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Beta_Orionis's avatar

Are there psychological repercussions for choir boys?

Asked by Beta_Orionis (3398points) November 5th, 2009

Have there been any studies, or have you any personal experiences?

Amongst many individuals in the classical vocal music community, boys’ choirs are regarded as having the purest, sweetest tones. Often this is just the natural expression of a young boy’s voice, but they do have talent in manipulating their sound. After they hit puberty, however, they can no longer take part in this activity. Some boys don’t even have singing voices after they’ve settled into their changed body.

From my own personal experience, singing well and hitting such perfect harmonies is extremely intense and produces a very addictive feeling of euphoria. Not to mention all of the ego boosts that come from compliments, and the sense of security and necessity that comes from being part of one’s choral community.

So, for choir boys, they go from an (chorally speaking) highly elevated and celebrated status, where they probably enjoy the activity greatly, to, in reality, useless to their former community (in terms of skill and talent. They might still retain friends, etc.) This, compounded with the sometimes already unsettling changes that happen during puberty, might really have some serious effect, no?

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11 Answers

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RedPowerLady's avatar

@Beta_Orionis Thanx for clarifying, I was a bit puzzled by the question. I don’t have an answer but it is a very interesting question.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

sorry for the double posting! the question was pushed into editing after deadline passed for editing the comment…

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I can slightly relate. I sang at rodeos and football games all through my younger years… but as soon as puberty hit.. my voice was shot… I still sing but the range and purity I have now in no way compares to what I had then. It’s a bit frustrating because music is my passion.. and it seems at least a portion of it is gone forever.

faye's avatar

I think there must be some effect. It’s the same for anyone, right, if you now can’t do something you used to do so well? and to add puberty to the mix!!!

aprilsimnel's avatar

At least they’re not castratI! They can talk to someone if their loss of status is causing distress.

augustlan's avatar

Great question! Sadly, I don’t have an answer to it.

SeventhSense's avatar

I would imagine that they adapt as well as any interest they grow out of. I don’t play with Tonka Toys anymore either but I’m OK..ok maybe I have a few trucks in the closet :)

ccrow's avatar

@SeventhSense is that like having skeletons in the closet? lol

mattbrowne's avatar

Have you read this?

I also checked the German article which is somewhat different. It states that many boys stay in choirs after their voices break. An interesting aspect is this:

Moreover, since the age of onset of puberty has sunk, boys’ choirs can no longer expect to retain a majority of their singers through the age of 16 or 17 – as was the case when Bach wrote complex cantatas for the male treble. Boys’ voices now break, on average, by the age of 13.5, leading to higher choir turnover rates and limiting the complexity of a choir’s musical repertoire. This (early) loss of the singer’s treble voice has proven frustrating for successful boy singers and contributes to negative perceptions of the boys’ choir experience

SeventhSense's avatar

No I have those too though

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