Here are 5 unexpected ways singing in a choir is going to transform your child’s education, social life and world view!
5) Enhances Brain Development
It’s no secret that getting an education in music enhances many aspects of a growing brain’s development – it has been shown that on average, children who are exposed to a structured program of musical study perform better in school and on tests than those children who do not. Music is highly mathematical by nature so it’s unsurprising that a causal link has been made between enhanced spatial-temporal skills – the ability to visualize how various elements go together – and music education. These spatial-temporal skills are key to success in many 21st century occupations – architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming and working with computers.
Beyond the books, studying music also speeds up language development. These effects can actually be physically seen in the brain:
“Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds.”
This helps children not only succeed in school, but in their social environment as well – competence with language is associated with confidence when making friends and integrating oneself into a social circle.
4) Creates Resiliency in Children
An increasing body of research is emerging about the importance of creating resiliency in our children – the ability to bounce back from life’s challenges and crises, effectively learning from them to become a stronger, wiser person. The key to resiliency is an inner knowledge that you are capable of handling whatever roadblocks life throws at you rather than succumbing to self-doubt and fear of failure.
Everyone is born with some sense of natural resiliency, but there are things we can actively do for our children to develop and strengthen this ability. An education in music is a challenging experience that requires students to continually practice to improve their abilities. Students of music education learn that each road block they encounter can eventually be overcome with persistence, discipline and not giving up. Each achievement then acts as a reward for this persistent behaviour leading to a sense of mastery. This sense of mastery after having risen to face a challenge is what creates resiliency later in life by building confidence in the child that they can overcome a problem.
3) Enables World-Wide Travel
Probably one of the most exciting aspects of belonging to the Toronto Children’s Chorus is being able to bring all that hard work and dedication around the world, to perform in stunning international venues while working with professional musicians and other children’s choirs who are at the top of their game. The TCC’s annual national and international tours provide choristers with a unique opportunity to visit places and be exposed to a variety of people to which they would otherwise not have access to at such a young age.
During our last International tour to the US, we bumped into and performed for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – a moment not likely to be soon forgotten by the choristers in that room. The TCC offers life-changing opportunities that promote personal welfare and growth, preparing children to become effective citizens. For the 2016/17 Season, the TCC is excited to announce that we have been invited to perform at the 11th IFCM World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona.
2) Provides the Opportunity to Meet Amazing People
Singing in a choir presents numerous opportunities to meet incredible people. Belonging to a choral community means meeting and bonding with other children who share a passion for music and singing. The friendships forged over long, hard practices, the joys of performing and the fun of music camp are often lifelong and fruitful. Adela Lam, who spent 9 years as a chorister with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, speaks to this point:
Whether it was through perfecting music in rehearsal, performing and excelling in international competitions, or even the quick coffee runs in between workshops, the Toronto Children’s Chorus gave me countless opportunities to connect with other inspiring individuals and of course, have fun! The choir also gave me an opportunity to meet new friends in other countries, like Russia and Latvia, choristers who I admire and enjoy conversing with to this day. You could say that it only takes one song sung together to make everyone’s hearts soar!
Children who sing in a choir are also presented with the opportunity to meet and work with extremely talented artists and musicians in many different areas of the performing arts. This is a great way to inspire them on their own musical journey as they will get to sing music written specifically for them by amazing Canadian composers and learn from guest artists who come from a variety of musical backgrounds. What a great way to inspire a deep appreciation for the classical arts!
1) Fosters Empathy and Appreciation of Cultural Diversity
This is perhaps one of the most beneficial side effects of singing in a choir – children of all ages are exposed to music and languages of many different cultures, which helps to foster a deep appreciation for cultural traditions beyond what they may be exposed to at home. Everything from Traditional Inuit Music to German to Spanish to Arabic to specially gifted New Zealand Māori songs – the Choristers of the Toronto Children’s Chorus learn it all.
This becomes all the more interesting in light of recent research that suggests choral singing actually strengthens a feeling of togetherness and belonging to a community more than other group activities. It is not yet clear exactly what aspect of belonging to a choir creates this psychological effect – but when children belong to a multicultural choral group that has the opportunity to sing with choirs from all over the world, you can imagine what an effective tool choral music becomes in bridging divides between cultures.
We need choral music in this world perhaps more now than ever. Appropriately, the theme for the 11th IFCM World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona is ‘Colours of Peace’ to “symbolize the diversity of international choral life in the building of a world at peace.”