Look up and sing!
Have you noticed that it is becoming more and more common for people to be out in public but in their own little worlds? Whether they are walking, sitting on a train, drinking coffee at a café or just out and about, it is now almost inevitable that a phone will be the focus. Several colleagues in recent times have also raised this issue and it is a concern. Indeed, there is much media coverage about this very issue while parents and teachers I’m sure have been concerned about this for a while.
Why do I mention this? Because I think singing in a choir is the perfect antidote to the growing addiction to screens! Don’t get me wrong. There are many positive attributes to modern technology and phones can be a choral conductor’s friend in many ways: choristers can record parts
of rehearsals to aid them in their practice between rehearsals, practice parts can be easily accessed via the phone, a plethora of support and background material can be quickly sourced via the phone. But, as a typical teenager may ask, why should I sing instead of spending time looking at my phone?
They can discover something about themselves
Singing is a wonderful way for people of all ages to express themselves and to explore feelings that might otherwise be disregarded. It is the musical instrument that everyone carries around with them and so singing in a choir is a free and user-friendly way of finding the “musician-within”. It’s all very well listening to music on a phone but how much better is it to make music!
They can discover something about others
Singing in a choir is a social experience, even a social experiment. People from all walks of life and with a variety of previous experiences can come together to form one large, breathing, ever-changing, easily-manipulated and vibrant musical instrument. They must work, listen, react,
communicate, compromise, move, dance and sing TOGETHER. It is the only way a choir will work!
They can discover something about the world
A balanced offering of good music will carry with it a world of lessons about different cultures, situations, people and circumstances. Whether the message is a purely musical one (which can’t help but be positive), makes the singer (and the conductor) think about life in a different way or communicates something about a way of life which is different to our current experience, singing in a choir can educate in a unique and special way. The challenge for us as choral musicians is to ensure our choice of repertoire consistently uplifts and educates those in our care. We need to be the “virus-protectors” for our choirs!
Singing in a choir is good for you
Instead of sitting placidly, singing in a choir is a physical activity. We need to breath properly, stand correctly and use energy when we sing. More importantly, it is good for the mind! There is more and more literature extolling the obvious emotional and mental benefits that flow from singing and from singing with others. It is good for the brain and it is good for the soul.
Singing in a choir is good for others
It brings joy to audiences and performers alike. Choral singing is a vibrant and vital part of the performing arts industry and we must do all we can to promote it. We shouldn’t let our personal preferences for musical style blind us from the benefits of other alternative offerings. It has also been interesting of late to observe choral singing and choirs striving to make a difference in the lives of others by clearly sending a
message (political if you like) to those in authority. Be it about a social issue or a need for change, choirs have a role to play. Let’s continue to explore these possibilities.
ANCA is committed to supporting choral musicians throughout the country as they strive to bring these (and other) benefits to the forefront of our contemporary society. Yes, while there are undoubtedly things to learn and joy to be had in the world of social media and the internet, let’s do all we can to encourage people of all ages to experience even more joy by singing together.
Let’s look up ……………..and SING!
ANCA National President