Benefits of Singing

Physical Benefits of Singing

Singing strengthens the immune system

According to research conducted at the University of Frankfurt, singing boosts the immune system. The study included testing profesional choir members’ blood before and after an hour-long rehearsal singing Mozart’s “Requiem”. The researchers noticed that in most cases, the amount of proteins in the immune system that function as antibodies, known as Immunoglobulin A, were significantly higher immediately after the rehearsal. The same increases were not observed after the choir members passively listened to music.

Singing is a workout

For the elderly, disabled, and injured, singing can be an excellent form of exercise. Even if you’re healthy, your lungs will get a workout as you employ proper singing techniques and vocal projections. Other related health benefits of singing include a stronger diaphragm and stimulated overall circulation. Since you pull in a greater amount of oxygen while singing than when doing many other types of exercise, some even believe that singing can increase your aerobic capacity and stamina.

Singing improves your posture

Standing up straight is part of correct technique as you’re singing, so with time, good posture will become a habit! As your chest cavity expands and your shoulders and back align, you’re improving your posture overall.

Singing helps with sleep

According to a health article in Daily Mail Online, experts believe singing can help strengthen throat and palate muscles, which helps stop snoring and sleep apnea. If you’re familiar with these ailments, you know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep!

Psychological & Emotional Benefits of Singing

Singing is a natural anti-depressant

Singing is known to release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical that makes you feel uplifted and happy. In addition, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing. The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like. Not only that, but singing can simply take your mind off the day’s troubles to boost your mood.

Singing lowers stress levels

Making music in any form is relaxing. Singing releases stored muscle tension and decreases the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol in your blood stream.

Singing improves mental alertness

Improved blood circulation and an oxygenated blood stream allow more oxygen to reach the brain. This improves mental alertness, concentration, and memory. The Alzheimer’s Society has even established a “Singing for the Brain” service to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s maintain their memories.

Social Benefits of Singing

Singing can widen your circle of friends

Whether you’re in a choir or simply enjoy singing karaoke with your friends, one of the unexpected health benefits of singing is that it can improve your social life. The bonds you form singing with others can be profound, since there’s a level of intimacy naturally involved.

Singing boosts your confidence

Stage fright is a common feeling for new singers. However, performing well and receiving praise from your friends and family may be the key to eventually overcoming your fears and boosting your self-confidence. With time, you may even find it easier to present any type of material in front of a group with poise and good presentation skills.

Singing broadens communication skills

According to an article in The Guardian, singing to babies helps prepare their brains for language. Music is just as important as teaching reading and writing at a young age to prevent language problems later in life. If you enjoy writing your own lyrics, honing this talent can improve your ability to communicate in different ways!

Singing increases your ability to appreciate other singers

Sometimes, you don’t realize how difficult something is until you try it yourself. As you grow from an amateur to an intermediate student and beyond, you’ll be looking to the masters for inspiration. You might even find a new style of music to appreciate that you wouldn’t normally listen to!

The delights of singing go beyond merely enjoying the beauty of your own vocal talent. All of these health benefits of singing may make you want to join a choir or start taking voice lessons right away! If so, don’t hesitate to get started – have fun with it, and do you what you enjoy!

Everyone Can Sing

Everyone Can Sing!

by Jack Peters

If you can speak, you can sing — maybe not as you’d like or think you should, but you can make a tone and that is a start. Maybe you, like a billion or so others, have said, “I can’t sing” or heard from loved ones, “please, don’t sing!” However, singing is a very natural thing we can do from our very first cry. Everyone is entitled to its proven pleasures, as most were born with the ability to utter sounds for a reason. It could even be more important than talking itself, with talking a by-product of why we utter sounds. Singing is simply a form of melodious talking with some learnable refinements along the way. This article is intended to give us all hope and guidance to one of the easiest ways to find enjoyment during our lifetime. For most of us it will be “finding happiness singing with others” (1).

