‘I can’t sing.’ I wonder how many of us have said that or know someone who says it about themselves?
Maybe that belief goes back to childhood when someone implanted that idea – which, of course, is false. We can all sing. We may not all have voices that would get us a role in the West End, we may not all feel confident that we can always hit the ‘right’ note, but unless there is a physical reason which has damaged or removed our vocal apparatus, I’d argue that we can all sing and we can all benefit from doing it regularly.
If we open our mouths and our hearts and let rip, it’s a great stress buster, releasing endorphins and engaging our solar plexus. It’s aerobic activity so acts on us in much the same way as a work out at the gym. That’s why we marked the end of Mental Health Awareness week last Friday, with a 'Big Sing' in the chapel. We sang everything from ‘Jerusalem’ to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and had a ball! Moves are afoot to repeat this joyous experience once each half-term!
Scientists from the University of California have found that singing also increases the production of Immunoglobulin A, produced by the body’s immune system to fight disease. Singing is also increasingly being used to help those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
The key-point is that you don’t have to be ‘good’ at singing to benefit from it. The object of singing for well-being is to have fun, not to deliver a pitch-perfect performance. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- We joke about singing in the bath or the shower but the acoustics will really encourage you, so do it!
- Find songs you love on YouTube and sing along.
- Sing in the car, on your own, or with your family – the younger you start this, the more acceptable it will be! When I was a child, back in the day, we carried song books in the car even though we weren’t a ‘musical’ family.
- If you’ve got little children, sing nursery rhymes and if they have older siblings, encourage them to teach them to the older ones.
- Take singing lessons and encourage your son to as well. Here our singing teachers won’t push boys to take exams unless they want to so put the focus on the joy of singing, not yet another thing that’s ‘work’ and involves ‘tests’.
- Choirs and singing groups are hugely popular now, so find one to join. They cater for a huge range of tastes and include groups for those who can’t read music.
- Sing at rugby and football matches, sing along at rock concerts, sing with your faith group if you have one – just take any and every opportunity to let rip!
If you want to read more about the benefits of singing try: