I posted a couple of weeks ago on reasons why people might not join choirs or attend singing workshops (I love to sing, but I’m not leaving the house!). Deb suggested that I should point out the reasons why people do join choirs and come to singing workshops. Well, here we go …
It seems to me that there are four main areas of benefit to singing in a group:
- social — singing is a community activity
- personal — singing creates a sense of achievement
- musical — singing together makes for a great sound
- well-being — singing is good for your health
1. Singing is a community activity
- you will make friends who have a shared interest
- working as a team — every contribution counts, but the team must pull together as one
- creating a community of like-minded people with a shared goal
- you will meet people from a range of different backgrounds
- and for you men out there: there are always far more women than men in mixed choirs!
2. Singing creates a sense of achievement
- when you finally nail a difficult song
- constantly improving your singing technique
- regularly developing your vocal skills
- learning new skills and languages
- remembering words and melodies
- being challenged by more difficult material
- performing in a concert in front of an audience
3. Singing together makes for a great sound
- being part of a big musical sound
- the pleasures of harmonising with others
- creating beautiful music together
- rehearsing to make a song sound really good
- getting positive feedback from audiences after working hard on a song
4. Singing is good for your health
- warm-ups improve the body’s flexibility, sense of rhythm, balance, self-awareness, etc.
- breathing techniques help to reduce stress and relax the body
- expressing yourself through sound helps to release emotional blockages
- being part of a group working together creates a sense of belonging, community and shared endeavour
- singing is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body
- singing has a positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being
- singing can increase lung capacity, improve posture, clear respiratory tubes and sinuses, and can increase mental alertness through greater oxygenation
- singing promotes both a healthy heart and an enhanced mental state as well as improving your immune system — so you will live longer!
- recent Swedish research has shown that choral singing has strong effects on well-being, in that positive emotions increase significantly, and, in turn, negative emotions radically subside. Choral singers, particularly women, are happier, more alert and relaxed after a rehearsal.
I’m sure there are many, many more very good reasons for joining a choir or attending a singing workshop. Do let me know if you can think of any others!
Next week: How to start your own community choir.