Monday, April 2, 2012

Can singing in a choral group make us more successful?

My alma mater: The Whitworth Choir
I'm sure there are many of you singers out there who started very young in choir - at school, church or in a community chorus. Well, it appears that we are the better for it - and, it turns out that everyone benefits from the experience of singing in a choral group.

Chorus America has published some research which shows that kids who sing in a choral group are more creative, have more self-esteem, have better memory, and watch less TV than kids who aren't in choral groups.

And, kids aren't the only ones who reap the benefits ...

The study found that an estimated 42.6 million Americans regularly sing in choral groups today. More than 1 in 5 households have at least one singing family member, making choral singing the most popular form of participation in the performing arts for both adults and children.

That’s stellar news because the study also found that singing in one of the 270,000 choruses in the U.S., such as a community chorus or a school or church choir, is strongly correlated with qualities that are associated with success throughout life. Greater civic involvement, discipline, and teamwork are just a few of the attributes fostered by singing with a choral group.

As it turns out, choral singers are an unusually engaged group of citizens. Choral singers are much more likely to volunteer in their communities and to contribute money to philanthropic causes. They’re far more likely to take on leadership roles, too, and to participate in the political process. According to the study, 96% of adult choral singers who are eligible voters vote in national and local elections—compared to 70% of the general public who are voters. And an overwhelming number of choral singers also report that singing in a choral group has helped them become better team members in other areas of their lives.

Given the fact that choral singers are responsible and socially conscious citizens, it stands to reason that the choral groups to which they belong are also strong contributors to society — and, in ways that transcend the choral arts themselves. Many choral groups routinely use their concerts as fundraising vehicles for deserving community not-for-profit organizations. Additionally, many choral groups sponsor scholarships for deserving students of the arts - many of whom, because their craft is not held to the same high esteem that many sports are, find that scholarships to further their education are not as bountiful.

Here's a very interesting graph from Chorus America related to the success of choral kids:


So, when people at your school board, PTA or community board meeting are on their soap boxes about sports being the source of self-esteem, leadership and camaraderie ... take this study to them. Perhaps people will think twice before bringing the ax down on music education and choral music in our schools. And, perhaps continuing education institutions will consider making music scholarships more of a priority.

And, find a choral group - sing! You'll be better for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your site and check on it often!
I think that music is good for people and there have been many studies which seem to show that the study of music is beneficial for kids.

However one must be careful about jumping to conclusion about what causes what.
Especially for adults, who join choral groups because they want to and not because their parents want to inculcate good habits of behaviour and mind in them, as well an an appreciation of music.

Correlation is not causation.
This means, that there may be an underlying other reason that is the link between things.

Being in the choral group is not necessarily responsible for increasing an adult's civic awareness and involvement.
For instance, the reason that adult choristers are more likely to vote, may be that they are "more involved people" and that's why they joined the choral group in the first place.

Leonora di Vargas

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