Music has always been a passion, since my childhood.
And as I grew up, I thought: just because my vocal cords don’t allow me to be an opera singer doesn’t mean I have to give up my passion!
Indeed, I discovered that singing had real virtues for my well-being, both physical and emotional, as well as others that I discovered over time.
But before I explain the benefits of singing, let me tell you my own experience, through my relationship with music, and the effect it has on me.
Music: getting in touch with your emotions
Maybe this happens to you too, if you are emotional or sensitive. Personally, when a song moves me, I get goosebumps.
These chills are not necessarily caused by the meaning of the song. Sometimes I don’t understand the lyrics, it’s the feeling of the notes that I hear, that of the artist’s voice, or even the rhythm. I can even get tears in my eyes at times.
This is why there are moments in my life when I am unable to listen to music. Because it has this power over me: that of throwing me into disarray!
When I sing, I feel extremely sensitive. But if I can concentrate on giving the best of myself, then I can convey my emotion without letting it take hold of me. And when I’m on stage, I want to share that moment with others. I think that’s why, even if sometimes, as mentioned earlier, I was not feeling strong enough emotionally to listen to certain songs, I never stopped singing.
Now check out the other benefits of singing I discovered!
Sing to improve your voice
Don’t take your voice for granted! We use our voice all the time, whether with family, friends or even at work. And it’s a great communication tool for those lucky enough to be able to use it. While singing, I realized my limits. But I also understood that there were ways to fix it. I found out that we actually had two voices.
And in singing lessons, you are even told that there are three or four! The normal, which comes out of the throat, that which comes out of the guts, and the famous head voice.
During my singing rehearsals, I learned to improve my breathing. And when we talk all day, it’s important to breathe well to preserve it.
I also learned how important it is to be properly hydrated to make the best use of your vocal cords. That’s why you’ll see a lot of singers performing with bottles of water. It is vital!
Improve your posture
In case you don’t know, postural classes exist. An actor and singer told me about the Alexander Technique and the health benefits it had.
Even without going through these lessons, I learned a lot during my singing practice. And good posture allows us to regulate our breathing better. We realize that there are several types of breathing, and that of the diaphragm as well as abdominal breathing are very important when we sing.
That’s good, posture is very important when you have back pain. And during my hypopressive abs or postural gymnastics classes, the physiotherapist always tells us to work on this type of breathing!
So I kill two birds with one stone while singing!
In fact, when we sing, we often dance at the same time, and dancing is also a great activity because it helps us become aware of our body. Body awareness is the first step to improve posture. In any case, that’s what I learned during my postural gymnastics, hypopressive abs, pilates and yoga classes.
For me, singing is my best ally if I want to practice mindfulness. It’s the only time I can focus on the present moment. The only one where I can disconnect from it all, and only think about one thing at a time. No possibility of mental load here.
Of course when I sing I log out of my phone and all possible digital distractions. And that’s a real breath of fresh air!
Singing has also been shown by researchers to reduce anxiety, releasing those famous endorphins…
Not for nothing is karaoke so popular! By singing and dancing, we free ourselves from all our worries! It doesn’t matter if we sing out of tune!
Learn to listen through singing
When you sing, whether solo or in a choir, you have to listen to the instruments and other voices in order to know when to sing, change your tone, breathe…
We are therefore very attentive to each other.
In fact, one of my favourite exercises, when I am singing with my choir, is singing with my eyes shut. Instead of focusing on the lyrics or getting the notes right, closing our eyes brings us back to focusing on one sense: hearing. And I promise you the experience is completely different! It’s way easier to connect with other singers, and we perceive all the sounds while when we have our eyes open, some go unnoticed.
Learn to concentrate
This is especially difficult in a choir when there are different voices, such as tenors, baritones, sopranos and altos… We are quickly thrown off track by hearing others and we have trouble keeping our own voice. You have to make an extra effort to stay focused.
I remember singing “Douce neige” as a child.
With my cousins, I learned to sing a canon, which is a way singers would sing a song out of sync. One person starts singing and another starts again after the first phrase. And it was a real challenge. At first, it seemed impossible to me because we are more used to singing in unison. But as with everything, it’s all about practice. And it forces you to learn to focus.
