Te Kotahitanga
Manu Reo o Aotearoa

Young Person's Guide to Starting a Choir

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This resource was written with young choral practitioners in mind but is applicable for anyone who wants to start a choir. 
It was written as part of the “Singing for Lifelong Wellbeing” project, funded through a grant from ManatÅ« Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage.

Young Person's Guide to Starting a Choir
Initial questions → Planning and research → Setting up officially → Running a choir → Administrator's Toolkit → Financial matters → Funding applications → Other resources

Planning and research

Select a name for your choir
Choose your structure
Rules of the choir and its members
  • Work out the rules by which you want to operate. You may want to include some of these rules in your constitution or your trust deed, and you may want to have others as a working document to share with members.
  • Research the constitutions of choirs similar to the one you want to set up. You can search constitutions and trust deeds of organisations on the Incorporated Societies Register and the Charities Register.
Basic operational planning
  • Do you have some seeding money?
  • Decide on your financial year – your balance date/financial year needs to be included in your application for incorporation.
  • Are you going to charge a membership fee or ask for a bond?
  • How are you going to market the choir and recruit singers?
Develop your brand
  • Design a logo.
  • Set up your website and social media channels.
  • Start a mailing list and let people know about your plans.
  • Start to recruit.



  • For start-up purposes, you need a budget that includes:
    • start-up costs (fee for incorporation etc)
    • regular operational costs
    • any workshops or concerts you plan to hold in your first year of operation.
  • Be realistic and honest with the costs. It is wise to underestimate your income/revenue and overestimate your expenses

Items to consider including in your budget:

Membership fees $? x ? membersHonoraria for MD & pianist
Joining fees or bondsRehearsal venue
DonationsMusic hire/copying
GrantsAdmin costs
Concert IncomeConcert expenses inc soloists, venue
InterestWebsite/marketing etc
 Contingency 10%

Depending on the nature of your choir, you might want to have all or some of the following systems and documents ready when you start:

  • audition process and associated documentation
  • invoicing and receipting systems for choir fees
  • a code of conduct

Signing your choir up as a member of NZCF gives you access to APRA and Insurance benefits. And take a look at the Administrator’s Toolkit for other useful things you will eventually need.

NEXT: Setting up officially and starting rehearsals