There are numerous variations in the ways that community choirs take attendance during rehearsal. Though the specifics vary widely, I've noticed they seem to fall into one of two categories I will refer to as The Accurate Way and The Easy Way.
The Accurate Way
The Accurate Way of taking attendance refers to any method where the attendance-takers mark singers as present after actually seeing them at rehearsal. Some examples:
- Scanning the singers during rehearsal and checking off their names.
- Standing at the door at the beginning of rehearsal and checking off names as singers enter.
- Standing at the door and using a scanner to scan bar codes on each singer's nametag (see my earlier post about tracking attendance for more info).
The common thread is that attendance-takers actually see each singer before marking their name.
The Easy Way
In contrast, The Easy Way of taking attendance refers to any method that relies on self-reporting. Examples include:
- Passing around a sign-in sheet.
- Looking at unclaimed nametags each week to determine who was absent.
You may be wondering, can't The Easy Way also be accurate? It can in theory, but it's not guaranteed to be, for reasons I'm sure you can imagine.
The Right Way
To be clear, I don't think that either The Accurate Way or The Easy Way is necessarily The Right Way. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
My main recommendation is that your chorus should make an informed decision based on your organization's objectives. If your artistic staff uses attendance to help ensure that all singers are "concert ready," do not go the easy route. If your chorus is more loosey-goosey about their attendance policies, then by all means save yourself some time and energy.
What about you? Does your chorus use The Accurate Way or The Easy Way? And why did you make that choice? Share your experience in the comments below!