Sunday, October 26, 2008

There are plenty of good reasons to sing

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 …

Watoto children's choir by Colin Adland

It seems to me that there are four main areas of benefit to singing in a group:

  1. social — singing is a community activity
  2. personal — singing creates a sense of achievement
  3. musical — singing together makes for a great sound
  4. 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.

go to Chris Rowbury's website