Actually, I joined the band because I need to get out and make some friends in my new locality. I joined because I loved to play in a band when I was in my youth, and like the idea of playing live music again. I joined to take up a hobby to help fill my work-focused routine with more leisure. I joined to rejuvenate a musical skill I once had, but which has diminished.
The health benefits have more to do with my frame of mind than anything, though the disciplined breathing of an hour’s playing will be good for my heart and lungs. Playing a piece of music in a closely organised group of people touches the emotions. It is both a personal and shared experience. I think the same can be true of dancing, particularly where the moves of the individual are in sync with the troupe.
A friend of mine organises community choirs. Her promotional material waxes lyrical about the benefits: ‘Singing is a natural part of life. For centuries, songs have been used to give voice to joy and sorrow, to motivate people through the working day, express the sacred and help physical and emotional healing’.
Not many people think about brass bands in this way. And my fellow players and I are not so introspective as to dwell too deeply on why we feel good about playing together. But, feel good we do. And in taking our part alongside others we grow in confidence and in ease with one another.
In addition to my religious practices, this is an appealing step into what I consider to be a collective activity with residual benefits for health. For all the cacophonies of rehearsal, there are some sublime moments where the shared sound reaches deep and stirs the spirit.
Pursue with others what you wish for yourself!