Why Singing In A Choir Is Good For Me, Or Keeping My Creativity Flowing

When this post goes live, I will be in Ireland, on the first day of a five day tour, with the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, having just finished a week of rehearsals and recording sessions for a CD of the choral works of Benjamin Johann Ponniah (again with Selwyn College Choir).

Something I sometimes find, especially in the week or two before a show I was really really excited about in the early planning, is that the stress makes me wonder why I’m putting myself through it, whether I am even creating something worthwhile, even whether I’m actually capable of creating anything at all. One thing I find very helpful for this is having other creative projects and activities, for which I am contributing to the creation, but which are explicitly a “hobby” and not work, to keep a feeling of creativity and enjoyment of art going through my life. Amongst other things (e.g. drawing, blogging, writing…), I sing in a choir for this.

There have been lots of studies into why singing is good for your health and mental (and I have found that the studies prove true in my personal case), but I think beyond the physiological positive effects of singing, one of the things which is good for me about being in a choir is the feeling of satisfaction brought about by creating something great (whether that is just a single really tuneful chord, or a whole smashing anthem, or an entirely brilliant Evensong or concert), while thinking about it as being “downtime” or a “hobby”. Being a part of something creative which isn’t your full-time occupation (whatever your full time occupation may be) is often recommended for your mental wellbeing, and I think it’s particularly important if your work is something which might appear to be a hobby to someone else.

Work, even creative work, is hard. Sometimes it’s stressful because we have a deadline we’re worried we won’t meet, or there’s been a setback because a company we were relying on to do x, y or z for us has contacted us with very little notice to let us know that they aren’t going to do that for us , or even they didn’t bother letting us know at all that what we’ve paid them to do won’t be done in time. When we’ve found a solution we feel great, but in the weeks before opening night (/the concert, if you’re a musician,/the artwork being shown to people, if you’re an artist…), we feel very very tense, and sometimes forget the reason we’re in a creative profession at all – that creating something for people to share is massively valuable and rewarding – for us, for everyone involved, and for anyone who receives the created thing (a play, a concert, a CD…). Having a creative outlet (in my case, singing in a choir), where we are involved in the creation, but which in our mind is a “hobby” and therefore, by definition, “fun” helps me, at least, remember how amazing creative work is, even when I’m caught up in the stress of it all.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post, feel free to like it if you did, leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions and/or follow the blog if you want to read more.

Emily xxx

P.S. If you’re from Ireland and you’re interested in hearing Selwyn Choir, the details of all our concerts and services are linked above.

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