Singing for my brain – how group singing is the best medicine!

I came across an old TIME magazine article today titled, ‘Singing changes your brain’  As someone susceptible to bouts of anxiety (who isn’t?!) I was intrigued.  I already knew that singing released endorphins and made me feel great, but I didn’t realise that a lot more happens too.

The article is geared towards group singing, something I am passionate about as I am currently leading a workplace choir designed for staff wanting to improve their health and wellbeing.  MusicForMy have arranged specific song requests for the choir so that staff have the added bonus of singing songs they love.

As it has been proven by lovely scientists, I can confidently say that singing improves your health as a result of releasing the following happy hormones;

Endorphins – make us happy and reduce pain

Dopamine – makes us feel good

Serotonin – improves our mood

Oxytocin – the ‘love’ hormone, helps us bond with other lovely people

If you thought that was it, you’d be wrong!  Singing with others also reduces Cortisol which is the nasty hormone that causes stress.  So it’s proven, singing creates the right balance of hormones in our bodies that reduce stress and anxiety levels.  As well as gaining this by singing in the car, singing in a workplace choir can make a real difference to how we engage in our jobs.  This is where MusicForMy can help, so contact us today if you would like to inject some musical happiness into your workplace.

Group singing is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and certainly more fun than working out.  It is the one thing in life where feeling better is pretty much guaranteed.  Even if you walked into rehearsal exhausted and depressed, by the end of the night you’ll walk out high as a kite on endorphins and good will. – TIME


My favourite dress

My favourite dress is a fabulous sequin number I originally bought for my wedding day. I knew that I wanted to wear a different outfit in the evening and I knew that I wanted sequins. As someone who tries to be frugal, I justified the additional expense as it is the perfect performance dress.

Audiences can be fickle. When entering that stage, you want to immediately grab their attention. A dress made of hundreds of little mirrors paired with super trooper spot lighting is something your audience are going to find hard to miss. And then you will have them in the palm of your hand ready to be wowed by your performance. A sequin dress is a powerful tool for a performer.

This sequin dress of mine is one that I feel invincible in. It is my armour. It protects me from my nerves and gives me confidence. This dress makes me feel amazing which enables me to give the best performance I possibly can.

It is my favourite dress.

Why practice makes (nearly*) perfect

I have never been good at practicing. When I was younger and progressing through the ABRSM grades, I found every excuse not to practice. It was around the millenium and Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a very tempting distraction. But I soon learnt that practice does indeed make (nearly*) perfect and it really is worth putting the effort in.

When we sing, whatever we sing, it should feel effortless. We shouldn’t be worrying about the words, or the notes, or the technique as our full concentration should be on the performance. Practice is the only way to get to this level.

There are many that say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to truly master a skill. Just look at Beyoncé. She is the queen of practice and the result is the amazing performance she is able to give each and every time she is on stage. She commands that stage. She commands that stage because she never stops practicing. And the great thing is that practice is something everyone can do. It takes no money or pre-existing talent, it just takes a bit of time. But as the saying goes, You have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé.

Tips to help with practice

1. Set achievable goals – you won’t be Beyoncé tomorrow if you have only started today. Baby steps.
2. Build practice into your daily routine – do some warm up scales while making your breakfast, or driving to work.
3. Ramp up your practice before a performance and do a rekkie of the venue beforehand – you want to remove all other worries before a performance, so a practice of navigating backstage will focus your concentration on the performance.

*There is no such thing as a perfect performance, so stop worrying that it has to be!  That’s a subject for another blog.