The Music in Our Homeschool Podcast with Gena Mayo easy music education tips, strategies, and curriculum resources for homeschooling parents

6: The Power of Singing in a Group and How to Include Singing in Your Homeschool

March 25, 2024 Gena Mayo Episode 6
6: The Power of Singing in a Group and How to Include Singing in Your Homeschool
The Music in Our Homeschool Podcast with Gena Mayo easy music education tips, strategies, and curriculum resources for homeschooling parents
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The Music in Our Homeschool Podcast with Gena Mayo easy music education tips, strategies, and curriculum resources for homeschooling parents
6: The Power of Singing in a Group and How to Include Singing in Your Homeschool
Mar 25, 2024 Episode 6
Gena Mayo

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In this episode of the Music in Our Homeschool podcast, host Gena Mayo shares a heartfelt reflection on the power of singing in a group, such as a choir, and offers practical insights on how to include singing in your homeschool. Drawing from personal experiences and poignant memories, Gena highlights the emotional, cognitive, and social benefits of group singing while emphasizing its profound impact on overall well-being. From cherished choir performances to directing singing groups, Gena explores the transformative nature of group singing and encourages homeschooling parents to seek out opportunities for their children to participate in singing groups. Tune in to discover how group singing can foster teamwork, build confidence, and create lasting friendships, and learn actionable tips for incorporating singing into your homeschool curriculum. Find all resources and links mentioned in this episode here: MusicinOurHomeschool.com/PowerofSinging

Please follow/subscribe to the podcast and leave a 5-star review and comment if you liked this episode! Find all courses at https://Learn.MusicinOurHomeschool.com and free music lessons here: https://MusicinOurHomeschool.com/FreeMusicLessons

Show Notes Transcript

Click to send Gena a message!

In this episode of the Music in Our Homeschool podcast, host Gena Mayo shares a heartfelt reflection on the power of singing in a group, such as a choir, and offers practical insights on how to include singing in your homeschool. Drawing from personal experiences and poignant memories, Gena highlights the emotional, cognitive, and social benefits of group singing while emphasizing its profound impact on overall well-being. From cherished choir performances to directing singing groups, Gena explores the transformative nature of group singing and encourages homeschooling parents to seek out opportunities for their children to participate in singing groups. Tune in to discover how group singing can foster teamwork, build confidence, and create lasting friendships, and learn actionable tips for incorporating singing into your homeschool curriculum. Find all resources and links mentioned in this episode here: MusicinOurHomeschool.com/PowerofSinging

Please follow/subscribe to the podcast and leave a 5-star review and comment if you liked this episode! Find all courses at https://Learn.MusicinOurHomeschool.com and free music lessons here: https://MusicinOurHomeschool.com/FreeMusicLessons

The Power of Singing in a Group and How to Include Singing in Your Homeschool

[00:00:00] Well, here I am only the second week of the Music in Our Homeschool podcast, and I'm already calling an audible and recording an episode I hadn't planned ahead of time. But it's timely, so I just couldn't wait. If you are a homeschooler looking for ways to easily and affordably include a quality music education in your homeschool, you've come to the right place. This is the Music in Our Homeschool podcast. I'm Gena Mayo, homeschooling mom of eight and music teacher for over 30 years. You see, last Saturday night, I was driving home with my husband and mother-in-law after a lovely dinner out. Well, actually he was driving and I was checking emails on my phone. When I read the first line of an email that said, "Dear festival singer, some of you know that Beverly passed away on December 22nd, 2023 of pancreatic cancer." I was totally shocked. Beverly was the accompanist of a choir I sang [00:01:00] in two summers ago with my mother-in-law in the town where she lived.

My family went Up North, as we call it, in Wisconsin several times a year to stay at my in-laws' lake house until just this past fall when she put the house on the market and moved to be closer to us. The festival choir concert was a rebirth of one they used to have every summer but had been canceled for several years because of, well, you know.

Anyway, it was an absolute joy to sing with this group. David, the director, was a fabulous musician and his wife Beverly equally wonderful. The music was difficult and I love a good challenge. Plus it had been probably 20 years since I had sung in a choir, so this past summer when we knew it would be the last time we would be heading Up North for the summer time,

my mother-in-law and I were really looking forward to being in the concert again. However, it was canceled a few weeks ahead of time [00:02:00] because Beverly, the accompanist, was going through cancer treatment. The email that we received last summer said, "I hope we can still do this again someday."

I fully expected that it would be a possibility. And to hear that she had passed away was heartbreaking. My point with today's episode is to express the power of singing in a group such as a choir and how to include singing in your homeschool. After reading that email Saturday night, I started thinking about the choir, the rehearsals, the performance.

