Thursday, September 13, 2012

Group Singing - the Immersion of Self into the Community

Well said! Thank you to Helen Gilbert for sharing this lovely explanation by Brian Eno of why we need, should and love to gather to sing together. For the full NPR This I Believe essay by British musician Brian Eno, The Key to a Long Life, click here.
"I believe in singing. I believe in singing together. 
A few years ago a friend and I realized that we both loved singing but didn't do much of it. So we started a weekly a capella group with just four members. After a year we started inviting other people to join. We didn't insist on musical experience — in fact some of our members had never sung before. Now the group has ballooned to around 15 or 20 people. 
I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness and a better sense of humor. A recent long-term study conducted in Scandinavia sought to discover which activities related to a healthy and happy later life. Three stood out: camping, dancing and singing. 
Well, there are physiological benefits, obviously: You use your lungs in a way that you probably don't for the rest of your day, breathing deeply and openly. And there are psychological benefits, too: Singing aloud leaves you with a sense of levity and contentedness. And then there are what I would call "civilizational benefits." When you sing with a group of people, you learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness becausea capella singing is all about the immersion of the self into the community. That's one of the great feelings — to stop being me for a little while and to become us. That way lies empathy, the great social virtue...." - Brian Eno, NPR This I Believe