Church Choir Survey

January 21, 2010 - By 
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Being an effective leader involves personal improvement. This is a lesson I have been learning. Sometimes it is necessary for those who oversee you to provide direction. Other times it’s helpful to receive encouragement from your peers. But what about receiving feedback from those who serve under your leadership?

Being a relatively young choir director, I’m constantly seeking ideas that will improve my ministry (though, admittedly, not nearly as much as I should). I recently read an article in which a choir director gave a questionnaire to his choir asking for feedback. That sounded like a good idea, so I came up with my own. Here are the questions I included:

What letter grade (A, B, C, D, or F) would you give to the overall choir experience?

I received mostly A’s and some B’s for this question. Generally, people enjoy our choir ministry, and that’s the way it should be for any ministry. So that was an easy question.

What letter grade (A, B, C, D or F) would you give to the choir director?

Again, another easy question. Even though this was an anonymous survey, the majority were A’s for this question; a little better than the previous question. I’m not sure how valuable this question is (it might be helpful to be more specific), but it is nice to know how your leadership rates in people’s minds.

What Can I do to improve?

Here was a very open ended question which could go in numerous directions. And it did. I received comments from “your doing a great job” and “you can’t improve anything,” to advise on directing patterns and vocal technique. Some comments reflected opinion (“take the songs slower”), some represented humor (“send us on a choir cruise”), and some made me think and evaluate aspects of our ministry (“help us focus on worship”). Good feedback for this one.

Do you like the format of rehearsals? (If not, what would you do differently?)

I was opening myself up for this one. The truth is, I love the format of our rehearsals. But I wanted to see what everyone else thought. If there was a general consensus that things needed to be changed, I wanted to know. The results? Overall, this was the most positive response. The majority of our folks enjoy how the rehearsal is run.

How would you rate the songs we sing (please choose one)?
(1) While there may be some that aren’t my favorites, I generally love the songs we sing.
(2) You’ve chosen a few “clunkers,” but I usually like our song selections.
(3) Truthfully, I only like about half of the songs we sing.

The majority of the folks in our choir chose #1, while a significant number chose #2. In my mind, the correct answer is #2. More than anything, the responses to this question are going to indicate personal opinion. It’s good to know if your group is supportive of your decisions regarding song choice.

I told the choir that there was a fourth option: “I don’t care for most of the songs we sing.” I explained that I left that off because I figured, if that’s the case, they probably wouldn’t be in the choir!

What is your favorite song we sing?

Here I just wanted to learn favorites. I will consider these when I sit down to plan our next music schedule. I received a lot of good ideas.

Do you have any new song suggestions?

I actually received a few good ideas from this question. Again, questions like these will merely reflect personal opinions. I gave no guarantee that we will sing the suggestions; but I will consider some of them.

What one thing should we do to improve the overall choir experience?

This question was worth the entire project. I received such valuable feedback. I like the idea of narrowing it down to “one thing” (although, humorously, some had difficulty sticking to just one thing). I hope to learn the heartbeat of our choir members, and learn what’s important to them.

I have already allowed the results of this survey to affect our choir rehearsal. I’m thankful for the candid feedback, and I anticipate it will lead to some changes toward improvement in the near future.

What questions would you ask your choir members?

Posted In:  Church Music Ministry
10  comments
  • sue mullen

    If you really want some feed back, survery the congregation. Ask them about choir and special music and see what the BALANCE will be.

  • David Lauermann

    Pastor James I just want you to know that I appreciate all you do for us at the church. Thank you for the huge variety of music that we have at he church. I have enjoyed some music more than others but have come to realize that there are so many types of good Christian music out there. I know I give you a hard time about the songs you write but i am just kidding!

  • James

    David: You are a joy to have in choir. I praise the Lord for you and your family!

  • Ruth Burchell

    Thanks so much for allowing us to participate in this survey Pastor James. I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say that I appreciate your willingness to accept feedback and suggestions from us. You are a wonderful music pastor and have done an incredible job at taking Mikado’s music ministry to a whole new level. It has been such a joy to minister at Mikado under your leadership. Thanks for all you do!!

  • James

    Thanks, Ruth! Thankful for you and Dan.

  • http://www.eastsidebaptist.info Mark Martin

    What is the format of your rehearsals?

  • James

    Mark, I take a casual approach to rehearsals. In choir, we typically rehearse well-known songs, introduce a few new songs, then—typically at the half-way point—we’ll rehearse the songs for this coming Sunday. Then rehearse songs for a week away, and then two weeks away. Consistently following this approach keeps us ready for upcoming services. (Although, the apple-cart is upset for special events [Christmas, Easter, Patriotic, etc.] and weeks of revival, etc.)

    We typically close with a 15 minute Bible devotional, and occasionally will take prayer requests or testimonies, if time permits. Does this help?

  • http://www.eastsidebaptist.info Mark Martin

    That does help. Thank you.

  • http://www.eastsidebaptist.info Mark Martin

    Sounds like you fit a lot into your rehearsals. What kind of pace do you keep? Do you spend a longer time on certain songs than others?

  • James

    Well, not everything we do will work for different churches, but we meet each Wed. from 6:45-8:15pm. We’re usually rehearsing music 4-5+ weeks out. This means, well known songs, we typically “run through,” commenting on a thought or point here or there. Newer or more difficult songs obviously require greater amounts of time. We spend the most time on songs for the upcoming services; they need to be as close to “perfect” as possible.