People sing together; from children’s choirs, theater arts, religious gatherings to the coal mines deep in the earth. It’s the “together” thing that makes it easy, enjoyable, and beneficial. Many studies and articles have been published about the health benefits of singing. People feel good when producing live music, memories are stimulated, learning improves at all ages, and friendships are built. Stress is relieved, attitudes improve, altruistic needs are served, and most people love to hear the results when music is created with human voices. Pushing fresh air in and out of one’s body is refreshing, cleansing, necessary as water, and singing helps that happen instinctively. What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.

Dr. Jolene K. Johnson, a researcher who has focused on older singers, recently began a five- year study to examine group singing as an affordable method to improve the health and well-being of older adults. She found group singing cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and certainly more fun than working out. Here’s the answer to staying young! It’s one of the things to do in life where feeling better is pretty much guaranteed. Even if you walk into a chorus rehearsal exhausted and depressed, by the end of the night you’ll walk out high as a kite on endorphins and feeling rejuvenated.

Obviously, our voices are as varied and unique as snowflakes. We often believe the ability to sing means to have perfect pitch, sing like a songbird, or need to read music; none is true. We were born with two vocal cords (folds) in our necks that vibrate from the passage of air directed through them from our diaphragm. Thus, Everyone Can Sing if you can utter a sound by raising and lowering the tone at will. The question is; do you have an ear to hear where a note should be. To find out, sing Happy Birthday out loud and see if it sounds like the Happy Birthday you think it should be. If not, try again and let your mind / ear direct you to where your voice should be singing. Kind of like in sports — you visualize the shot before you make it and your mind will help direct it. If you’ve ever played an instrument, you probably developed your ear to hear where the note played should be and that’s a big plus when singing.

Many opportunities await you to investigate and develop this true life-changing gift. For Stacy Horn, author of the book, Imperfect Harmony, regardless of what is going on in her world, singing in an amateur choir (the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York) never fails to take her to a place where hope reigns and everything good is possible. She’s not particularly religious and her voice is not exceptional, so she says; but like the 32.5 million other chorus members in this country, singing makes her happy. Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. It takes something incredibly intimate, a sound that begins inside you, shares it with a roomful of people and it comes back as something even more thrilling: HARMONY!

It’s not surprising that group singing is on the rise. So, to enjoy the benefits of singing right now and without any previous formal training, you should sing in a group of similarly passionate folk.

Many people think of church music when we talk of singing groups, but there are over 270,000 other types of choruses across the country. They include gospel groups, show choirs, school choirs, jazz, classical, male only, female only, mixed groups like seen in “Glee” and “The Sing Off”, and strictly amateur groups like “Choir! Choir! Choir”!

The largest amateur men’s singing organization in the world is the Barbershop Harmony Society, headquartered in Nashville, TN, with approximately 700 localized chapters in the U.S. and Canada, plus affiliated organizations across the globe. Barbershop harmony is largely thought of as a barbershop quartet with four fellas, each singing his own part. The largest form of participation in the Society, however, is the experience of  many men harmonizing in four parts with several voices singing each part, which forms a barbershop chorus. Women sing barbershop too, in Sweet Adelines International and Harmony Incorporated, and the Mixed Barbershop Harmony Assocation, where men and women sing together in the barbershop style.

Go online to discover more about these wonderful organizations. Click here and enter your zip code or city to find a local chapter to visit. Weekly meetings assure the constant teaching of singing techniques as you develop your own voice over time. The art of reading music is not required.

For other choral singing organizations near you, Google “choir in (your area)” to join a choir or find a wealth of groups that are always looking for members. Churches, cities and schools also offer many group singing opportunities.

“We can’t reverse aging but we can embrace and enjoy it. Spending time creating music with others is enjoyable, no matter your age.” “Music idealizes emotions, negative and positive alike”! (2)

Choral Director Robert Shaw wrote; “The basic premise of making music is unity – and unanimity – and in its non-liturgical sense, communion.”

Find a group and go visit them. Scary, I know, but you’ll no doubt find people just like you who were apprehensive at first, but quickly learned the joys of joining voices with others to create live, exhilarating music.

Sing somewhere – do it now – do it often. You’ll enjoy life more by singing, at any age!