Singing isn’t just for a cappella enthusiasts and aspiring YouTube musicians. Did you know that belting a few tunes several times a week actually improves your well-being? Here are five reasons to start harmonizing today:
- Starting is a snap
Unlike most introductions into the world of music, singing requires no equipment – no instruments, no instrument cases, no instrument cleaning solution – you get the idea. All you need is yourself. You don’t even need a vocal coach to start singing. Sing in the shower, in the car, at karaoke with your friends. If you need some motivation, joining a choir is a great first step. Go online and check for music groups in your area. Chances are, there will be multiple choirs to choose from. Want some free instruction? YouTube is your one-stop shop for singing tutorials, including tips on how to read music, breathing techniques, songs for beginners, and more.
- Singing is a workout
You may not be running, but your body does work hard when you sing. Choirs and vocal coaches often take special care to emphasise proper breathing techniques. Singing is an aerobic activity, which means that it’s good for your lungs and heart. Holding notes helps increase your lung capacity, which means you’ll be less winded in other physical activities. A healthy heart lowers your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Though there isn’t much movement involved, many singers compare the feeling of singing to yoga, only without the sweat and complex contortions. If you want to attempt both simultaneously, Los Angeles has started a vocal yoga trend. Are you up to the challenge?
- Sing Well, Feel Better
Singing doesn’t stop at physical benefits. With your heart rate up and your lungs working hard, your body releases stress and produces endorphins, those feel-good hormones that elevate your mood. Singing by yourself is well and good, but if you sing with others your emotional health benefits tenfold. Singing with a group develops a sense of community, of belonging. The group dynamic goes even further, as researchers in Sweden discovered that as people sing together, their heartbeats synchronize. How cool is that? Singing is even used as therapy for people with cancer, dementia, and stroke survivors. Next time you’re feeling down, sing a few happy tunes to feel more upbeat.
- Build Confidence, Note by Note
Did you know that singing could help you lessen your fear of public speaking? When you sing, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which helps alleviate stress and anxiety. Oxytocin also increases feelings of trust, which bolsters confidence in not only yourself but in those around you. Now this isn’t to say that people who sing never get nervous. But the more you perform an activity, the more the activity’s actions become habit. Just as your body responds to your nerves before singing, your body will mimic that response when you’re confronted with public speaking. Soon you’ll find that speaking in front of an audience isn’t as terrifying as you originally thought.
- Expand your mind
Not only is your voice the most portable instrument out there, it is also the most versatile. Singing regularly opens your mind to new composers and musicians, new styles of sound, and consequently, to new ideas. Learning activities such as singing help create new neural pathways in your brain. These pathways allow you to process the world at a deeper level. If you find that you truly enjoy singing, perhaps you will try your hand at a career in the music or entertainment industry. You could work for a radio station, or a recording studio. If you also have a talent for languages, perhaps you could work for a subtitling company. Maybe you could even direct your own choir one day. The possibilities are endless.
Article by Amanda Clarke