The State of Singing in the U.S.A.

In the most recent American Time Use Study done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, making music doesn’t even register as something that Americans do with their leisure time. We have to suppose that it is included in the average twelve minutes per day that Americans spend engaged in “Other Leisure Activities.” There are few other studies on the state of singing in the U.S.A., so I did my own. I asked 50 (fairly) random Portlanders to respond to a multiple choice question about their relationship to singing. The results were both surprising (to me) and encouraging.

Paul Olguin, Founder

10-15%

I am a singer; I sing in a group with others on a regular basis.

40-60%

I enjoy singing, mostly in the car or shower, or at karaoke, but I don’t sing in a group with others on a regular basis.

15-20%

I don’t sing, except for maybe “Happy Birthday.”

10-15%

I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. No one wants to hear me sing.

To be certain, more research would be beneficial, but this simple survey suggests a general direction in which to proceed.

Of the existing singing communities (choirs, choruses, clubs, etc.), some thrive while most struggle to survive or have disappeared, altogether. Many new singing initiatives in the U.S.A. and around the world have presented some compelling and creative new models for building singing communities.