On a dark winter’s Tuesday night, a group of individuals trickle into the largest room in a local community center. The piano is pushed from the edge of the room and the people line themselves up in rows seemingly with no specific order.
But in a few moments, it becomes clear that there is an order to lines, and moments later the group builds up a chord. They start with the bass 2s, somewhere well below middle C. By the time they reach the soprano 1s, who are as high above middle C as the bass 2s are below, there are six voice parts joined together in a delectable chord. Rehearsal has started.
Two and a half hours later the group has been through most of the repertoire of an upcoming concert. They have tightened places where there were gaps and ironed out some dissonance. At the end of the night, the individuals had transformed into a homogenous group with the aim goal of producing lovely music.
Singing is exercise with a by-product
Runners talk of the running high which happens when the system gets flooded with endorphins leaving them feeling energized and uplifted. The same effect happens when you sing, it is just the effort is directed slightly differently. The lungs get a workout, the system gets the endorphin rush but it isn’t quite as hard on the knees.
When we sing we have no option but to breathe deeply, bringing more oxygen into the system. We improve aerobic capacity. We give the abdominal muscles a work out too.
But there’s a side effect which is more than half the fun. Every now and again the group of you in the room make a spectacular noise, the combination of people produces something rare and lovely.
Singing helps all sorts of ways
Singing oxygenates the cells and boosts the immune system’s ability to ward off coughs and colds. It helps improve posture and might even help the body produce proteins which also help us resist illness.
You sleep better after singing. It tones your facial muscles as well as your intercostal muscles. It can make you laugh or cry and when you’re singing, you aren’t thinking of anything else so it helps you get away from your worries for a while and manages to lift your mood too.
Singing makes connections
Singing is one of the easiest ways to make friends because you all start having something in common. It also crosses all age barriers. When a group of singers is involved in making music, it doesn’t matter who you stand next too, you’re just there to do the same thing. Voice parts align with each other regardless of age and increasingly in today’s choruses, sex.
Singing really does make you better
At the end of a rehearsal, a group of people will leave the room having made some lovely noises, having exercised and connected with others. How can it not make you better?