Why sing in a choir when you are a child or teenager?
The reasons are short, because the experience of choral singing could be summed up in the words of a girl who, to the question of “Why do you sing in a choir?” By a journalist, answered: “Because life See otherwise. ” After 30 years of singing in choirs and then directing them, it would be easy, without entering into technical or scholarly arguments, some aspects of choral activity that undoubtedly enrich and educate those who participate in this experience. But I prefer to approach the answer by telling my own experience.
I entered my first choir at the age of 8 years, when my school offered me the opportunity to do so. I do not remember why or how, but there was the first day. I must emphasize that this choir was created voluntarily and gratuitously a teacher in love with music and children who would be my father and guide first in the path of my musical development, D. Angel Serna. This is how choirs are often born: at the initiative of someone previously infected with the virus of choral singing, which surely could not explain very well about the effects of this disease in your body. And I went to my first contest that same year. What a marvelous audacity of D. Angel! I am happy to have been just as reckless in my first year as a choir director.
I continue to sing in subsequent courses, and I learned folk songs from all over Spain that moved me and instilled in me a knowledge of the leafy roots of our culture that today are practically unknown to my contemporaries, in favor of perishable and standardized music, that repeating over and over again the same schemes are perceived by the crowd as novelties!
Sing two voices , and then three, and four! Participating in the constructive process of choral trials widened my ear more and more; Sang, and listened to the other voice that produced the appropriate tunes and dissonances; I discovered the world of harmony : interval, chord, tension and harmonic distension …; I was becoming increasingly clear the difference between tuning and detuning, own and strange notes to a chord, sound paste or not …
And then, over time, meet the great masters . Ruminate slowly the works of Victoria, Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Britten, Poulenc, Gorecki. And to have thus the model of the sublime, of the perfect, of the music that comes from the depths of the heart and is molded by the wisest hands. From music that, drinking from the deepest sources, realizes a true creative synthesis, never a “creatio ex nihilo”.
Singing and acoustics
Know the richness of one’s own voice. Unearth it little by little. Discover the interaction between states of mind, psychic tensions, and sound. And to travel again and again the way back and forth between one and another. To be known and perfected in an integral way, knowing a unity. With advances and setbacks, of course. When you immerse yourself in the quest to learn to sing, doing so becomes a primordial necessity. And where you think no one will take you for crazy, sing and sing, and experiment with the voice. And yet, how many times do you have to smile or look away when someone turns or gets scared because you suddenly let go of one of your “gorgoritos“!
And what a surprise discover acoustics , the unsuspected sonorities that occur when singing on the subway, on a ladder or in the elevator (and put a poker face on the way out)! To realize that the same music can not be interpreted in the same way in different environments, and recognize the wisdom of medieval or Renaissance architects who, long before microphones were invented, designed their churches in such a way that sound flows and reverberate in an optimal way, constituting the perfect sound box for the music that resonates in them (better not compare with the state of the matter at the moment).
Finally, the friendship. To be in a choir is to feel deeply united to others by a common love, to discover the wonders that arise when we unite our capacities, our sensibilities, our efforts, for something that is worth. And suffer together in a rehearsal, and take some reeds to celebrate the success of a concert, and laugh at those failures or accidents that the public did not see but we do, and the others, too. And the excursions, and the breathing contained when they are going to announce the winners in a choral contest, and the sadness when someone leaves the chorus.
I heard an educator recently say: “There are two kinds of Colleges: those who have choir, and those who do not “. Certainly. And is that the choir, moreover, is exorcism and is therapy. “Where there is music, it can not do a bad thing“, said Cervantes. I have children in my chorus with hyperactivity, adolescents oppressed by their inner conflicts or by the pressure of parents who evidently do not sing, friends who quarrel but sing together, boys who have received bad news and why To rehearsal, young people whose disordered lives have their point of balance in the warm and serene harmony of a Victoria’s motet …
Forge the spirits of the young
Finally, what to follow. As I said at the beginning, the reasons are short for explaining the benefits of music to the human spirit, and in particular those of choral singing. I just want with these lines to have awakened in someone the desire to enjoy an opportunity accessible to all, free and universal: that of making music with others without other means than the voice itself, which will always be valid, against what many think. And if I have encouraged an educator to use choral music and encourage his students to practice it, much will have been achieved. Because to think that one day our authorities are convinced that the musical practice is a privileged means to forge the spirits of the young , as taught Plato, is without a doubt a chimera.