Many claims have been made about the benefits of music making by researchers, professors, teachers and directors over the years. Some suggest music raises SAT scores. Others say music will make a student more proficient in core subjects. A recent study done at Harvard University showed the heart beats of choir members synchronizing during group singing.
I don’t jump on board with every piece of research, or every claim made by fervent music teachers, but I do know that music making has benefits outside the pure enjoyment of the hearing the tones themselves. Singing in a choir may help you tackle complex mathematic equations, but it can train you to recognize patterns.
Playing an instrument in an ensemble may not boost your popularity, but if you are committed to it, you can learn a sense of responsibility within a community. Yes, choral singing will not cure cancer, but it can teach the singer deep and controlled breathing, as well as correct posture and skeletal alignment. (The music maker must be willing to learn and practice music in a critical way to receive these benefits, but they are there for the taking!)
For these reasons, and many more, I am a believer in the positive benefits of being in a musical ensemble. This church has been blessed with enough musically gifted members to allow us to have an abundance of musical ensembles! There are so many, in fact, that there just aren’t enough Sundays in the year to give them all enough chances to perform regularly.
The Concert Series concert this Saturday is dedicated solely to the ensembles of this church (as well as one female quartet that I approached after they sang in one of our funerals). What you’ll see at Saturday’s concert is nine different ensembles, instrumental and vocal, displaying not only the music they rehearsed, but the joy they have derived from rehearsing it. This joy is the fruit of group music making! To experience this joy as an audience member is potent, but to experience it as a member of the ensemble is a different and special thing indeed.
If you are inspired by what you see on Saturday night, perhaps you will consider joining the choir, or the handbell ringers, or offering your hidden instrumental talent for the Sunday morning services. You too can receive the extra-musical benefits of being in a musical ensemble, as well as the obvious musical benefits. I won’t claim that it will make you smarter, but it could give you a new perspective on what it means to be in a community of believers hard at work in the local church.
Won’t you consider it?