Benefits of Singing In A Choir
The rush of excitement you get when you hear everyone come together in harmony, the high you feel after you’ve left rehearsal or the sense of belonging you feel when you are at rehearsal with a group of supportive people you are able to call your friends… Some of you may know what this feels like, and some of you may not. Let’s talk about some of the many positive effects that being a part of a choir can have for you as a person.
A common practice within a choir is to read sheet music. There will often be sheet music that notates Soprano & Alto (Female) and Tenor and Baritone (Male) parts. Even if you have never read sheet music before, it isn’t too tricky to pick up on the direction of the melody (whether the notes are moving upwards or downwards). When looking at the sheet music, your conductor will explain any musical markings that are important within the arrangement. They will also teach you both appropriate and inappropriate places to breathe within the song which can be beneficial to you when you are singing by yourself as well.
As well as this, you will also learn how to sing in harmony. Harmonies are often centred around a triad or arpeggio (broken chord) which you will most likely learn about at the beginning of the rehearsal when your conductor takes you through warm-ups and technical work. With this knowledge and training, over time, you will start to develop the ability to come up with your own harmonies, not just the ones notated on the page – This is a really great skill to have as a singer and musician.
There are proven psychological benefits of singing. It has been proven that when you sing you are less likely to become stressed, depressed or anxious. This is because the steady diaphragmatic and abdominal movement used in breathing for singing, helps your Parasympathetic Nervous System to function healthily and effectively. This particular part of the nervous system is responsible for prompting the body to produce more blood pressure and heart-rate decreasing cells, which in turn, moves your body into a more relaxed and stress-free state.
Studies have also shown that patients who have suffered from severe mental illnesses have been referred to Music Therapists where singing as part of a group specifically, has been part of their recovery program. Research shows that the particular patients who were involved in singing in a group had rapid improvements to their mental state, and showed that it was the only component of their recovery program that was contributing significantly to their ongoing psychological stability. This psychological stability comes from the natural release of a hormone called Salivary Oxytocin, which is released when a person is feeling happy, relaxed and sociable – all feelings that can be associated with singing in a choir.
There are many physiological benefits of singing in a choir. These benefits include but aren’t limited to: being able to breathe and manage and use your breath more effectively, being able to hold yourself in a better posture and relieving tension from a variety of muscles throughout the body.
- Breath Management
When singing in a choir, it is vital that there is a nice strong sound all the time. As singers, we know that this strength in the sound comes from good breath management. Particularly in choir rehearsals, there is an emphasis on stagger breathing, where you learn to breathe at different points in the song, compared to the person standing next to you to keep the nice, strong and consistent sound going. As a result of this training, you will find that your capacity for how much air you can hold will increase, and the way you manage the air in your singing will improve.
To ensure that our instrument is functioning most effectively, we need to learn how to use correct posture for singing. This correct posture ensures that we are nice and aligned, distributing our weight evenly throughout the body. Not only does good posture help to create a professional look for the choir, but it is also good for avoiding back problems and unwanted stress on other parts of the body.
- Muscle Tension
As humans, muscle tension is inevitable. As vocalists, we use our whole bodies as our instrument and so keeping the whole body nice and free and relaxed is a major part of a singers’ training. When you combine a good vocal warm-up, followed by good singing technique and posture, a lot of this muscle tension can be alleviated. If these things are regularly done correctly, people can avoid unwanted stress on the muscles in different parts of the body, improving daily life.
There are many benefits of singing in a choir, and they aren’t just limited to being an awesome time socially. So why not give it a try? The Sono Music Vocal Ensemble rehearses weekly On Thursday from 8-9pm. We’d love you to come and join us!