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Frequently Asked Questions

Answered by Pam Blevins Hinkle
SongSquad, down by the river!

How does singing together work now?

Our sessions are virtual, using the zoom platform.  After a brief check-in plus some voice and body warm ups, Pam or Adam will teach you a song, singing through each part. Lyrics will be available in the chat/or on the screen. You’ll be able to hear the songleader (plus any accompaniment or vocal backing track), and yourself only; zoom doesn’t allow for synchronous singing. Then we’ll all sing together with the vocal back-up recording so you’ll feel like part of a fuller singing ensemble. It’s not the same as singing in person, but it’s still a beautiful source of joy! At the end of the session, the zoom will remain open for an additional 30 minutes to allow for conversation and questions.

What if I can’t sing … OR … someone told me I can’t sing?

l truly believe the Zimbabwe saying: “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.” Furthermore, you are already a spectacular instrument, and the only one of its kind on the planet. Isn’t that amazing? And singing is one of the most satisfying ways that we combine our gifts to make beauty and harmony in the world. SongSquad is a judgement-free environment … so give it a try. Many people have found it empowering to sing with SongSquad and have increased both their confidence and capacity.

What if I can’t read music?

No problem! Our motto is “paperless singing in a perfection-free zone.” All songs are taught by ear, no musical terms are used, and audio files are periodically available for weekly session singers to enhance learning. And the bonus is that if you learn it by heart, you learn it for life.

What kind of music do you sing?

All kinds, from jazzy and bouncy to quiet and reverent. We sing old and new songs from around the world, from simple chants and two-part rounds to three- and four-part harmony songs from a variety of cultures and traditions. Check out the Learn Songs page.

What happens at a typical, in-person singing session?

We start with simple warm-ups for voice and body and we begin with fun and easy songs. We do this in a circle;  some people stand, some sit, depending on their mood, energy, and/or ability (let us know if you need special accommodations). Melodies, harmonies, and lyrics are taught by ear by the two song leaders (Pam and Adam or special guests). After a mid-session break to enjoy ginger tea and home-made cookies, we learn more songs from around the world to celebrate being alive and to connect more deeply with other human beings who believe in the power of singing. You’ll learn to “carry” these songs … a kind of bone-knowing you can draw upon throughout your life.

Is it ok for a woman to sing bass or a man to sing soprano?

Yes! We have gender-neutral sections called nightingales (sopranos), otters (altos), starfish (tenors), and rhinos (bass). (These names were chosen by the singers and are subject to spontaneous renewal or revision!) Singers choose what section to sing in … and you can change your mind at any time. Experienced singers enjoy the challenge of learning multiple parts.

Does SongSquad perform?

We get invited to appear at various events and happenings around town … and look forward to this again in post-pandemic times. Past events have included Mayor’s Lunch for Indy Parks, Spirit & Place’s Civic Saturday events, Indy Parks Pack the Parks event, Earth Day Festival, Indy Festival of Faiths, March for Our Lives, and more. Our vibe is always about participation, so our goal is to get EVERYONE singing with us as much as possible!

Money Matters

  • Multi-Week Sessions:
    • Sliding Scale Structure.  We want you to sing with us, and no one will be turned away. We offer a sliding scale because it creates more equity and access, and mirrors our commitment to economic justice. It also requires greater trust and accountability from everyone. To quote ridefreefearlessmoney.com, it invites “each of us to take inventory of our financial resources and look deeper at our levels of privilege.” For help determining your payment level, please refer to this graphic, created by Worts & Cunning Apothecary. Use this to make an honest self-assessment of your ability to pay. There are no proofs or paperwork required. Don’t stress about it; pay what feels right to you (including no payment at all). If you have a service you’d like to offer in exchange, we’re happy to discuss that (but we’re really not interested in extracting free labor).
    • How do I pay? Make payment to paypal.me/songsquadindy by the second class session. Payment plans available.
  • How are my fees used? SongSquad expenses include guest artist feest, t-shirts, website maintenance, purchase of music and songbooks (for song leaders), social media ads and print materials, and song/repertoire collection activities such as attendance at Village Fire and other choral conferences, and relationship development in various communities. Beyond these customary items, SongSquad is making these additional financial commitments for the coming year:
    • SongSquad supports the Indy Justice Choir.
    • 10% of SongSquad income will support marginalized artists in the Indianapolis area. This may be direct artist support or sponsorship of events. Please direct inquiries or suggestions to pbhinkle@gmail.com.
    • SongSquad hopes to co-commission new music. For example, SongSquad was part of the Trans Chorus of LA Rainbow Trans Ally Consortium that commissioned a new work by composer Michael Bussewitz-Quarm. The work will be voiced in multiple ways, including a SongSquad-style version. This is a great way for us to make a meaningful contribution to the larger community-based singing world.
    • Co-leaders will receive modest stipends for their time; they’ve been doing the work largely without compensation and both invest significant time.

Got more questions? Contact us!