How We Bond

One of the perks to being involved in a school-sponsored group activity (a sport, a club, a ensemble) is the sense of connection and bonding that comes with close proximity to your peers.

But not all activities are created equal – and the different ways that bonding happens makes a difference in outcome.


Some activities bond through a shared opponent.

Some activities bond through real adversity (i.e., hard group work)

Some activities bond through contrived adversity (i.e., hazing).

Some activities bond through common passion.

Some activities bond through common mission.

Some activities bond through open communication and sharing of feelings.


Many activities use a combination of the above to form a team – for example, members of a high school varsity football team face an opponent, real adversity, and hold a common passion. (Let’s hope most football teams have eliminated the formerly ubiquitous hazing at this point…)

How does your choir form as a team? Of course, your singers share a common passion for music; they build their team through hard work preparing for concerts; choirs are blessed to generally not have opponents, per se – allowing them to form a team without a concept of “enemies.”

This weekend, I shared in a choral bonding experience built around open, deep sharing. Singers shared honestly about their hopes, fears, and personal histories. They cried and comforted each other. They were vulnerable and honored each others’ vulnerability.

It will without a doubt pay dividends as these singers work to create art and express communal emotion over the school year. Their strength will be built on this deep personal connection.

I can’t imagine many other activities besides choir being welcoming, accepting, and vulnerable in this way.

The bonds they have built through honest emotional connection will last longer and go deeper than virtually any other type of bond.

We can participate in many activities and finish not knowing each other beyond a superficial level. Choir, with its focus on honest emotion and interpersonal connection, gives a truly special chance to go deeper.