Top 10 Reasons for Kids to Join a Chorus
Stan DeWitt, founding Executive Director of the Long Beach Youth Chorus, talks to us about the positive impact choral singing has on kids and teens. With years of experience, Stan also answers the most common questions parents have when considering enrolling their child in a youth chorus.
They get to be loud
Kids get told all day long to quiet down by teachers and adults, but in choir, they’re actually encouraged to make noise–– a lot of noise!
Build long-lasting friendships
More than 42 million Americans sing in choruses, so they’re bound to find some new buddies. Those rehearsals and practices combined the excitement of performing together forges friendships and provides a unique support system.
Begin their path to stardom
Mega-celebs like Beyoncé and Hugh Jackman started their careers singing in school and church choirs. Even former President Obama was once a choral singer.
Get better grades
Reading music, memorizing lyrics, and singing out loud are all skills that can also be used in the classroom. Singing encourages communication, and increases vocabulary and language skills. Memorization strategies can be applied to all subjects in school. Who still remembers the song for states and capitals? There’s a few, but the one from Animaniacs is our all-time fave.
See the world
Many choirs go on tours to exciting and faraway places. Some compete in national competitions in other states.
It takes guts to get up and sing in front of an audience. What’s great about choral singing is that your child won’t have to be up there alone. They’ll stand alongside their peers and know that participating creates a sense of pride and spirit. Kids will take that confidence with them wherever they go—to participate in sports, answer questions in class, stand up for beliefs, or try new things.
No need to lug around huge duffel bags of heavy equipment to singing rehearsals. Just bring your voice!
Make college applications shine
Admission folks will love seeing your teen be involved in extracurricular activities—especially an activity like choir, which develops teamwork skills and self-discipline.
Appreciate cultural diversity
Songs are passed down through generations as symbols of a culture’s beliefs and values. By exposing kids to music and languages from around the world, they begin to develop a deep appreciation of other culture’s traditions.
Just recently, the Long Beach Youth Chorus has commissioned “A Rab Pi Ya”, a Cambodian folk song arranged for children’s chorus in Khmer. LBYC is committed to adding quality works to the literature written for children/youth choruses and they hope this new work proves meaningful to the fantastic Cambodian-American community in Long Beach.
Singing just makes everyone happy
Whether it’s the performer singing out loud or the audience singing along, singing just makes everyone happy. Period.
*Excerpted from The Chorus Impact Study: How Children, Adults, and Communities Benefit from Choruses by Chorus America
Does my child need musical experience to participate?
Not at all. That’s what we’re here for, to give your child the musical experience they need.
What if my child’s not the greatest singer?
Most people, including children, have the innate ability to sing. But often it may seem that someone just can’t sing. In reality, singing is a fairly complex process involving the chest, throat, vocal cords, mouth, lips, tongue, teeth, nasal passages, etc. For some people, there are problems that may make it seem as if they can’t sing, but in reality they just need some training in overcoming some vocal issue or another. Others just need training in learning what to listen for and how to match pitches.
In either case, a trained vocal or choral educator has learned how to teach to those issues. So even if you think your child may not be a good singer, the education from a good choir director can help them become a good singer!
The Long Beach Youth Chorus is fortunate to have Stevie Hirner as our Artistic Director. Stevie has a BA (Auburn Univ.), MM (Univ. of Missouri) and is working on her doctorate in choral directing at USC. She taught in Chicago public schools, Miami public schools, and was the Associate Director for the South Florida Master Chorale. She’ll definitely help your child learn how to sing!
What’s the time commitment to be in a choir? How often are rehearsals and performances?
Most choirs rehearse a minimum of 1-2 hours per week. Some choirs will practice up to 5-6 hours per week! Beyond the time rehearsing, choir singers are expected to practice some on their own. Like any musical endeavor, the more practice time, the quicker and deeper the musical progress.
Likewise, performances can vary from choir to choir. Church choirs sing every Sunday morning; school choirs and local choirs may only sing concerts 2-3 times per year. Other choirs sing 15+ concerts and even go on tours, so the time commitment can vary greatly.
The LBYC rehearses on Sunday afternoons, and part of that time is devoted to musical theory training. We perform 2-4 concerts per year, plus other special performances (like with the Long Beach Symphony or Jelly of the Month Club).
How do I know if my child is ready to join? What’s a good age?
Truthfully, every child is ready to join! Singing is a beneficial endeavor that helps everyone, from breathing to socialization. If your child enjoys singing, then a choir is right for them at any age.
About the Long Beach Youth Chorus
The mission of LBYC is to develop the appreciation of choral music and musical talent among young people from diverse backgrounds in a mutually supportive environment. LBYC is poised to have its best season yet, under the direction of new Artistic Director, Stevie Hirner. The 2021-22 season is now open for registration. LBYC is open to all singers, grades 2-12. Tuition is $100. Visit www.longbeachyouthchorus.org to learn more and register.
About Stan DeWitt
Stan DeWitt is an acclaimed conductor, singer, guitarist and composer whose work crosses into all realms of music. He was on the faculty at Coastline College for 26 years, and has taught or directed at Cal State Long Beach, Long Beach City College and Cypress College. He was the Artistic Director for Zephyr: Voices Unbound and has sung with numerous professional small ensembles. He is currently the Minister of Music at Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, a producer for the Sound Ministry Gurus production team, and founding Executive Director for the Long Beach Youth Chorus.
Check Out These Local Youth Choirs:
Long Beach Youth Chorus (Long Beach)
Children’s International Peace Choir (Long Beach)
Orange County Millennial Choirs & Orchestras (Laguna Woods)
National Children’s Chorus (Los Angeles)
Young Singers of Orange County (Newport Beach)
This post was written by Alina Na