The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The arts program is a hidden treasure at the University of Washington Seattle. I still recall walking past the music building during the arctic chill of winter quarter last year and hearing someone play the piano. The music floated out of a window like a scene from a movie. I stood there quietly and listened for a minute or more before hurrying on my way. It made me realize why I’ve continued to do choir for so many years.
At UW, there are 6 choirs students have the opportunity to join. Three of the choirs are open to anyone regardless of experience level, and three are by audition. I auditioned in fall quarter of my freshman year with the National Anthem as my song of choice. I didn’t bring any music with me from home so I decided the acapella anthem will do. I found my place in the Recital Choir and have stayed there ever since. Every 5 weeks, we get a new conductor from the graduate program of the music school and it has been an amazing learning experience.
I love choir because it’s just as much of an individual experience as it is collaborative. In music, we often use metaphors to learn techniques. For example, when a note is going flat, the conductor will often ask students to imagine the note is going “higher” as they continue to hold it out. Without literally singing a higher note, this metaphor tricks our brains into correcting the pitch and singing it accurately. It is so interesting how our minds and hearts are able to sync as one. However, without the individual effort from all of us, none of it would work.
It’s also difficult to not get on a personal level with the musicians around you. The music we perform is a reflection of the story our conductor wants to share with the world. The stories are often of experiences we have all shared and in that way, we connect with our choral members and the audience. As a choral singer, empathy is the key to a successful performance. After all, that is what all art forms are meant to do: express.
Whether it’s performing in choir, attending a dance show, going to an art museum, participating in an art history class, or writing for Her Campus, the arts are my escape. There is always so much to learn about life and the intricacy of the human brain. If you don’t have the arts in your life, I highly encourage you to seek it out as it’s an invaluable learning experience.
As always, it is an honor to share the gift that is the arts.