To Sing: An Expression of Love

When I tell people that I usually sing for at least 15 hours a week, they sometimes wonder how I manage to function.  I wonder that sometimes too. I’m a music major, and I’m in four different ensembles, plus weekly voice lessons and sporadic side projects.  Last semester, I had three different performances in one weekend.

This would drive some people crazy.  But for me, it’s what keeps me going.  

Back in high school, the promise of rehearsal for choir and theater was one of the strongest motivators, some days the only one, to get out of bed and go to school in the morning.  The most difficult semester I ever had was the beginning of my sophomore year when my class schedule didn’t allow either one. It didn’t matter that I had more free time after school.  I was miserable. Then I joined the choir and was able to rejoin theatre, and suddenly the world was much brighter.

Now that I’m in college and studying things I deeply care about, it’s a little easier to care about my schoolwork.  But, it can get stressful. I don’t think I could bear that stress without music as my backing. Every day at noon, I sing with the choir, and every night I rehearse with my jazz a capella group.  Twice a week, I rehearse with the treble-voice classical/folk a capella group, of which I was made president this year, and on the side, I meet once a week for a small ensemble that my friend conducts.  I have a voice lesson every Friday morning, and practice whenever I can. It eats up a lot of hours in my week, to be sure, but never once have I regretted it.

Singing is more than a hobby for me.  It’s a necessity. Whenever I’m sad or anxious, I sing.  When I feel alone, I go to rehearsal and I remember that I am loved.  Even when something goes horribly wrong in my life, I know that music is a constant, and I have control over the art that I create.  It reaches the part inside of myself that reminds me I’m alive and breathing.

Some of the most transcendent experiences in my memory are of singing.  One is me singing in a contemporary worship band in a small chapel, not entirely knowing how long we would keep going or exactly what would happen next, but feeling each others’ presence and a greater one guiding us, and shortly thereafter listening to a breathtaking live performance of some of Bach’s cello suites with the same flowing energy.  Another is singing in a stairwell with some old songwriter friends, half-improvising a song we all knew but hadn’t heard in ages, forgetting most of the words but somehow making it work, and laughing afterward.

My favorite scientific fun fact is that when you sing in a group, your heartbeats become more in-sync with one another.  And I can feel it. Even with those in the choir that I hardly ever talk to, I feel a deeper level of connection. Some of my musical cohorts, on the other hand, have become like family.  As someone who has spent a long time feeling awkward and lonely, especially in large-scale social situations, that’s really, really important for me.

It’s well-established that music heals.  It heals me in many ways and is among the greatest sources of joy in my life.


Image Credit: Feature,1,2