Leadership through mentoring is a core part of the Cantiamo experience.
Our Artistic Director and Accompanist serve as mentors to the girls but the girls also mentor each other each week in rehearsal. Unlike many choirs, our rehearsals are collaborative and collegial and the thoughts and comments of the director, accompanist and chorister are encouraged and valued. We all contribute and learn with and from each other. This fosters active listening and engagement and encourages development of critical listening and thoughtful communication – all important leadership skills.
Some of the Cantiamo girls choose to gain leadership experience by coming to the Training Choir rehearsals to mentor our young singers. This experience benefits the Training Choir members by allowing them to hear, right beside them, the more mature voices of the mentors so that they know the kind of sound they are working to achieve in their own singing. The mentors also help assist with score reading and musical literacy. The mentors themselves benefit from experiencing a different perspective from inside the choir. They learn to listen critically, diagnose issues, and come up with strategies to offer support to the less experienced singers. The mentors are familiar with performance skills and can demonstrate this to the TC with calm confidence and poise.
Some more advanced mentors are allowed conducting and accompaniment opportunities as well. This experience is a significant eye opener for the brave girls that take on this challenge! This is invaluable experience for the apprentices and also for the Training Choir choristers. It is good for everyone when we demonstrate that we all are willing to try new things and learn and that we all support each other in this learning.
The mentoring also extends outside of our own Cantiamo community and involves our three part educational outreach program – teacher workshops, school visits and Music Monday.