The October issue of Choral Journal is online and features an article titled “Remember You: Mental Health in a Life Dedicated to Choral Music” by Stephanie and Troy Robertson. You can read it in its entirety at acda.org/choraljournal. Following is a portion from the introduction.
For many choral musicians, our profession is our primary identity. Our mental landscape is dominated by it. We, like artists and teachers in other vocations, repeat sayings that implicate the whole of our life, not merely part: “A calling, not a job,” “dark to dark,” “you don’t do it for the money.” When we reflect on our profession, it is with the lofty ambition to touch and change our singers’ lives as well as our own. The litany of activities this entails is well known: classroom teaching, ensembles, extracurricular ensembles, performances at night and on weekends, fundraisers.
For those of us who lead choirs in sacred spaces our work includes some of the most intimate moments in the lives of our choristers: new babies, weddings, sickness, funerals, moving into a new town, moving away from those we love, years and years of music and fellowship, rites and sacraments that cycle with the seasons of the year and the seasons of a life. How does this affect our mental health? In what ways do we face unique challenges, and how do we cope with such demands on our time and energy?
Moving Beyond Problem Admiration
To make meaningful changes, we must clearly identify the problem, but we must also move beyond discussing, defining, and considering the problem. The interventions described in this article are no substitute for clinical treatment. If you are struggling with mental health, the assistance of a counselor may be the best option. Types of therapists and additional resources are outlined at the end of this article. However, there are numerous interventions and applications that may be beneficial to put into practice independently.
Read the full article in the October 2021 issue of Choral Journal at acda.org/choraljournal