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The Power of Singing in a Group and How to Include Singing in Your Homeschool (E6)

Today I’d like to tell you what I’ve been thinking about the power of singing in a group and how to include singing in your homeschool.

and How to Include Singing in Your Homeschool

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The Power of Singing in a Group

Last Saturday night I was driving home with my husband and mother-in-law after a lovely dinner out. Well, actually, he was driving, and I was checking emails on my phone when I read the first line of an email that said, “Dear Festival Singers, Some of you know that Beverly passed away on December 22, 2023 of pancreatic cancer.” I was totally shocked. Beverly was the accompanist of a choir I sang in two summers ago with my mother-in-law in the town where she lived. My family went Up North, we call it, in Wisconsin several times a year to stay at my in-laws’ lake house until just this past fall when she put the house on the market and moved to be closer to us. The Festival Choir concert was a rebirth of one they used to have every summer but had been canceled for several years because of — well, you know.

Anyway, it was an absolute joy to sing with this group! David, the director was a fabulous musician and his wife Beverly equally wonderful. The music was difficult, and I love a good challenge. Plus it had been probably 20 years since I had sung in a choir.

So, this past summer, when we knew it would be the last time we’d head Up North for the summer, my mother-in-law and I were looking forward to being in the concert again. However, it was canceled a few weeks ahead of time because Beverly was going through cancer treatment. The email ended with, ”  I hope we can still do this again someday.” I fully expected that it would be a possibility. To hear that she had passed away was heart-breaking.

Memories of Singing in Choirs and Other Groups

My point with today’s episode is to express the power of singing in a group, such as a choir, and how to include singing in your homeschool. After reading that email Saturday night, I started thinking about the choir, the rehearsals, the performance. And, then I started remembering so many other choir concerts I had performed in throughout the years.

The first time I felt the power of singing in a group was when I was in 7th grade and got to sing in a city-wide concert. We did a gorgeous arrangement of Brother James’s Air that I still get chills from when I remember it. That was when I decided I wanted to be a singer.

Exciting Performances

Then, there were the All-State Choir concerts. I was in Texas and was blessed to be able to make it to state 3 years. The best year was singing the Brahms Requiem with Robert Shaw conducting. That music was sooo hard for high school students! But, I learned every note, every rhythm, every German word. And, the performance was one I’ll never forget.

The performances with the Texas All-State Baptist Choir and the special ensemble called Living Song. The first year I did it, David Phelps was in our group. He was so much better than the rest of us, we should have known he’d be famous some day.

And, then in college at Baylor when I was a music major, there are so many powerful choir performances I can’t even list them all, but I loved performing in the opera La bohème, the musical Into the Woods, and singing in the gorgeous Armstrong Browning Library with the Chamber Singers. It was just like being in a cathedral.

Why is Singing in a Group Powerful?

Why were those performances so powerful and so memorable? Part of the answer goes back to what I talked about in the blog post and podcast episode about brain research and non-academic health benefits from music education. Singing together in a choir or group actually helps the singers experience less pain, feel more generous, and even have increased levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with happiness and well-being. They even discovered that singing in a choir can help with postpartum depression.

But, you know what, another discovery was that even thinking about those singing experiences brings powerful brain activity.

Even Directing a Singing Group is Special

Since I left college all those years ago, I have had the amazing opportunities to direct singing groups as well. I remember several that just thinking about them makes me smile or tear up. Working with the students week after week to learn their parts, begin to blend and balance, and then bring it all the way to the amazing performances — just wow. It brings me so much joy! And, I know it did for them, too.

An example is this past show I directed–Newsies. The music and story are great, and that’s a good start, of course. But, to have the students who are able to learn all the harmonies and then execute them? I still get chills from remembering them sing “Once and For All.”

The last time I was directing Newsies was in the spring of 2020. After the shut-downs we attempted to continue our rehearsals over Zoom. But, you know what you can’t do over Zoom? Sing together? Things have improved a bit in the last 4 years, but especially back then, it wouldn’t work AT ALL. So, we could just look at each other and see their faces, but that was about it. It even made the whole situation more depressing.

Are Virtual Choirs Good Enough?

Virtual choirs are cool. I even got to participate in one in the summer 0f 2020. But, that’s a different type of experience. We weren’t singing together. Some of those people I “sang” with I still have never met in person.

My Virtual Choir Experience:

There is just something powerful about singing with others that you can’t feel any other way.

More Benefits for Singing in a Group

As I’m writing this I’m on day 7 of laryngitis. I haven’t been able to sing, or even speak for a week. It makes me think, what if I couldn’t sing anymore? Not a thought I even want to consider.

What are some other benefits for singing together in a group? It fosters teamwork, builds confidence, and creates lasting friendships. Several of the friends I still talk to on Facebook were those I met in choir in high school and college.

Now, my kids are doing the musical The Lion King? Have you listened to the soundtrack of The Lion King Broadway recording? Such gorgeous harmonies, and a cappella. I love to joke that Buddy the Elf says “Smiling is his favorite,” but, for me, “A Capella is my favorite.” Let’s hear the voices creating all the beautiful music!

Singing Experiences for Homeschooled Students

So, that brings me to the question of how can you provide these experiences for your homeschooled students? Well, this is one of those things that will need to take you out of your home to find other people. So, I’d encourage you to check your area. Is there a homeschool co-op or community group that have a choir your kids could join? Are there private or public schools that have a choir that allows homeschoolers? In our area we have all of those, but we also have a community musical theater company that not only puts on three musicals a year, but also classes and summer camps. Oh, yes, check around for singing summer camps!

What about churches? It’s not like in my days where most churches had choirs, and mine even had children’s choirs, but you still might find one. Another idea is to find a director? Is there someone who is looking for a group to conduct? You can get the students together and they would be happy to teach them.

There’s a singing group for every interest and skill level. You just have to search around or maybe provide the opportunity for one to form!

Singing in Your Own Home

But, yes, you can start building your singing skills right in the comfort of your own home if you’re not ready for a group yet. Try these online courses available from Music in Our Homeschool:

Now, I’d love to hear your powerful experiences of singing in a choir or group? Leave a comment or send me an email. I might share some of the stories in a future blog post and podcast episode!

See the YouTube Video “The Power of Singing in a Group and How to Include Singing in Your Homeschool (E6)” here:

Listen to the Podcast Episode here:

Listen here or subscribe and follow The Music in Our Homeschool Podcast through your favorite podcast app!

Find the transcript here.

Related Posts:

and How to Include Singing in Your Homeschool

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