How Choir Changed My Life

How Choir Changed My Life

I found comfort and family at a time when I needed it most.
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There’s something so incredibly special about singing in a large group. It feels like we’re all connected for the brief few minutes of a song. We are all working together; we are one.

For seven years, I had the same choir director. He pushed all of us and held us all responsible for our actions. We had to work hard, we had to practice, we had to take time outside of class to look at our music, and we had to be independent. He taught us discipline and responsibility. On many occasions, we didn’t come to class prepared and man, were those rehearsals difficult.

Choir isn’t like any of the other classes you take in school. In most classes, if you don’t come prepared it doesn’t affect your peers or their performance. But in choir it’s completely different. If people don’t come to class prepared, the director needs to spend extra time rehearsing certain parts of the music they didn’t anticipate rehearsing that day. As a result, everyone gets frustrated and the choir is a day behind in rehearsal. Being in choir taught me a lot about trust. I couldn’t force my peers to come prepared to rehearsal and I couldn’t sing their parts for them. We all had to trust each other to do our parts and do them well.

Those days when rehearsal clicked and everyone came prepared, we made magic. We sang together and created something out of nothing. We took notes written on a page and created beautiful and complex music using just our voices. We’d been together through it all. We learned how to read music together. We suffered the wrath of our director when he got frustrated together. We celebrated wins and mourned losses together. We fully supported each other through every moment in our lives. I remember getting the acceptance letter to my dream school and the first people I wanted to tell were my choir and the director.

For years, I have been trying to figure out what made choir so special. Why didn’t the people in orchestra have the same experience? I think there is something so special about singing with others in a group and following the director’s cues. The band and orchestra created beautiful music with their instruments. They were just as musical and the directors are just as incredible. But the members of the groups didn’t seem as close as the choir kids were. We literally embodied the music because we are the instruments. Being up on the risers with my peers to perform in a concert was always unreal. It felt like our heartbeats fell into the same rhythm once we started singing.

Being in a choir is an experience I wish everyone had. Singing together and sounding good wasn’t even the best part. The best part of choir is walking into a room and feeling at home because you know you are loved. At a very difficult time in my life when I felt incredibly alone, I could walk into choir rehearsal and know that I was loved, I was important and I mattered. I found a family in this weird group of 35 people. Being in choir gave me the self-confidence and boost in self-esteem that I needed to make a successful transition into college. I can get up in front of my peers and speak to them and I can lead rehearsals and music therapy sessions all because of choir. Even on days when I don’t feel like it, I know that I am loved and important because of my experiences with choir.

If you’re looking for a place to feel welcome and to create something out of nothing, I highly recommend finding a choir to join. Singing with others is one of the most amazing and beautiful experiences you’ll have in life. Plus, you’ll get the chance to make some incredible music.

Cover Image Credit: Meera Sinha

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Poetry On The Odyssey: It's a Girl

An ode to the little girl raised to be insecure.

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They raise little girls to be insecure

Little girls grow to be big girls

People always ask big girls why they're so insecure

Big girls aren't quite sure

Day after day the big girl can't keep up

She's exhausted

Her soul feels worn

The big girl learns to grow hard

In a way, she's a bit stronger

People call her a bitch

Bitch

What is that?

How can she let that affect her

It's simply the only way to be her

She mourns that little girl

Hoping that one day

She'll be strong


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