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Thoughts on singing and teaching from Country Day music theater teacher Brandon Joseph
While writing this, I'm sitting in Harris Hall and listening to Andrea Ramsey's Sing to Me. The accompaniment is simple and free, then out of no where, in unison, I hear them, 193 vocalists ranging from Third to Eighth Grade. It's one of those ethereal experiences that music brings to humans. Emotions flood to my amygdala, allowing me to understand and perceive emotion without experiencing it. This is the power of music that I'm reminded of whenever my career puts me in the path of these experiences.
For the singers themselves, the effect is even more. Singing is a natural anti-depressant as it releases endorphins, that feel-good chemical that makes humans happy. Scientists have even identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus which responds to the frequencies created from singing. Socially, singing boosts confidence by allowing a venue for our students to overcome stage fright. It broadens communication skills as it widens students' vernacular, teaches them different languages, and normalizes natural inflection for those learning to read and write.
The song is ending and I hear "Sing to the beauty and brightness of life." As an educator, I feel that we sing to our students every day in our many different ways. Whether in the science lab, the art room, or our homerooms, at Aspen Country Day School, we combine our collective ideas and differentiated ways of teaching that resonate in the minds and hearts of our students. An orchestra of education. And, frankly, it's one of the finest tunes I've yet to hear.
Photo: Aspen Country Day students participating in the Maroon Bel Canto Children's Chorus. This innovative program gathers Third to Eighth Graders students from 10 schools throughout the Roaring Fork Valley for the rare and valuable experience of choral singing in a large ensemble. It's organized and led by from our partner on campus and in the arts, the Aspen Music Festival & School.