Leading a Children’s Choir: How to Maintain High Morale and Engagement

Alison Cole Jul 08, 2019

Learn more: member management, artistic development, singer retention, youth choirs


children singing

Leading a children’s choir is different from leading an adult choir. The key ask being: how do you keep kids, who are readily distracted and easily lose interest, engaged and motivated in doing repetitive rehearsals? If you don’t want to bribe the singers to practice, as Andrew Swinney’s parents had to, then follow these leadership tips.


Improve Teamwork

Harmony happens when two or more different notes combine to produce a sound that is much more than an individual note. Having your choir in harmony not only in sound but also in how they work together is essential in keeping kids engaged. Chron emphasizes that team building activities are an effective way to increase motivation. Kids value friendship and camaraderie so giving them opportunities to work together outside their designated choir positions can strengthen teamwork.

In Maryville University’s long form post on organizational leadership they explain how collaboration is a vital part of success no matter the organization. This is why a choir director must be more than just a singing instructor; they must know how to lead in order to get the choir working together. Strong bonds between children gives them extra inspiration to work harder and become more engaged.

Personalize Feedback

Remember that leading a children’s choir is akin to parenting. Nurturing their talent and personal development inspires them to strive to perform better. Meaningful one-on-one conversations and feedback can go a long way in showing how they have grown. Be as personal as you can. This way, they feel rewarded and special for doing their best in the choir.

Fast Company explains that children must drive the talent train with passion and hard work while we can only keep the train on track. Paying attention and addressing them with tailored feedback can improve choir cohesion and greatly improve a child’s drive. As kids can easily copy distracted behavior or demotivated singing, you should also be conscious of paying attention to less enthusiastic kids and work with them to find ways to increase motivation.You can also involve their parents in feedback sessions to foster continuity at home.

Delegate Responsibilities

Total Choir Resources notes that handing off some activities to the choir members might help promote ownership within the choir. Kids who are challenged to be involved more are usually the most motivated. Rewards and punishment do not shape a child’s motivation – responsibilities do. By involving them in tasks they can do or that challenge them, they grow more confident and engaged in the work they’re doing. Self-motivation is a powerful tool that should be honed at a young age and a children’s choir is a good place to start learning this skill.

Select Engaging Repertoire

Engaging repertoire means playing to the strengths of the members while challenging them to develop their talents further. An intimidating choice can dampen a young choir’s drive to attend or be mindful in participating.This is why you need to mix it up. Continue to complete simple and familiar pieces while also introducing new and progressively challenging songs. This way, you can pique their interest and boost their confidence at the same time. On the other hand, children’s vocals are very malleable so try challenging them with dissimilar roles and ranges.

Consequently, try and perform as often as possible in different venues. Nothing motivates young people more than an adventure.

Lastly, always have fun!


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Alison Cole

Alison Cole has loved music her entire life. When she was young she was part of a choir. When she has free time she can be found volunteering with a local kids’ choir. Her primary role is helping with the administrative functions, but she tries to assist and join in as often as possible. She also likes to take part in plays.

Alison Cole