Group Singing…And The Top 10 Excuses I’ve Been Given For NOT Joining The Choir
Choir season is starting up this month and I couldn’t be more excited. As someone who’s been a lifelong choir member, I can assure you that singing with others provides benefits that go far beyond simply making music for enjoyment. Studies show that choral singing improves your mood and offers a decrease in stress and anxiety (these effects are often attributed to the deeper breathing associated with singing – similar to the breathing used in meditation). Singing in a group offers you a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself – it helps us feel needed in the larger community. Group music making results in measurable changes in the brain that positively impact our ability to heal after illnesses. The heightened emotions that come from making music together produces an enhanced sense of altruism; perhaps as we join with others to create an experience of great beauty, we diminish any sense of inadequacy while augmenting our connection to all in a way that is self-affirming.
I recently read a study that reported only 33% of Americans described themselves as ‘happy.’ A full 40% said they ‘rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes they enjoy.’ Let’s turn those numbers around and get connected through group singing! And if you’re STILL not sure, or If you find yourself saying the following things, I can assure you you’re not alone. Here are some of the top reasons I hear for not joining choir…and my sincerest of replies.
10. “I can’t read music.” First of all, reading music is not a requirement. I know how to teach you your part without you being able to read music. You can also use a recording device, practice with another choir member, or come early to practice for assistance. There are many creative solutions. PLUS: You’ll actually begin to learn how to make sense of the music in front of you during rehearsals. I’m all about working with well-rounded musicians.
9. “I’m scared of auditions.” This one is easy. There are no auditions. Everyone is welcome.
8. “I can’t get to rehearsal every week.” While it’s important to have a sense of commitment, allowances are made for real life.
7. “I’ve never sung anywhere but in the shower.” This is just like singing in the shower – except there’s no water, you’re wearing clothes, and you’re not alone. Fear of being in front of a crowd is greatly reduced by being one of many. There is no individual pressure.
6. “I have enough friends.” There are no friends in the world like choir friends. It’s really, really hard to sing next to someone and not develop a bond. Choir is also a great place to network; while it may not be your primary reason for joining a choir, you do end up meeting a lot of different people.
5. “I need to watch football.” Choir rehearsal is on Wednesdays, not Mondays.
4. “I’m not a church member.” Membership is not a requirement. Contributing to the music of the community makes you a much appreciated ‘friend.’
3. “I don’t know what part I sing.” I know and I’ll tell you.
2. “My work life consumes me.” Everyone needs to have fun once in a while. On choir nights, you will have no choice but to leave work behind. There’s no time to sit and worry about that big meeting the next day or ruminate about how that snarky co-worker ruined your afternoon. Group singing creates a true escape from the outside world, giving participants something on which to focus 100% of their mind.
1. “The filling in my tooth receives messages from outer space when I sing in harmony.” No problem! The sanctuary has been retrofitted with an intergalactic interceptor shield.
(An added bonus of singing in the choir is that on Sundays you’ll get to sit in a location where the sun ISN’T in your eyes!)
Please reach out if you have any questions. Choir rehearsal starts on Wednesday, September 4th in the UG sanctuary from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm and we’ll be singing two to three Sundays per month.