Why sing with us?

Singing together is fun, accessible and good for our health and happiness

Members of Manchester Community Choir need no persuading about the joys and benefits of singing together.

For those thinking of taking the first steps towards joining a choir, however, it can be daunting.

Read on to find out more.

The following text is taken from an editorial in the Guardian newspaper which describes the benefits of singing in a choir and speaks about the problems created by the singing ban during the Covid 19 lockdown.

"Group singing, as the popularity of karaoke bars attests, is fun. It’s also accessible: despite the legions of people given the impression, often in childhood, that they can’t sing, nearly anyone can learn. And the only equipment required – one’s own body – is free. No instruments are needed.

Singing requires deep and regular breathing, which can have an immediately tempering effect on stress levels, and a more long-term effect on lung capacity. Controlled breathing releases endorphins and activates parts of the brain related to emotion. The psychologist William James was on to something when he said: “I don’t sing because I’m happy. I’m happy because I sing.”

Singing with others gives a sense of connection, of teamwork and togetherness, without the requirement for conversation. But this doesn’t mean it’s passive: the singer must both make an individual effort and listen to others. As singing provides goals (working toward a performance, for instance, or just learning a new song), it can produce a sense of achievement, which can improve confidence. It can also boost memory. Young children across the world learn everything from alphabets to the complexity of relationships through song.

Singing demands the singer be in the moment, rather like meditation, or sport. A project for the UK government’s Foresight programme listed five ways to wellbeing – connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, give; singing manages all five. There is even some evidence that it may help to sustain a healthy immune system. Choirs have been used to support people struggling with their mental health; they can help with dementia, brain injuries, cancer care, even with pain relief. Singing can be prescribed by GPs. The reasons for the ban were understandable. But communal singing should in future not be so easily lost. It’s for life, not just for Christmas."

The Guardian
Sunday 18th December 2022

Read the full article here

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