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Choral Scholarship

(9 Posts)
roisin Fri 08-Sep-17 21:04:04

Hi!
Does anyone have any hints/tips for a student about to become a choral scholar at Oxbridge College?
How to keep organised and get everything done?
How to balance getting to know other freshers against the temptation just to socialise with the choir?
etc.

OP’s posts: |
fiddlesticks99 Fri 08-Sep-17 22:22:42

Congratulations to your child. What an exciting time ahead.

My impression from my choir child is that being a choral scholar is great - it gives structure to the week and rather than tempting you to socialise only with the choir, it tends to give you more than one set of friends - choir friends, and college/other friends. However, in the beginning especially, it is very nice to have the choir as a secure group.

How much time commitment does your scholar have ?

For organisation I think it depends how much choir is being expected - for the 6 service a week choirs the pressure is considerable. For those doing three or four services a week it is far more manageable. My impression is that it does add a degree of pressure and it is important to be careful with your diary as a lot of planning is done months ahead and double booking is greatly frowned on.

However I would say that the rewards make it well worth it.

Services are a good time for contemplation, and give you a moment apart from the rush of college life. Also singing at such a high standard is rewarding in itself. And there are often other benefits - tours to exciting places, and the odd free meal don't go amiss.

My biggest tip would be to use a diary. And your phone calendar. And reminders.

Also, if they are a cassock wearing choir that has a sensible shoe requirement, buy a pair of choir regulation satisfying shoes that get stored in the chapel. Then running in from sport in trainers doesn't matter ! The cassock covers up the sports kit and only the very proper shoes show at the bottom.

My other tip, for the parents, would be to go to services if you can. Being a choral scholar is hard work and it is nice if people come to hear you. Unless DC are singing in one of the more famous choirs they are likely to be often singing to very small congregations. (Obviously if it is Magdalen, Kings, Trinity etc that is nor really a problem !)

I am sure there are better tips out there !

Helenluvsrob Fri 08-Sep-17 22:31:23

Agree shoes in the vestry - and if it's shirt wearing male singer a shirt too.

Services may be good time for contemplation but your standard weekday evensong is not - no sermon means straight through and done in 40mins on average.

My older 2 were choral scholars and the youngest is starting soon- not oxbridge though.

How did they fit it in ? Dunno. They are long term " busy people" having been cathedral choristers ( in a cathedral without a choir school , so significant travel too) and I think they just carried in as usual. Certainly the girls sang till 18 so have only had a few weeks " off ".

Again they don't seem to have any issue balancing choir and general social life. Though the choir was more of a " choir family" with non choral scholar adults too.

Choral scholarships are amazing opportunities. Hope your DC enjoys it.

roisin Fri 08-Sep-17 22:43:22

Thanks. He is used to a very busy life with many commitments, so I'm sure he'll be fine juggling balls.

It's one of the better choirs, so he is very excited about a fabulous year ahead with incredible international tours, UK concerts and recording sessions. Fortunately, they 'only' sing three services most weeks, as his academic course is a high time commitment too.

Exciting times!

OP’s posts: |
fiddlesticks99 Sat 09-Sep-17 09:04:58

Helenluvsrob is right - they have generally been busy children all the way through school, so it is just carry on as normal. And the good thing is that all the choristers are the same - all trying to cram as much in as possible.

Tours, concerts and recordings are excellent and three services a week (plus rehearsals normally) are just fine. Mine continued to be even busier and added lots on top of the choral commitment. There are endless opportunities for good singers in Oxford and Cambridge. So again, the clash of commitments is the biggest problem.

DC also wanted to do a lot of sport and managed to squeeze a good deal into the day.

And surprisingly academic studies seem to have gone fine too.

Services are at a funny time in the day when most people won't be doing a lot - squeezed into that hour before supper. So again the impact is lower than expected.

I think the main thing my DC found odd is the fact that some people at university aren't rushing from place to place trying to cram as much in as possible !

The travel has been phenomenal !

It seems to me to be a wonderful bonus to already lovely university years. So much opportunity. And so much music. One of mine is still there, and getting an awful lot from singing for her supper.

As you say, exciting times.

Fifthtimelucky Sat 09-Sep-17 16:02:58

My daughter is just about to go into in her 3rd year as an Oxbridge chorister. It has been a brilliant experience. She is probably not typical as she does not sing at her own college so it has given her a whole separate set of friends from her normal college ones. It has also given her friends from different years, including post-grads that she would not have had otherwise, and some great trips.

My only tip is not to try to do too much else. I get the impression that there is time to study, socialise and do one serious extra-curricular activity, but that it is hard to fit in more than that. My daughter sings 3 services a week as well as having many concerts. In her first year she also played in the main university orchestra. Unfortunately their rehearsal evening was the same as one of the evensong days. So she rehearsed and then sang with the choir, and instead of going to eat with the rest of the choir, had to rush back to her own college to collect her instrument and then get to a 3rd college for an orchestral rehearsal, finally getting home at about 10pm. Although I was sorry she gave up orchestra in her second year, it was probably the right decision.

roisin Sat 09-Sep-17 18:01:37

Thanks. Fortunately he doesn't play an orchestral instrument, so won't get dragged into all manner of music stuff going on! His choir 'rules' are pretty full-on and include permission from the DoM to sing anywhere else; I suspect they have had issues in the past with students doing too much - either for their voice, or to keep on top of their studies. I think/hope he will hold back from anything else until he's done at least a term and got on top of his academic work too. He also has a girlfriend (3 yrs now) going to a London Uni and they are hoping to be able to see each other a couple of times a month: so that's another thing to juggle. His new choir has a big international tour in December and he will barely be home in time for Christmas; so loads of music to master! Fortunately he has covered much of the repertoire previously, but not necessarily in his current voice part. Over the course of the last 7 years of singing he has sung all four voice parts!)

OP’s posts: |
Fifthtimelucky Sat 09-Sep-17 19:15:31

How exciting!

Don't think mine needs permission to sing elsewhere, but she is not allowed to miss any choir event to sing anywhere else, and if she wants to miss for any other reason she has to supply a suitable replacement (so worth getting to know those in other choirs who have services on different days)!

I do hope your son enjoys his time. My daughter is already sad that this will be her final year.

Forester78 Tue 12-Sep-17 13:18:20

Many congrats.

I was lucky enough to do this. The best advice I could give is to do one other extra curricular activity - ideally a sporty one, even at 2nd or 3rd XI level - which gives you a slightly different group of friends and gets you out into the fresh air. Otherwise there can be a risk of 'cabin fever'.

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