I think many of us harbor a secret dream about singing onstage with a rock band. I had this dream fulfilled last week when my choir director, Leah Hokanson, gave us the opportunity to sing with her backup band.
true that my voice likely got lost among the 50 other voices beside me. That’s
what gave me the courage to belt out every song and to have fun doing it. Such
Singing Boosts Us on Every Level
of us grew up singing in church, but even outside of a church setting, singing in
a choir can be a spiritual and healing experience. Peace, unity, belonging, and
connection are some of the feelings we experience when we sing together. It uplifts
our spirit and gives us hope.
probably were sung to as a child or sang to your own children. Singing is known
to help children learn language skills. Songs remain with us as we age, and
often those with dementia can sing all the words to songs they learned many
worry about thinking you can’t sing or that your voice is unusual. That didn’t
stop Macy Gray, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, or Leonard Cohen from having a career
professional singers need to develop their talent. Singing is a skill like any
other. It takes practice. There are learnable techniques that can enable you to
trust your voice and allow your natural tone to emerge.
together is a communal form of self-entertainment and joy, and it’s in our
history. There are choirs all over the world, similar to mine, that welcome all
voices into the mix.
Song Keepers Women’s Choir connects all ages and professions together. Our
oldest member will be 100 years old next week, and singing might have a lot to
do with it.
Physical Health Benefits
is a full-body experience. It encourages deep breathing, which delivers more
blood to the brain. It can increase lung capacity and strengthen your
while singing can strengthen your legs and improve balance. Singing boosts
immunity and can reduce stress and heart disease.
Mental Health Benefits
makes you feel good. It is a natural anti-depressant. It’s fun, uplifts your
spirit, and can be an instant mood-enhancer as it takes your mind off of daily
worries and can transform a sad mood into bliss.
singing reduces stress and anxiety. It releases endorphins, hormones that make
us feel happy, and oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress and creates bonding. It’s
not surprising then, that people who stutter when they speak often sing without
a trace of a speech impediment.
Increases Confidence Using Your Voice
you can sing gives you confidence to use your voice in daily living. My friend Jean
McLaren, now in her 90s, is a founding member of the Raging Grannies – an
international group of older women who are social justice activists.
found their voice and their power through singing. They dress up in clothes
that mock stereotypes of older women and sing humorous songs that advocate for
peace and the environment.
Builds Community and Belonging
together is a powerful way to connect with others by sharing of heart, mind,
soul, and emotions. It can help you learn a new language or culture, being a
likely sang as a child as a way to connect with friends and family. When people
sing together in a group, heartbeats actually sync up. Singing together builds
community and can restore harmony in our fragmented world.
bonds felt by singing with others create intimacy and connection. It’s no
surprise that choral singers tend to be some of the happiest people in the
Ready to Sing?
the uniqueness of your own voice. Be like a kid again and sing for the fun of
that you’re primed to experience the singer’s high, search for your favourite
version of Leonard Cohen’s well-loved song, “Hallelujah,” crank it up and sing
your heart out. I’ll be doing the same where I live.
How often do you sing? Is it an
individual or group experience? Do you sing in a choir? What’s your favourite
song to sing? Please share your experience with our community!