I had the quintessential well-rounded upbringing. I played sports, worked hard at school, and took singing and piano lessons as a child. I lived on a farm and was surrounded by family. When I was sixteen I joined a girls’ choir, and I can say, without a doubt, that one decision changed the course of my life.

That choir took me to Europe. We recorded a CD. My best friend was in that choir, and my most influential mentor was the director. I had life-changing experiences, and I got to share them with 40+ other girls who felt like sisters to me.

Being in that choir made me choose music as my life’s career.

Every day working as a teacher and children’s choir director, I have seen kids eyes light up with understanding and joy, I have heard them discover the power and beauty of their own voice, and I have seen them gain confidence in themselves through their newfound ability. Within choirs, I have seen shy, awkward kids find their place in a social group that shares their interests. I have seen them relax, smile, and edge their way out of their shells.

I have never left a choir rehearsal, as a chorister or as the director, without a feeling of satisfaction, exhaustion, and accomplishment. It takes a lot of work and focus to get through a rehearsal, and that’s part of what makes it feel so good. No one ever felt that good without working hard.

Our kids love music. They all do. Around the world, this is a universal truth. Babies dance when they hear a beat, and young kids sing when they like a tune. Elementary school teachers will tell you that kids learn and remember more effectively through songs. Researchers have been telling us that music makes us smarter, and more recently that it makes us happier. And really, smart is great, but happy?

Can’t beat that.

– Posted by Shannon