And then I started remembering so many other choir concerts I had performed in throughout the years. The first time I felt the power of singing in a group was when I was in seventh grade and I got to sing in a city-wide concert. We did a gorgeous arrangement of Brother James Air that I still get chills from when I remember it.

That's when I decided I wanted to be a [00:03:00] singer. Then there were all the All-State concerts. I was in Texas and blessed to be able to make it to All-State choir three years. The best year was singing the Brahms Requiem with Robert Shaw conducting. The music was so hard for high school students, but I learned every note, every rhythm, every German word.

And the performance was one I will never forget. The performances with the Texas All State Baptist Choir and the special ensemble called Living 

Song...

were fabulous, too. The first year I did that, David Phelps was in our group. He was so much better than the rest of us. We should have known that he would be famous someday.

And then in college at Baylor, when I was a music major, there were so many powerful choir performances. I can't even list them all, but I loved singing in the opera La Boheme. And singing in the gorgeous Armstrong Browning Library with the Chamber Singers [00:04:00] group. It was like being in a cathedral. Why were those performances so powerful and so memorable?

Well, part of the answer goes back to what I talked about in the episode about brain research and non-academic health benefits from music education. Check podcast episode #4 for that one. Singing together in a choir or a group actually helps the singers experience less pain, feel more generous, and even have increased levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with happiness and well-being.

They even discovered that singing in a choir can help with postpartum depression. But you know what? Another discovery was that even thinking about those singing experiences brings about powerful brain activity. Since I left college all those years ago, I have had the amazing opportunities to direct

singing groups as well. I remember several that just thinking about them now makes [00:05:00] me smile or even tear up. Working with the students week after week to help them learn their parts and begin to blend and balance and then bring it all the way to the amazing performances-- just wow, it brings me so much joy, and I know it did for them too.

An example is this past show that I just finished directing, Newsies. The music and the story are great, and that's a good start, of course, but to have the students who are able to learn all the harmonies and then execute them, I get chills remembering them singing "Once and for All." I will never forget it.

The last time I was directing Newsies was in the spring of 2020. After the shutdowns, we attempted to continue our rehearsals over Zoom, but you know what you can't do over Zoom? You can't sing together. Things have improved a bit over the last four years, but especially back then it [00:06:00] wouldn't work at all.

So we would just look at each other and see our faces, but that was about it. And it made the whole situation even more depressing. Virtual choirs are cool. I even got to participate in one in the summer of 2020. I'll link to it in the show notes. But that's a different type of experience. We weren't singing together.

Some of those people I sang with, I still have never even met in person. There's just something powerful about singing with others that you cannot feel or experience any other way. As I'm writing this, I'm on day seven of laryngitis, and it's only a few days later that I am recording this, and you could probably still hear it in my voice.

I hadn't been able to sing or even speak for over a week, and it made me think, what if I couldn't sing anymore? Not a thought I would even want to consider. So what are some [00:07:00] other benefits for singing together in a group? Well, it fosters teamwork. It builds confidence. It creates lasting friendships.

Several of the friends I still talk to on Facebook were those that I met in choir, in high school and in college. Now my kids are doing the musical The Lion King. Have you listened to the soundtrack of the Broadway recording? Such gorgeous harmonies and acapella. I love a joke that Buddy the Elf says, smiling is his favorite.

Well, for me, acapella is my favorite. Let's hear the voices creating all the beautiful music. So that brings me to the question of how can you provide these experiences for your homeschooled students? Well, this is one of those things that will need to take you out of your home to find other people.

So I encourage you to check in your area. Is there a homeschool co-op or a community group that already has a choir that your kids could join? [00:08:00] Are there private or public schools that have choirs that allow homeschoolers to join? In our area, we have all of those. And we also have a community musical theater group that not only puts on three musicals a year, but also has classes and summer camps.

So check around for those kinds of summer camps, but there's also probably singing and choir summer camps too. And what about churches? It's not like in the days where most churches had choirs when I was a kid. We even had a children's choir when I was growing up, but you might be able to find one in your area.

Another idea is to find someone who can be a choir conductor. Maybe there's someone who's looking for a group that they can conduct or direct. You can get the students together and then they would be happy to teach them. There's a singing group for every interest and skill level.

You just have to search around and maybe [00:09:00] you could be the one to provide the opportunity for that to form. You can start building your singing skills right in the comfort of your own home, too. Try some of the online courses that I have at Music in Our Homeschool to give you a jumping off place.

There's Singing Made Easy, which I have six levels of, A Folk Song a Week, Ten Songs All Preschoolers Should Know, and Great Hymns of the Faith, which actually includes voice parts to learn soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Now, I would love to hear your powerful experiences of singing in a group.

Leave a comment or send me an email and I might share some of those stories in a future episode. Until next time, keep the music alive. 
Head here for all resources and links mentioned in this episode: https://MusicinOurHomeschool.com/PowerofSinging