We talk a lot about trust in our rehearsals, at our camps and on our tours. Trust is a powerful word with many connotations. Building trust in the rehearsal process requires a balance of both confidence and vulnerability with not only me . . . but with the boys in my care. It requires a personal connection with every chorister. They must believe that their input is highly regarded and valued.
The boys need to be in a safe environment where they trust me and their peers. They must believe that I am well prepared and competent to be their director. I must earn the respect of each boy each time I stand in front of them and ask them to sing. They must trust the fact that I have control of our rehearsal regarding behavior and respect. And they must believe I have the vision for the musical outcome and a well thought out plan on how to get there. Will the end justify the means? Is there an environment where the boys are not afraid to make a mistake or try a new concept?
The need for trust arises from our interdependence with each other. And trust requires an open display of vulnerability from the person in charge of the rehearsal. Trust requires that I allow myself to be vulnerable and to listen to all the boys . . . to have a willingness to give them the ownership of making beautiful and satisfying music. Trust is a peculiar resource; it is built rather than depleted by it’s use.
One needs to be honest with their mistakes, quickly admitting and even laughing when they are discovered. When I make a mistake, the boys usually know it and I admit it quickly. When I am immediately honest and model a little humility for the boys, trust grows exponentially. They learn they can immediately admit their own mistakes too. I can not expect the boys to forgive me if they feel I can’t or won’t forgive them. Making mistakes is how we learn to be successful!
My hope is that by doing all of this that the boys will learn the skill it takes to make decisions in life.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.”