The Power of Positive Planning & Posting for Choir:  Positive “Ways to Rephrase”


The two most important goals for successfully starting off the year are to create a positive/nurturing learning environment and to create/instill effective guidelines and procedures. The Power of Positive Planning & Posting involves the gelling together of these two primary goals; this all happens prior to the first day of school and requires a consciousness in the way we prepare.

Just as every interaction between the director and choral member is important, every posted sign provides our members with a potential interaction as well. In fact, our members may experience frequent interactions with the same sign throughout a given rehearsal; if we place a  “No Calling Out” sign in the front of the room and a student happens to stare at it over and over again, it can subliminally negatively impact their learning atmosphere


It is quite common for students to internalize a sign just as they can personalize a message from the director intended to reach the entire class.  I’m sure we can all recall a time we spoke to the entire class but personally affected an individual student. Signs can be taken personally as well.

When starting off the year, there are many important guidelines, procedures, and expectations that we may wish to communicate right off the bat. If we take the time to find a positive way to phrase the important information, they can have a different impact on our members.  Every guidelines needs to be posted, along with the posting of certain procedures and expectations.  When posting, we need to choose positive posting.

The Best Aural Training Exercise you will ever use!

Ways to Rephrase

Here are some rules or guidelines that many of us commonly present in a negative light.

NEGATIVE Guidelines rephrased in a POSITIVE and Equally Effective Way.

1. No Calling Out

Please raise your hand and wait to be acknowledged before you speak.

2. No Chewing Gum

Please keep all food, including chewing gum, outside of the classroom.

3. Don’t be late

Behavioral Re-direction Form for students who don’t follow the guidelines

Please be on time.

4. Don’t have work for other classes out & No cell phones

Please only have your choir folder and pencil available during the class. This includes cell phones.

5. No beverages other than water

Water is the only permitted beverage.

6. Don’t forget your music

Please remember to bring your music.

Turning it all around

The concept of turning each negative phrase into a positive might not come naturally; it may require thought. Sometimes it appears difficult or nearly impossible to change long-standing, negatively phrased guidelines and procedures. It could seem like there is only way to say what it is we want to say. Once we become aware of a previously posted negative phrase, we can take the time to figure out how to “turn it around”.  There is always a way.

These concepts might not seem like a big deal, but the power of positive posting is infectious. The same goes for the power of negative posting. Guidelines and procedures create the culture of our class. Negativity can breed fear and/or resentment of our laws. Clear but positively stated class expectations, especially followed with a positive verbal explanation, is more likely to be received by the choir members with understanding and observance. In addition, we can state behavioral re-directions (in place of consequences) in a clear and positive manner as well.

My Behavioral Re-direction form provides a positive solution to students who don’t follow the guidelines that we set.

Behavioral Re-Direction Form (for students who don’t follow Guidelines)

Positively phrased guidelines, behavioral re-directions, expectations, and procedures will positively affect the learning environment. In addition, posters and sayings that reinforce positive thought can also aid in creating a positive learning environment. Whether handmade or store-bought, thoughtful choices of signage and posters can make a real difference; posters that welcome, unite, build community, and inspire will contribute to building a positive atmosphere from the moment our students enter the choir room. While many of us already utilize these positive posters throughout our room, they may conflict with our negatively worded phrases. The words and phrases we use are more likely to reinforce our actual classroom way of life.

Positive Progression

Re-phrasing the signage of guidelines, procedures, and expectations is only the start to sparking positive changes within our rehearsal atmosphere. After turning around the negative postings, the next step is becoming more aware of our word choices. These word choices include verbal instruction, written instructions and handouts. As we progress in our awareness of ways we can rephrase, we may find an improvement in the way we give verbal directions and offer constructive feedback. We begin the positive with positive postings because it takes time to perfect; we have all summer to prepare and ensure posted words are phrased positively. The power of positive posting can be the start to the power of positive thinking for us, and in turn, our choir members.

Final Thoughts

The Power of Positive Planning is still addressing the symptoms and not the underlying cause of negativity. If we start from the WHY, we will automatically make every decision around our students’ needs. This is the starting point for Choir Crash Course: The 1st Days of Choir (and beyond) Prep. This online, on demand course begins with the visualization of what we hope to accomplish and guides you into making all the preparation toward this ideal learning environment.


Please note that most of the information in this course is available for free in my many blog posts. What makes this course different is:

  1. You will watch videos where I discuss many individual topics and follow up with a personalized assignment and supporting materials in order to help you succeed in your classroom.
  2. You will be given specific assignments that lead to a completed handbook (I provide an editable handbook where you fill in the course-completed information)
  3. You will receive related handouts, charts, and forms that I sell on this website as part of the course (behavioral redirection form, self-assessment, aural training sheet, editable handbook, list of effective guidelines, etc)
  4. You will have guidance every step of the way – I will be there to answer your questions via text or email. I will check your work, whenever needed!