Our voice is our communication tool, our channel to the outside world. We use it to express ourselves: we laugh, we shout, we cry, we call or help, we argue, we sing. Singing awakens strong emotions, both for the person who sings and for the person who listens. It is no surprise to see American Idol and similar shows having so much success. At all times, here and elsewhere, the voice and singing have traced the cultural identities of peoples and allowed a mean of expression that was specific to each one of them.
However, singing is much more than a communication tool. It provides benefits, both physically and mentally. The body, mind and soul are influenced by the practice of singing, whether for fun or professionally. We will explain here a few of these benefits, we will see that everything you need to sing, is to feel like it and we will finish with a few tips.
Singing and benefits for the body
Singing is breathing. Breathing is the foundation of life and is necessary to sing. In the midst of our busy days, we have difficulty taking a good intake of air, breathing deeply. When we start singing, we use more air and, by doing so, we induce a better oxygenation of the whole body and a massage by the vibration of sound. Singing helps you relax, release some tension and even reduce stress or headaches. Abdominal breathing (belly) is adequate when we want to fully develop our singing potential. To sing, abdominal muscles are required but even more so: back muscles, thigh muscles (support) and facial muscles (articulation and support) to name a few, are also involved in vocal production. Who said that toning your body had to be done by sweating in a gym? Of course, let’s be honest, the result will not be the same but singing represents a good and light toning exercise.
Singing also helps you keep the elasticity of your facial skin and to prevent sagging. How? Because as the lips, cheeks, jaw and chin muscles are in use, singing becomes a form of facial gymnastic!
Singing and psychological benefits
We usually say that communication is important to develop positive and efficient human relations. We use our voice to talk, express but it is not always easy to say what we truly mean. Many people think that it is easier to express feelings and emotions through singing than any other way. Many singers even consider their singing lessons as their weekly therapy!
Singing also sends a message to your brain that, in turn, stimulates the glands producing endorphins, the hormones responsible for a feeling of well-being. When we sing, we feel better for a while because the effects last a few hours. Our own body supplies these natural antidepressants. If you want to be in a good mood, just sing!
What do you need to sing?
Whoever can talk, can sing. It’s true. If our vocal cords vibrate and emit a sound to talk, we can also sing. Do we really need to sing well, like great artists, know the music, join a band? Not at all! Wanting to sing is all you need. If you are shy, you can sing to yourself, at home or in a place where you will be comfortable to do so. All the benefits mentioned above will be felt.
However, if you feel ready, you can join a choir, a vocal ensemble with which you will have regular and structured practices. The group effect can be powerful: feeling wrapped in sound, vibrations, sharing an activity with people who have the same interests as we do, is nourishing. In some ensembles, you will learn musical notions while others will make you learn the songs by ear to make it easier.
The only thing we must remember is to listen to ourselves. If we feel like singing, let’s do it. It’s all that matters.