II have to do a small talk next month about singing and wellbeing. I could wax lyrical on the subject for a long time. I think I am going to have to write something down, else I might turn into some sort of evangelical preacher.
The benefits of singing are scientifically studied and recorded. It improves mental and physical health and the findings are hard to argue with. Study after study points to singing being a fantastic activity and that the benefits are even stronger when singing in a group. There are all number of personal anecdotes that I could fire at you. I always find when I sing just for a short amount of time that I forget all my worries. I can think of nothing else but singing and members of my choir have said the same to me.
Physically I have been told of members with ever improving lung function since joining a choir. Drops in blood pressure and just generally loving it. I have found as well that people have joined my choir and then also joined another one. How marvellous! One lady came to my group and went from not singing to singing three times a week and doing singing performances on consecutive days. Now that is really wonderful and shows that it is indeed infectious. I also love the community aspect, the chatting before, between and after and the friendships that are clearly being made. I also find it fascinating how naturally musically as human beings we are.
Music in our culture has been packaged up as an attainable skill. It is written in a language that we don't understand instinctively and in many cases feels elite. I however love this video of Bobby McFerrin. I really really suggest watching it. It was revelation to me. That audience knew where to go with just a few guide notes. The pentatonic scale is prevalent in a lot of music and when I teach music based on it you always know people will pick it up so quickly. There are songs that I teach and members will sing the next line with me before I have taught it. I also have people that are natural harmonisers and sometimes don't even realise it. People also know what they like and as we did yesterday we all sort of let out a sigh when we hit a lovely chord during a new song.
Music is a natural skill within us all and singing goes hand in hand. If you can talk you can sing, if you can hum you can sing and if you can hear then you know music. It is such a natural skill give it chance. Sing as much as you can, with as many people as you can or even just sing in the car or the shower. Sing - its good for you.