I am a runner. I started running a few years ago, mostly for weightloss and fitness, and I got hooked. Now I’m one of those crazy people who doesn’t even check if it’s raining on long run day, because I’m going out anyway. Totally nuts.
I’ve been lucky in that I’ve only flirted with minor running-related injuries. Lots of people I know have been sidelined for months at a time with this and that, but the longest break I’ve ever had to take was 3 weeks, just recently, to heal a sore shin.
Despite this, I take maintenance seriously. By maintenance, I mean things like strength training, and stretching, and foam rolling. I do these things all the time, because I know that once I’m injured, it’s too late. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that.
On my run this morning – 3 miles in the rain, lots of fog, it was beautiful – I got to thinking about how directing a choir is so much like running in this regard. It doesn’t matter how well things are going, you can’t ever afford to stop maintaining the basic skills. Things like ensemble awareness, aural skills, rhythm and tuning, basic singing skills, all of these must be tended to in every rehearsal. You can’t let that stuff go, or other aspects of your performance will suffer.
The thought of tending to all of those things, while still getting your choir ready for a performance, can seem exhausting. Luckily, all of these things can – and should – be worked into all of the music we are working on – it just takes a little thought, a little creativity, and lots of attention to detail.