5 Things Choir Has Taught Me

I have been a choir singer for nearly 15 years. Currently, I sing in the Academic Choral Society here at the University of Helsinki, but throughout the years, I have been part of several choirs of varying sizes, to the point where it has become an indelible part of my identity. What is it about choir that makes it worthwhile?

  1. 1. Meeting lots of people

    The social aspect of being part of a choir is one of the most obvious, and definitely rewarding. Through choir, I have met people of all ages, from all walks of life, and probably a dozen or more different nationalities. Choir singing is an excellent way to boost one's social circle!

  2. 2. Getting out of my comfort zone

    Through choir, I have been able to build my confidence. While it is fun to sing well-known pieces, I have also been able to discover a whole range of styles and composers that I would not have come across otherwise. Challenges need not be scary, and the best part is that everyone is usually on the same boat trying to come to terms with a particularly difficult piece or passage.

  3. 3. Responsibility

    The smaller the choir, the bigger the responsibility (although this doesn’t mean coasting in a large choir is okay). As a choir singer, you’re expected to pull your weight as part of a larger whole. And the actual choir rehearsal is only part of the deal: the only way to truly master a piece is by studying it, practicing it at home, or listening to a recording in your own time.

  4. 4. Being humble

    In choir, life is not about standing out. Having to let go of a much-coveted solo due to illness is nobody’s favorite thing, but learning that life does go on afterward is an extremely valuable lesson.

  5. 5. Listening

    In choir, listening is almost as important as singing. One must listen to the conductor, to other people’s opinions on how something should be sung, to the way other people sound, to musical cues from other voices, to the way our own voice fits into the rest… Singing in a choir is all about being present and aware.

Research shows that choir singing is known to improve health and happiness: learning music exercises our brains (for instance, by having to memorize songs). The best part is that there are choirs out there that cater to all levels of ability: from the super-exclusive a capella groups to community choirs with no audition or real prior experience required. If you like singing, don't think about it any longer -- join a choir!

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