- Musicality – Its official, singing in a choir improves the way you hear music, it draws out your innate musical ability and intensifies your appreciation of harmony. There is a natural learning curve that occurs quite organically as a consequence of singing regularly in a group that strengthens your ear. Where choral singing is concerned, the whole really is the sum of its parts, and choir members soon become aware of how harmonies combine and complement each other. The Choir Player app is a tremendously effective way to consolidate choir rehearsals and deepen a singer’s understanding of harmonies. It allows choir members to practise the harmonies of set songs at home by listening to all four choir parts and the backing track, either separately, together, or in any combination.
- Mental Health Professor Grenville Hancox, Director of the Sidney de Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health in Kent, has done extensive research on the benefits of choral singing on psychological well-being.He is so passionate about the enormous emotional benefits of choral singing,he has been trying to persuade the medical profession to prescribe singing instead of Prozac: “If we could engage more and more people in singing, I’m sure we would have a healthier nation.” Studies have shown that the mental health benefits of choral singing include enhanced brain function, strengthened feelings of togetherness, and the release of endorphins and oxytocin resulting in reduced stress and depression.
- Confidence It’s surprising how many people are told at school they can’t sing, a myth that can discourage potential singers for decades. Most people don’t imagine they will ever perform in front of an audience, and to experience this for the first time as part of a choir can be life changing.The truth is that, unless there is hearing loss, anyone can learn to sing. Singing in a community choir gives you permission to make noise as part of group, and choir leaders report witnessing new members’ confidence grow rapidly. If you are feeling nervous then the Choir Player app can help you improve your confidence. With all the lyrics and backing arrangements supplied you can sing in the comfort of your living room and learn your parts without fear.
- Belonging The modern world is one where people are increasingly isolated. Social media networks offers a semblance of community but the lack of contact with people in real time and space can intensify feelings of alienation. Singing has been central to religion and ritual as a way of connecting communities since ancient times. Being part of a group working towards a shared endeavour, can fulfil this human need for belonging and union. Recent research reveals that group singing helps forge social bonds, and it does so particularly quickly, acting as a powerful icebreaker. People feel valued and inevitably make friends with individuals from a diversity of backgrounds, so horizons are broadened and social cohesion is improved.
- Aerobic and toning A proper singing session is a wonderful workout for the lungs. The actions of warming up, breathing deeply and opening the diaphragm all oxygenate the blood, creating more white blood cells, which strengthens the whole body.The breathing rate slows and deepens, releasing endorphins and increasing a profound sense of well-being. All this lung action reduces the chance of illness and is excellent for people who suffer asthma, and emphysema. Singing also improves your posture and tones your stomach muscles – a strong core supports the spine so your body will be less prone to injury as you age.
Why is singing such a powerful social glue? Most of us hear music from the moment we are born, often via lullabies, and through many of the most important occasions in our lives, from graduations to weddings to funerals. There is something about music that seems to bring us closer to each other and help us come together as a community.
There’s little question that humans are wired for music. Researchers recently discovered that we have a dedicated part of our brain for processing music, supporting the theory that it has a special, important function in our lives.
Listening to music and singing together has been shown in several studies to directly impact neuro-chemicals in the brain, many of which play a role in closeness and connection.
Now new research suggests that playing music or singing together may be particularly potent in bringing about social closeness through the release of endorphins.
In one study, researchers found that performing music—through singing, drumming, and dancing—all resulted in participants having higher pain thresholds (a proxy measure for increased endorphin release in the brain) in comparison to listening to music alone. In addition, the performance of music resulted in greater positive emotion, suggesting one pathway through which people feel closer to one another when playing music together is through endorphin release.
Singing in a choir is about each individual voice harmonizing to create something bigger than each of us. We may not always be able to find the right words, but we can often find the right song instead.
Studies show that choral singing improves our mood, decreases stress, depression and anxiety. … These benefits are enhanced in a group setting, compared to singing alone. Singing in a group offers us a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. If that isn’t reason enough for you run out and join your local choir, then did you know that singing also improves blood circulation and creates an oxygenated blood stream allowing more oxygen to reach the brain! This improves mental alertness, concentration, and memory.
First post on my new website!