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Sing While You Work!

Posted on Sep 19, 2012 by Hannah Roche  | 0 Comments

Yesterday I experienced something new – singing live on a radio show to countless listeners across Scotland and beyond.  No, I haven’t decided to advise on employment law in the medium of song (as entertaining as that would be!) – rather I was taking part in an item on the MacAulay & Co. Show on Radio Scotland about choirs in the workplace.  Choirs in general have soared in popularity in recent years due partly, to no small extent, to the efforts of Gareth Malone, the TV celebrity Choir Master.  After the success of the Military Wives Choir, Gareth has now embarked on a campaign to have us all singing while we work.  His new programme called, funnily enough, “Sing While you Work” (starting tonight, Thursday 20 September at 9 p.m., BBC 2) sees Gareth setting up choirs in all sorts of workplaces including hospitals and airports. 

You may wonder what all this has to do with me... No, MBM Commercial has not set up a workplace choir (though never say never!) but in my spare time I am a member of the Lothian and Borders Police Choir, which allows non-police people to join.  And I have to say that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  We’re now 120 in number and have sung at numerous weddings, balls, concerts etc, the highlight being representing Scotland by singing in New York last year in the ten year commemorations of 9/11.  Not only does it offer the chance of a good sing and great musicianship but also new experiences, travel and friendship.  It also boosts morale and confidence.  Most of all it’s great fun. 

These are some of the reasons why creating a workplace choir is a good idea.  In addition, colleagues build better and closer relationships which improve communication, team spirit is increased and stress and tension are relieved.  If the trailers for Gareth’s new programme are to be believed, workplace choirs also break down barriers between managers and reports.  Less us and them, more us and us. 

Of course, a workplace choir isn’t suitable for every workplace and even for those where it is suitable there are all sorts of considerations: where to find a Choir Master, where and when to practise, how to ensure that the business of the employer isn’t compromised etc.  But, as an on-going bonding experience, a workplace choir should be considered.    As an employment lawyer, my experience is that most employer/employee disputes (or indeed employee/employee disputes) arise because of poor communication so anything that aids the lines of communication has to be a good thing.  However, the most important thing from my point of view is that singing is fun – and given that most of us work long hours over many years, we need a little fun in the workplace now and again. 

To hear the Police Choir on the Radio Show visit this link.  The webpage also includes links to guidance on how to set up a workplace choir.  Meantime, if you have any questions or comments on choirs in the workplace, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Thanks for reading – I’m off to find out if Sandy Finlayson will make a good Tenor!

Hannah

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