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Getting them singing


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#1 Saxwarbler

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 16:31

In three weeks' time we have a team training day at work. There are around eight or so of us and we'll decamp to a nearby depot where we'll spend the day working together on various exercises. These training days, like the team, are always very informal and relaxed. We have each been asked to prepare a 'short' presentation - around ten minutes or so - on an aspect of our job or ano topic that would be of interest to the rest of the team. Well my job is quite boring, really. I mainly enter data and stats into spreadsheets and prepare reports for officers to present to directors and councillors and the like. So ... ano topic it will be. And I thought ... as you do ... I'll talk about my singing. I would be quite comfortable singing something to them as well, so that would be no problem.

I have been talking for a long time now, half-jokingly, about getting them singing though, and am thinking this might be an opportunity to do so - just our team in the privacy of a training room, with no pressure. I don't plan on telling them in advance because if I do then I'm pretty sure they'll start to become a bit anxious about it. The plan is to tell them in advance that I'm going to talk about stress in the workplace, seeing as the authority are doing a big push on mental health issues right now. On the day, I'll introduce the topic and then talk about the mental health benefits of singing ... and then I want to get them going.

Because of the limited time my plan is simply to get them singing together and enjoying themselves, possibly with a round or a partner song. I don't want to give them an unfamiliar tune or introduce any theoretical topics, and nothing 'naff' either - the team is something like 55% male and I can't really see them warming to the usual beginners' fare. To that end I'm thinking of Swing Low Sweet Chariot/When The Saints Go Marching In. As football and rugby fans, they should know these so it would be a matter of recapping each song, then splitting them up and singing the two together.

What do you think? Do I have any chance of getting them to do this in the time I have? I don't mind if they're off key, get the words wrong or whatever. I just want them to have a good time doing it and to go away with positive thoughts about it.


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#2 Splog

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 17:42

I think that is an excellent choice of songs. I'm sure they will love it. They might enjoy it as well if you make it into a competition. Eg

 

Everyone sing Swing low, then split the group and ask one half to sing Swing Low, then the other half, and see who can sing it best/loudest/quietest. They'll be too busy trying to outdo each other they won't feel embarrassed about singing. Then introduce the other song, and split them up. See if the competitive spirit keeps going and they try and outsing each other.

 

Also, if there are some good singers, you could always improvise some harmony, or you sing a harmony part over the top.

 

Good luck, it sounds brill xxx


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#3 Saxwarbler

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 19:00

I'm sure could sing I'm Gonna Sing over the top if there's time.

I think I could definitely get them to compete - there's always lots of friendly competition in the office. I could maybe threaten the losers with our 'pants of shame' - a humungous pair of comedy Y-fronts with braces attached and that people have to wear and be photographed in if they fail to keep things like New Year resolutions. They've been around for ten years and have never been washed in all that time.


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#4 Sylvette

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 18:46

Sounds like a great idea, Saxwarbler.  Another pair of songs that go well together is It's a Long Way to Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles.  Everybody is likely to at least have heard them and if you have a very mixed group, they avoid any possible religious bias!


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#5 Banjogirl

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 19:42

You could see who can think of other songs that fit with 'Oh when the saints'. I've found about thirty so far... But you can't sing them all at the same time!


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#6 elemimele

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 21:27

Saxwarbler, I'm very impressed! I suspect the HR people where I work would have forty fits if we had humungous Y-fronts of shame. Doesn't sound like an appropriately professional pathway for handling inadequate performance, to me (but it sounds a lot less clinical and a lot more fun).

 

Singing is great, but you may hit a died-in-the-wool non-singer who would rather die of embarrassment than make any noise. Perhaps they could be induced to hum?

 

There is definitely a role for the pants, for the first person who laughs at someone else's efforts...

 

One of the most fulfilling musical experiences my child has ever had was a performance artist who he met by accident (he can only have been about 6 at the time), setting herself up outside the library one summer evening. She had a table of incredibly battered brass instruments (some were even complete, more-or-less). Her plan was to get a collection of random passers-by to use them to blow out candles on a cake. We were the first to pass by, and she taught him how to get a noise out of an old trumpet, properly. He loved the whole experience, and has never forgotten.

 

Good luck: I hope your colleagues find it inspirational and fun.


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#7 Cyrilla

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 22:23

There are a lot of good ideas in the Sing for Pleasure Junior Song Books that you can still use with adults!   Echo songs, partner songs, simple part-songs, canons...also Voiceworks 1 has a lovely arrangement of When the Saints.

 

:)


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#8 sbhoa

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 16:24

Saxwarbler, I'm very impressed! I suspect the HR people where I work would have forty fits if we had humungous Y-fronts of shame. Doesn't sound like an appropriately professional pathway for handling inadequate performance, to me (but it sounds a lot less clinical and a lot more fun).

 

Singing is great, but you may hit a died-in-the-wool non-singer who would rather die of embarrassment than make any noise. Perhaps they could be induced to hum?

 

 

Or be the rhythm section and clap.


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#9 Saxwarbler

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 21:31

Saxwarbler, I'm very impressed! I suspect the HR people where I work would have forty fits if we had humungous Y-fronts of shame. Doesn't sound like an appropriately professional pathway for handling inadequate performance, to me (but it sounds a lot less clinical and a lot more fun).

We're lucky enough to be based at a depot some distance away from HQ and being a parks/trees department means we have a distinct absence of corporate types. I think the boss recognises that work can be boring to the point of madness sometimes, so there's always something on the go. The latest things were having to wear the pants if you failed on what you were giving up for lent, and also using the lent period to learn a list of facts of your choice and then be tested on them (with the pants again if you got it wrong). I don't do lent so I didn't take part, but the others were learning stuff like kings and queens, the table of elements and star constellations.


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#10 AnnC

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 07:42

My choir does Swing low, I'm gonna sing, Oh when the saints and She'll be coming round the mountain as a tension reliever.


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