear the two together, it is unlikely.
  • Choir Nation Facebook group: let us know if you use Sight-Reading Factory in your church choir!
  • Email Patreon - Support the podcast!
Biography: Sponsored by: Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!) srfLogo 7 My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) 18009657 10100785146152854 187971250 n 7