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It’s amazing to think how much we currently rely on a piece of software that most of us didn’t even know existed a year ago.

We are, of course, talking about Zoom.

In April 2020, there were 300 million people in Zoom meetings each day, compared to 10 million before the pandemic.

Its rise is meteoric. And it’s clear why. Zoom has connected us with those we love, and allowed many to continue to work and learn throughout the pandemic. There is no doubt that without it and other software such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Facetime, etc., this last year would have been much, much harder.

But there is one downside, (and it isn’t only that we didn’t buy shares in the company back in January 2020!); We are now dealing with the fall out of so much time on screen, a phenomenon that has been nicknamed – ‘Zoom fatigue’.


Most of us now spend much of our day online for work, homeschooling, and to socialise with family and friends. As a result, many have reported sometimes feeling like they can’t face joining in with any more Zoom meet-ups. And when you combine all the time online with a lack of boundaries between work and home life, you can begin to see why.

But you know that singing is such an important activity to help de-stress, connect with others, and boost health. And you love your virtual choir sessions! You don’t want to miss out on your singing time.

Luckily, we can help. We’ve gathered together the latest advice so you can get all the benefits of virtual choir without Zoom fatigue ruining your fun.

So whether you’re feeling the screen strain, or you just want to make sure it doesn’t rear its ugly head – follow these simple steps to make sure your virtual choir practice leaves you feeling happy & refreshed.



Step 1: Set Physical Boundaries


Scientific studies have proven that multitasking can be tiring on the brain. And while you might think you’re only focusing on one thing during your virtual choir practice, it’s surprising how much your brain is processing.

Email notifications popping up in the corner of your vision. The Zoom chat feature buzzing away. The kids requesting more snacks. Phone calls. These are all things that you wouldn’t be dealing with in a normal choir rehearsal, and the resulting multi-tasking can be draining.

Choir practice is usually your time to switch off from life’s distractions. To focus on one thing. But fear not – by setting some boundaries and limiting distractions (Step 2), you can reclaim the positive mindful effects of choir practice.


– Book your room

Going to choir practice used to mean going somewhere other than your living room, spare room, or even garage. When you were in another building or town, no one could interrupt to ask what’s for dinner or to ask you to find their socks. Blissful ‘you time’.

Try to recreate this by booking a particular room in your house each time each week. Talk to anyone you’re sharing your house with and ask that nobody calls on you for anything during that time. Just as they wouldn’t have been able to while you were in choir practice before.

Also, ask them to keep the noise down during your rehearsal. Explain that this can work both ways for when they have a meeting too. Perhaps they could take the dog for a walk – if barking is an issue. Or the children – if they’re prone to barking too…


– Turn your phone off

I know the world feels apocalyptic right now, but ask yourself – will much change in the next hour?

You wouldn’t look at your phone in a choir rehearsal for fear of the wrath of your director – so why should you here? If the temptation is too much, try leaving it in another room. Or with someone else in your house, under strict instructions to not let you have it back until after your rehearsal!

If you are waiting on important news, ask somebody else to watch your phone for you. Give them permission to interrupt you if the all-important call comes through. That way you won’t be constantly checking your phone in a hyper-anxious state all rehearsal.


You wouldn’t look at your phone in a choir rehearsal for fear of the wrath of your director – so why should you here?


– Let the home phone ring

Do you worry about not being able to receive home phone calls while you’re out normally? If not, why should you now? Pretend you’re out, and let the answering machine do its job. Or ask someone else in the house to take a message.

If you’re feeling extra brave, take it off the hook. Pretend as if you’re on another call (which you are – with choir). Whoever is calling can get hold of you after rehearsal.



Step 2: Limit Digital Distractions


– Turn off ‘self-view’

Seeing that little square of yourself can make you feel extra conscious of how you look and what you’re doing, which all adds to the mental distraction. Turn off self-view and it’ll feel like you’re just looking at the conductor in a rehearsal room. Not sure how to do this? Follow this simple guide.


– Turn off Gallery view when possible

Just like with self-view, think about when you need to be seeing everyone else.

