Tracy Van Fleet
Everyone Can Sing!
No, really!! It is so good for you!
There have now been numerous studies about the many benefits of singing, especially singing in groups. Beyond all those studies, read about some of the reasons why you should sing!
1. Anyone CAN sing. You don’t have to be a professional, you don’t even have to be good, you just have to DO it! (and yes, singing in the shower counts) The more you sing, the more you will begin to feel the benefits.
2. Express Emotion. Singing adds more emotion than just words. Babies love to be sung to, and children will often sing, because it just feels good!
3. Reduce Stress. Singing can lower the heart rate and releases endorphins. Singing also regulates your breathing which can promote relaxation.
4. Stimulate your brain. “Music provides a way to access regions of the brain and reawaken autobiographical memory when language won’t”[i]. But you don’t have to wait until you don’t have language – get in the habit of singing what you remember, or what you love.
5. Improve Physical Health. Singing makes us breathe more deeply than many forms of exercise, so we take in more oxygen, improve aerobic capacity and experience a release of muscle tension as well.
6. Connect your soul. Singing is a powerful tool of self-expression. Through music, lyrics and tone there are some songs that will resonate within you. To be able to sing them out loud is a great feeling.
7. Singing in groups is motivational. Nick Stewart said, “People who sang in a choir had a stronger sense of being part of a meaningful group and there is a suggestion that there is something unique about the synchronicity of moving and breathing with other people.”[ii]
8. Singing makes you happy. As stated earlier, singing releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, and allows us to express ourselves. Ideally, singing is fun!
One of the benefits of singing is similar to a benefit of yoga: steady, big, slow breaths that can have a calming effect. ... Singing is good for you because of the oxygenation, but even further, this oxygen influx may alleviate stress. More oxygen in the blood means increased alertness and energy.
Many of us were singing before we could talk. Many of us were singing without a care as to support, placement, tone quality, intonation, …. And with great joy! Then we chose to become “singers”. We studied and practiced. We began singing with a choir, or at school, or church/temple. Some of us decided music would be our career, performing and/or teaching, while others kept singing in the community because we love it. But somewhere along the line, we lost the absolute joy of singing with abandon. Singing just for fun!
Truly, everyone can sing. There’s no judgement in that statement. It’s not, “everyone can sing a Bach melisma”, or “everyone can sing Grand Opera”. It’s just singing, however it happens; Wherever it happens.
Recently I was in the bathroom at LAX, International airport. A young woman was washing her face, organizing her carry-on, etc. and lightly singing. She had a pleasant voice, I didn’t know the song, but it brought a smile to my face to hear someone simply making music in a grey space. I didn’t judge her singing, because she was singing for the joy of it. It never occurred to me to analyze her intonation. She was expressing herself and was willing to share her humanity. It was beautiful, and I thanked her for it.
So far, I have not felt the total abandon to sing in a public bathroom, but I’m working on it! I LOVE to sing. I love to sing for others. I love how singing makes me feel when I don’t “work” on it. OK, I also love to sing accurately and with what I sense is a good tone, but I want to meld it all together. I want to sing whatever music I’m doing, just like I would have as a 4 year old who has no judgement about herself or what others are thinking.
That’s the root of it. Judgement. I am on a path to alter my constant judging of my singing from a negative view. There are plenty of opportunities to sing and let go of any and all judgement. But we have this old habit. I’m going to sing, just for the fun of it, and strive to simply make sound.
[i] Dr. Aniruddh D. Patel https://www.chorusamerica.org/advocacy-research/singing-and-brain [ii] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10496056/Choir-singing-boosts-your-mental-health.html