I've been singing for most of my life, and much of that time has been spent in choirs. Choral music is just good for the soul, you guys, and I kind of feel like everyone should sing in one at some point in their life. The camaraderie, the feeling of well-being, the increased brain function...all of these and more are important reasons choir is good for kids (and honestly, good for anyone).
When I reflect on what was important to me, growing up, singing is kind of the cornerstone. That's not just because I eventually pursued a career as a singer. I mean, that's part of it, but much more than that, it's because many of my lifelong friends were made in choirs, and much of the music has stayed with me over the years. I can still remember lines from songs I sang in choirs when I was 8 years old! That just goes to show you how influential music can be on a kid.
I think what I love the most about singing is that it's free. You don't need to buy an instrument, or any kind of equipment. Sure, you could pay for lessons if you were serious about it, but I now sing in an amateur choir where singers of all levels are welcome. And every single person in that choir, whether they're 22 or 74 years old, is able to show up and be part of something bigger than themselves.
Here are 13 other things I learned in choir that have helped me be a better parent:
Music Is For Everyone
In high school, choir was actually considered to be pretty cool, which means we had kids from every walk of life join. You don't need to be taking private lessons to enjoy music, and every kid needs music in their life.
Working Together Toward A Common Goal Can Be Incredibly Rewarding
Teaching your kids to work toward something, together, is such an amazing gift!
Sometimes All It Takes Is A Song To Make Things Better
Music has transformative powers. Whether you're 3 or 63, singing a song can improve your mood. There are mornings when everyone (including me) wakes up cranky, and all I need to do is start singing something from Frozen and suddenly the kids are all smiles.
Always Pay Attention To The Conductor
Or, in this case, the parent. The conductor has the score, and therefore sees the big picture, so you need to trust that they'll lead you in the right direction. See where I'm going here?
Eye Contact Is Key
Conductors want to see eyes, to be sure the choristers are following and responding. I've learned that the same is important when you're trying to communicate with your kids.
In a choir, you learn all about respect: Respect for your conductor, respect for the music and all the details in it the composer gave you to help you perform it in the best way possible, respect for other people (you can't just sing loud all the time, you need to listen to those around you), respect for your body (try spending an afternoon screaming at a football game and then try to sing). It's just so fundamental for every part of life.
Life Is More Fun With A Soundtrack Playing In Your Head
This is easy. Who hasn't found themselves smiling when they realized they were humming a song they couldn't get out of their head?
Singing Anything Makes It More Fun
Ever tried telling your kids it's time to take a bath by singing them a song about it? My daughter hated baths until I made up a song to sing every time it was bath time. She still sings it to this day.
Wearing All Black Is Just The Right Choice Sometimes
Every chorister has had to sing an event without a uniform, and the choice is almost always "all black." I love how simple and put together that looks, and it's kind of my go-to mom uniform. I've also ended up dressing my daughter in all black sometimes. Like, it just works. All black never doesn't work. That's the only fashion lesson anyone needs to know, and I learned it in choir. Boom.
Details Are Important
See that little P there, just above the notes you're about to sing? If you don't pay attention to that, you'll likely be singing louder than everyone else in the choir. Reading the fine print (like how to take apart those sippy cups and clean them, so they don't get moldy) is as important as a parent as it is when singing.
Being On A Team Without Being Competitive
Sports are great, and teach kids a million important things, but learning to work with a bunch of other kids to create rather than compete is so key.
Music Can Be Therapy
Singing in a choir can help people with all kinds of physical and emotional challenges. It can absolutely help kids who are processing some kind of trauma as well. There is literally no part of life — no struggle, stress, or problem — that can't be more easily navigated with the help of music.
Being in choir makes you a musical person for life — and that gives you special coping and problem-solving skills that other people just don't have.
The Ability To Multitask
Reading words and music at the same time, while paying attention to a conductor as well as the dynamics? Your brain on music is a beautiful, highly functional thing. Tell me that doesn't make someone a much stronger parent.