On That Note… – May 2013

Let’s try a mental experiment: think of your monthly salary. Now double it. Then double it again and imagine what your life would be like. And then double it one more time (you could just take the original amount and multiply it by 8, but it’s more fun to go in increments). Now, how do you feel? Pretty good, right?

I recently read of a study that determined that when people attend a group gathering with the same people once a month, their happiness increases about as much as when their salary doubles. Just once a month! Isn’t that incredible? Can you imagine how happy you could be if you were to meet with like-minded people every single week? You’d be on your way to feeling like a millionaire!

Most of us are probably not expecting a raise of 100% or more any time soon. The simple act of coming to the U on a regular basis though can lift your spirits more than such a difficult-to-attain financial prospect.

Here’s another kicker — “Singing is to laughing what running is to walking.” I heard this statement from a well-known author and speaker in the self-development field. We all enjoy laughing, and it is good for you – emotionally, mentally, and physically. Imagine multiplying all these benefits through a very simple action. All you need to do is take a deep breath, open your mouth and sing.

Singing connects us with other people that bypass the usual barriers of human interaction. It is an activity without a specific purpose – it does not get us (well, most of us, anyway) food, shelter, or attraction from potential mates. It is because of this lack of purpose that it is such a powerful means for bonding. If we are both singing, it means that we are willing to spend our free time doing something together just for fun. It is nearly impossible to feel threatened by someone who is singing with you.

Music was a major reason why the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s was so successful. People with different backgrounds realized that they had something in common when they sang “We Shall Overcome” together. And it did not require any resources other than human bodies and willingness to engage.

Life certainly has its challenges for all of us – but some of the most important things are, indeed, still free.

Markus Hauck
Music Director