The benefits of being in a choir – Mark de Lisser

There is much research around today about the health benefits of singing, from the release of the ‘natural high’ inducing endorphins, to the role singing plays in reducing stress. All of these benefits are totally true and experienced by all of my choirs on a weekly basis.

However, there are many more benefits that we don’t always speak about.

Connecting with people
People need people, right? Coming together to sing songs is a beautiful way to satisfy this. Primarily because – to use an old adage – you are all singing from the same hymn sheet, or at least listening to and repeating the part from the audio rehearsal tracks. This connected purpose gives rise to what I call a “gang of positivity”. You feel together. You feel like a team. You move like a well-oiled machine, with different parts that work in ‘harmony’ to perform a set task. That task is the joyous noise (yes, I use the word noise) of multiple people singing together. It’s a great feeling hearing yourself in and amongst all the other members. There is a purpose for you. The choir leader cannot do this without you all, and this connects people.

All the other elements of a choir within its rehearsal time, like the normal everyday life conversations that are had, the sharing of information about the past week, lamenting the worries of life, celebrating achievements, announcing milestone events and generally celebrating all that life has to bring on that one day of the week, is priceless. This is compounded by the length of time that passes in the days between rehearsals. While you may feel that there is nothing new to share, I am regularly baffled by how long it takes my choirs to settle each week, as they need time to catch up with each other before we even sing a note. That is connection.

Feeling of acceptance
Acceptance is a wholesome feeling that we all need. Regardless of who, what, where or when, to feel accepted as part of this thing that is larger than you is a big part of why choirs are so beneficial. I run a non-auditioned choir so you don’t even need to believe you have a voice to join. This is the first step that leads to total acceptance within a choir setting.

As humans, we are busy. The phrase ‘I’m stressed’ is commonly used in many people’s vocabularies. And the truth is most of us feel overwhelmed by life regularly. Being in a choir gives the members a moment of escapism from the rigours of life. From the children, from work-life, from a partner who is currently being difficult, from family life, from… life! The time spent singing together brings a ‘natural high’ from the release of endorphins, a totally natural high that you can’t feel guilty for when you return to normal life. If anything, you feel enriched and elated, which gives a positive feeling that can last for days. This can also change the mood of those around you, as you bring back a restored light to those environments that dims between sessions.

Social cohesion
Choirs bring a sense of cohesion to the social fabric of any community. So being in a choir can enhance the good feeling around you and your neighbourhood. I have many members who have brought their neighbours to join the choir and then regularly they meet up in their streets to sing together too.

Creating something together
Songs sung by choirs have an instant appeal to those who listen. So if you are now the one creating the sounds that move audiences then it brings a different kind of joy. A joy that you are changing lives together. You are bringing joy to people together. Together you are making people smile, laugh, think or simply allow the music to wash over them. Choirs are a brilliant way of making a connected noise.

Choirs ARE brilliant!