I’m really excited about the Chatham-Kent Children’s Chorus. I’m excited as a musician – I grow and learn right along with my choirs, and there is nothing I find more rewarding than working with the unlimited potential of a group of young singers.
I’m excited that we’ll be working to preserve an art form. You don’t need to be an adult to be an ‘artist’, but you do need to have an appreciation for your craft, and young choral singers have that in spades. Finding your first creative outlet is an amazing thing, and as a conductor, it’s a privilege to be a part of that process.
Here’s the big thing, though: I’m also excited as a parent. That’s new for me – this is the first time that my daughter will be old enough to take advantage of all the benefits a group music program can offer. Today, that’s what I’m going to discuss with you. I’ve got five awesome reasons for why I am SUPER excited about my daughter having the opportunity to join a children’s choir:
5. She’ll do better in school
It’s a proven fact. Children who study music have better grades, on average, compared to children who don’t. Unfortunately, singing along with the radio or karaoke tapes of their favourite pop songs isn’t going to cut it. Music is highly mathematical (surprise!), and increased exposure to a structured program of musical study develops and expands the part of the brain that does math. Language and social skills also see a marked improvement, and who wouldn’t like to give their kid a ‘leg up’ in the learning department?
4. She’ll meet amazing people
My daughter is going to get a chance to meet several different kinds of people by joining the CK Children’s chorus, and I’m thrilled for her. She’s going to meet kids who share a hobby with her – she’ll likely never lose touch with many of the friends she makes in this choir. Some of my oldest and dearest friends are people I met through music.
She’ll meet professional musicians at the top of their game – the choir is going to have the opportunity to work with fabulous performers, sing music written especially for them by stellar Canadian composers, and be taught by guest artists who are amazing at what they do.
She’s also going to be exposed to the people in our community who care – the people who support the arts, local initiatives and generally make our community a better place to live. Those folks are awesome, and I feel better when I spend the day with those kinds of people. My daughter will get to find out that those awesome people exist, and that she can be just like them – positive, dedicated and ready to make the world a better place.
3. She’ll appreciate the arts
Who doesn’t want this for their child? Perhaps because of my industry, I am more aware of the steady erosion of global appreciation for the ‘classical’ arts at the hands of pop culture. Don’t get me wrong, I indulge in reality TV, I’ve read the Twilight Saga and I can even see why people like GLEE, but I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that’s how it actually works. Making music is HARD WORK. It takes practice, dedication and teamwork. It’s also incredibly rewarding. Singing in a choir isn’t about the soloist; it’s about the team. She could grow up to be a musician, but she’ll probably choose another path – she could be a doctor, a teacher, a CEO, but her life will be richer for having been exposed to and having appreciated the arts.
2. She’ll learn about different cultures
I love how a choir can expose even the youngest of singers to the languages and musical traditions of countries all over the world. Even the youngest children in the CK Children’s Chorus will sing in other languages. They’ll sing music that sounds and feels fundamentally different from what they’ve grown up hearing (think African drumming or Russian folksongs). That’s awesome! It reinforces the message that she is a part of a global community. Children who make music increase their compassion for others, and I like to think that by broadening her horizons, I might be giving her the opportunity to make a difference.
1. She’ll see the world!
Well, maybe not the whole world, but she’ll have opportunities, and that’s better than nothing. Because music is such a global industry, musicians get to travel. Maybe the CK Children’s Chorus will only go as far as London, Ontario, but we may go farther. Maybe we’ll sing in the US, maybe a performance in NYC or even a trip down to Disney World … you never know. Because of her choral experience, maybe she’ll have the opportunity to join the Ontario Youth Choir and tour the country. Maybe she’ll join the World Youth Choir when she’s in high school and she really WILL see the world. At any rate, she’ll have options she wouldn’t have otherwise, and she’ll have the cultural knowledge and appreciation to make those travels worthwhile.
It goes without saying that the CK Children’s Chorus excites me as a musician, but it’s also a big deal for me as a parent – I can’t wait for my daughter to start down this path. It’s super affordable, it’s social and it won’t just expand her horizons – it’s going to be a lot of fun, too!