Whether in person or remote, Valentine’s Day can be a special and productive rehearsal. For so many of our choirs, Covid has created physical and emotional separation; by tapping into the spirit of this holiday, we can spread love throughout our group and make everyone feel special. Love is infectious and can infiltrate each and every member of our ensemble. It is our job to spread the love, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to make it our focus.
While it may be super last minute, these “on the fly” ideas are intended to make this holiday of love become a rehearsal filled with love and positive energy.
Valentine’s Day Round (4 parts) – download and teach TODAY!
Here are 9 Ideas for Creating Choir Valentine’s Day – Remote and In Person:
1. Greet students in person students as they enter and/or exit our room and hand out something that symbolizes love
By personally giving each student a love symbol, (Hershey’s kiss, little candy hearts, etc, cut-out heart, etc), we are making a special connection with each child. This is something that choir officers can do in our place. The goal is for each choir member to feel a one-on-one, warm interaction as they enter and leave our rehearsal.
2. Have a “Valentine’s Day” message written on the board/screen as they enter the room/meeting.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Choir! You Are All Loved!” is a wonderful message for students to see as they enter our room and find their seats. A thoughtful message goes a long way. We never know who needs to hear that. We can also say this to our choir. Telling the choir we love them and care about them isn’t limited to Valentine’s Day, but our national day of love certainly provides the impetus for sharing this sentiment.
Valentine’s Day Rehearsal Assignment – free resource for Valentine’s Day
3. Enhance the room/screen with additional decor – do something that is reflective of love
Keep it simple. Maybe the smart board/chalkboard can have something “love-themed”. A few beautiful quotes about love, possibly taken from their current music repertoire, could really set the tone of the rehearsal. Remotely, find a virtual background that will symbolize the holiday.
– teach your weaker sight-singers the secret skills they are missing!
4. Make love a universal theme
Love doesn’t need to be about a couple. It can be about loving oneself, loving mankind, being passionate about what we do in our life, etc. Draw attention to all that love can be. Love is such a powerful emotion as it brings joy, sadness, compassion, pain, grief, frustration, and many other emotions. While the mood of love is surrounding our students throughout the day (for better or for worse), let’s connect this emotion directly to their singing.
5. Discuss the specific themes of love within our music
Focus on the songs that share this theme. Sometimes it is love of nature, love of life, or love of another being. For our “Valentine’s Day” rehearsal, “love” can be the entry point into our music; as we connect the applicable theme of “Valentine’s Day” back into our chosen song selections, some students may be able to connect deeper to their music. When we offer a different entry point into our music, (focusing on dynamics, articulation, vowels, meaning, etc), we can reach our students in a new and profound way.
6. Learn and sing a Valentine’s Day Round
Any holiday or event is a good excuse to do something different. I wrote a round for Valentine’s Day that is designed to reinforce consonants that are frequently mispronounced or omitted as well as ones that frequently sound the same, even though they are distinctly different. Rounds, in general, are great for group sight-singing, and for teaching beginning singers how to hold their part. This round is a great tool for singers of all ages. If virtual, this piece can be sung in unison, as the teaching tools are equally important in just the melody line itself!
7. Provide an in-class Valentine’s Day rehearsal assignment that draws upon the love and emotion in choir
It is important to give students the opportunity to productively express themselves. I have created a free assignment for Valentine’s Day that allows students to positively self-reflect upon their choral experience, using the theme of love (and human connection).
1) What aspect of choir do you love the most, and why?
2) Which choir piece that we have learned this year do you love to sing the most, and why?
3) Which piece do you feel most connected to the entire choir when we are singing? Is there any specific text/line in the song where this connection feels the strongest?
4) Name one specific lyric from any piece of music we have sung that has personally touched you, and why?
And if we use this Valentine’s Day rehearsal assignment……
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8. Have students share their response to the Valentine’s Day assignment with the class
An effective way to do this would be to form in pairs or small groups, and have each student share their response to each student. After this exercise, students could volunteer to read their response to the entire class.
9. Lead a discussion on how music and singing both play a role in connecting with love throughout our society
Group discussions are a useful way to bring students together and connect toward a common goal. In this case, the understanding of their role as singers to spread and transmit love is a powerful message to explore; additionally, the power of music, especially live music, is so unique. What happens when we perform at an assisted living facility, at a wedding, at a funeral, sing happy birthday in harmony, etc? What is our role as singers?
Whether last-minute or well-planned, we have the ability to make a “special” Valentine’s Day rehearsal for our choir members!