For years, I’ve known instinctively from my experience singing with community and church choirs, that I always look forward to rehearsals and I feel happy and energized afterward. Only recently have I wondered why this is so.
It turns out that there’s proven science behind the singing phenomenon! We often picture happy people as people who like to sing (in the car, in the shower, doing mind-numbing boring work), when in actuality it’s the singing that makes them happy.
When we sing, our bodies release endorphins and oxytocin, our brain’s feel-good chemicals! “A study published in Australia in 2008 revealed that on average, choral singers rated their satisfaction with life higher than the public — even when the actual problems faced by those singers were more substantial than those faced by the general public.” (source: MacLean). Another study found that after nursing home residents took part in a singing program for a month, there were significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels (source: ISPS)
A small, but mighty group, Sing!, an EAOM adult choral program is a prime example of a diverse group having a blast every Wednesday evening learning to sing pop songs. The group has a great time sharing fun conversations and laughter while letting out the inner rock star that’s been hiding in all of us!
What makes Sing! different from other singing experiences I’ve had? Well, first of all, we’re singing pop music and it’s in English (mostly). The community choirs I’ve sung with seemed to always throw in a number of pieces in Latin, Italian, French and even Icelandic! That’s all fine, but it can be very difficult and stressful to memorize lyrics in a language you’re not familiar with.
Secondly, Sing! is a user-pay which is great for those of us who don’t feel comfortable pestering our friends and families to donate to garage sales, collect bottles, or buy chocolates, raffle tickets, grocery cards, etc. to fund our musical experience. It’s different when you are helping to fund a band or choir trip for kids that would make it accessible for those less fortunate. Believe me, I’ve sold (translation: bought/eaten) enough chocolate over the years to fill Santa’s sleigh a few times over.
Thirdly, I’m an endorphin junkie. Singing makes you feel just as good as exercising and if I were given the choice of what I would rather do, I would definitely pick singing! Don’t get me wrong, I do exercise, but not quite as willingly.
Fourthly, but maybe the most important reason of all, is the music! Pop music is not easy, but it is so rewarding and so much fun to sing. If your interest is at all piqued in perhaps joining our merry little band of singers, come see us at Square One Coffee on Dec 8 at 7:00 pm. We’ll be accepting new members in January.
Audrey Shonn, is a Piano Teacher, Elementary Music Specialist and a Member of Sing!