Of course, one of the benefits of virtual choir is to enjoy a good catch-up with friends! But when you need to focus on the leader, seeing everyone else on screen can split your concentration. This causes what psychologists call continuous partial attention, which can in turn lead to Zoom fatigue.

So switch to speaker view where you can and enjoy the benefits of focusing on one thing. You can always switch back to gallery view in the break, and to say hello and goodbye. That way it mimics a normal choir rehearsal.


– Turn your emails and notifications off on the device you are using

There is nothing more distracting than an email from your boss popping up in the corner of the screen while you are trying to de-stress from work!

As with your phone – you wouldn’t be able to check your email in a normal choir practice, so why now? Set an Out of Office reply if you like, but more importantly – stop those notifications! Even if you’re not replying to them, just seeing them pop-up can split your focus and tire you out.


There is nothing more distracting than an email from your boss popping up in the corner of the screen while you are trying to de-stress from work!


– Turn off the chat feature.

You would get in trouble if you were chatting in rehearsal so why not here? Click here to find out how.



Step 3: Limit connectivity issues


When you’re singing your heart out, a screen freeze can take you out of the moment. Which is extremely frustrating.

Constantly battling with a dodgy connection can be exhausting, and this could lead to Zoom fatigue.

If your connection isn’t the strongest, try to limit the dreaded freeze with the following tips.


Constantly battling with a dodgy connection can be exhausting, and this could lead to Zoom fatigue.


– Stay close to the router

Try and stay as close to your router as possible. Consider this when you’re choosing which room is going to be your choir rehearsal space.


– Book your internet time

If possible, ask other people in your house to not stream or upload while you have a rehearsal. As with booking your room you can take it in turns. You may find they find this useful when they have an important meeting or class.


– Boost, boost, boost

If you can’t get closer to the router, and everyone needs to be online at once, try a Wi-Fi booster. They work by extending your existing Wi-Fi range further from the router, so you can still get connected when you’re a few rooms away.

Some boosters can also increase the load your network can take at once, so you can have work, school, and choir going at once!


– Treat yourself and upgrade

If all else fails, you could consider upgrading to a faster connection. It may be a little more money per month, but you will feel the benefit long after the pandemic is over. And if you shop around for a deal, you may be surprised!



Step 4: Turn your brightness down


Prolonged time looking at a screen can tire your eyes, getting in the way of you enjoying your rehearsal, and add to Zoom fatigue.


– Ration the brightness

Do you need to have the brightness up full while you’re learning your part via audio, for instance? You can turn it up again when you need, and for the catch-up and break, but give your eyes a break wherever you can.


– Put out the blue light

Try installing a blue light remover app onto your device. These work to reduce the blue light intensity, which is the most tiring part of the light spectrum for our eyes.



Step 5: Limit screen time (as much as possible)


We are using our screens for everything right now, so this may feel like a tall order. But some small changes can keep screen fatigue at bay and keep you fresh for your choir rehearsal.


– Spread it out

Make sure to not schedule a full day of meetings, three family catch-ups, and Quarantini hour with friends all on choir practice day. Try and spread your meetings throughout the week and book any heavy social time for another evening.


Try and spread your meetings throughout the week and book any heavy social time for another evening.


– Less scrolling on choir day

If you know you’re going to be on Zoom for a choir session later, try to spend less time on your phone and laptop, or watching TV that day. Read a book instead if you have time to fill, or do something with your hands, like baking or gardening.


– Take a micro-break

If you have to spend the rest of your day on a screen for work then try and take a walk around the block just before rehearsal.

And if all else fails, spend 30 seconds looking out of the window before you join the session. Try to focus on the point farthest away from you – the horizon if you can see it – to stretch your eye muscles after a day at the screen.

Even a moment away from your screen, watching a bird, or a tree swaying in the breeze, will help you close the door on work and start your rehearsal feeling more refreshed and ready to enjoy all the wonderful benefits choir brings.



We love to hear your thoughts

Let us know in the comments how these tips work for you. And if you have any questions about something we’ve not covered – just ask!

We can’t wait to see you in a Stay at Home Choir practice soon! See what projects are coming up.

Read: Benefits of Joining a Choir during the Pandemic (Yes – even a Virtual Choir!)

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