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The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Choral Caffeine: STRESSED? WHO'S STRESSED!?

“You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace. Passive.”  ~ Yoda
 
Are you at peace? Or are you tearing through your days in a caffeine-fueled frenzy of tense rehearsals, clipped conversations, and ever-increasing piles on your desk?
 
Many choral conductors are by nature tightly focused individuals driven to ever-higher levels of artistic accomplishment.  But have you ever wondered what those bulging veins in your forehead are saying to the singers in front of you?  Paul Aitken has given this matter some thought.  In his article, Coping with Stress in the Music Ministry (Northwest ACDA Notes), he lists several ways to lower your stress level, and improve your life.  Here are just two of those suggestions:
 
Put limitations on your professional schedule. It seems that each and every week, I am asked to do more and more work outside of my job. There are enticing offers, but the reality is that there are only so many hours in the week. Learn to say “no.” People will respect you more if you decline an opportunity rather than accepting it and performing a less-than-adequate job. For most of us, doing lack-luster professional work is stressful, and we don’t like that feeling.
 
Spend time with family and friends. The reality is that quality time spent with family and friends is a great way to relieve stress. Take your children to a movie. Go on dates. Communicate often with your spouse or significant other.
 
We all need to achieve a better balance. Yes, even you, Super Conductor.
 
(For additional articles on a dazzling array of choral topics, visit ChorTeach.)