Also, when I was in high school, I was lucky enough to have an English teacher who created a band and then organized concerts. So I auditioned and became part of the band. A real dream came true for me!
The first year I sang a duet and that’s when I learned how you could sing the same song, at the same time, with different tones, using the same chords as on the piano. At first, I didn’t think I would be able to do it, and over time, the different tones of voice came naturally to me! It’s just a matter of focus and “feeling“!
And now with my choir, we sing with 4 different voices, and often we don’t even sing the same lyrics! So you better be able to focus!
Sing to express yourself
For me, that’s a great way to express myself, with all the feelings of the song… We live in a society where often being hypersensitive is taboo. Whereas when we sing, it’s an advantage. You need to be expressive to be a good singer.
Not for nothing are singers often referred to as “performers”!
When we sing, our face and the tone we use express the lyrics. And this is a wonderful thing! That’s why you can get so emotional listening to music, even if you don’t speak the language of the performer! That’s kind of what this song by France Gall is about when talking about Ella Fitzgerald… it’s one of my favourite French songs.
For a socially committed person, it is also an opportunity to sing a song that delivers a message. To make people understand things through the emotion that is music. Because when we are connected to our emotions, our level of empathy skyrockets.
For me, singers have a lot more power to make a difference in this world than politicians, who lack the courage to break free from the handcuffs put on them by the oligarchs… Singers can’t be corrupted, because it is their heart that speaks through their music! They can move hearts and minds…
Sing to Give
When I sing, it’s such a physical and emotional act, that I feel like I’m giving it my all. We want others to participate. We want them to move with us. Because our goal is to share with them this special moment of performing a song.
I will never forget that concert almost 8 years ago where we sang for people from a retirement home in a small courtyard in Barcelona, with my first choir. You could see people’s faces light up. Some even got into motion to dance! I really felt like I was giving them happiness! And it’s so beautiful to see!
It is not for nothing that Michel Berger sings this magnificent song to us by explaining that he wants to sing for those who are far from home… In short, to spread a little joy in a brutal world… The kind of song that makes me cry in two seconds …
A more recent song called People help the people by Birdy has a similar message.
And if you’re homesick, give me your hand and I’ll hold it
Those songs resonate with me, especially as someone from a family that has lived as expats for generations.
In the end, singing is a means of communication like any other.
When songs deliver beautiful messages or poems, then singing is really an activity that can’t compare to any other. I have sung all my life, and I have had the chance to sing in public solo, in duets or in groups since my adolescence. And for an introverted person, music is such a beautiful experience that pushes you beyond your limits!
Singing despite the Coronavirus
We have unfortunately heard a lot of stories about contagions linked to singing during this COVID crisis… But there are lots of solutions, no worries! Wearing a mask and singing out in the open are options, although not ideal.
Personally, I was fortunate enough to be part of a choir that continued through a video conference platform.
It allowed us to keep the link but also to continue to exercise our passion! Because an important aspect of singing is also the social bond that is created with the other members of the group! I have also met a lot of people who have become my best friends thanks to singing!
While in strict lockdown, singing allowed me to escape and release my anxiety. It was my favourite time of the week. I would even say it was one of the activities that kept me going psychologically during this weird time. In the below article, I’m talking about music as an escape and another “way” to travel.
Some tips to avoid “breaking your voice”:
As I said previously, it is important to:
Prepare well: yes, your voice needs a warm-up too!
Hydrate: ideally with lemon water
Breathe well and sing with your stomach and diaphragm
Don’t force your voice (find the voice that suits you best)
Find the right posture
Connect with yourself to better convey the emotion of the song
Connect with others in order to be more attentive and more present
Now all you have to do is get started and see for yourself how much singing (even humming) is so good! Whether alone or accompanied, in your shower, while cooking, in the street or in a concert, it is a well-being activity par excellence! It would be a pity not to take advantage of the positive impact it can have on us!
Have you also noticed the benefits of singing? Share with us your favourite songs in the comments below or just tell us about your experience with music and singing!
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Why singing is good for you: 7 health benefits
The benefits of singing are numerous, and here I explain why singing is an activity that contributes to the well-being of body and mind!