Singing is one of those talents that everyone wishes they possessed. There’s something really satisfying about being able to belt out a solid note on command or to drop jaws at a karaoke night.
Unfortunately for many of us, we get taught that we can’t sing and that it’s better for us to politely step aside when the microphone comes our way. We get obsessed with the idea that unless we have a five octave range, we’re not cut out to sing.
However, this is the big secret. Everyone can sing, it just takes practice.
We see the end result of practice all time, when we listen to any singer we admire, but we never see the hours spent doing vocal exercises or rehearsals. We get obsessed with the idea of talent as an innate thing but not the work to get there.
Performing vocal exercises can be a dull task however. Spending that time by yourself, repeating the same things over and over again but this is where a choir comes in! Learning to sing is much more fun in a group. It breaks up the monotony and it gives you an insight into how other people’s voices sound and how your voice fits into the wider scale of the choir.
Joining a choir like Bigmouth also means getting access to someone who knows how to teach singing. A great teacher knows how to tailor their teaching to suit the individual, and work with you to bring out the best in your voice. Being part of a group also gives you the confidence to give it your all, as any off-notes are hidden by the mass of others.
If you’d like to give it a try, BIGMOUTH Chorus meets Tuesday evening from 7.30pm-9.30pm on these dates at Walpole Bay Hotel
If you’d have said the word ‘choir’ a few years ago, you’d expect eye-rolling or a glaze to fog up people’s eyes but in the last decade, choirs have taken on a very different tone (no pun intended). In the last ten years, Choirs have become cool.
Instead of focusing strictly on gospel affair, there’s been a swell of interest in choirs catering to more modern tastes, like Bigmouth Chorus and en Choir in Whitstable, covering rock, pop and soul songs with the power and versatility of a choir. It’s estimated that about 2.8 MILLION Brits have joined a choir, no doubt inspired by the shift in focus from classic music to more accessible genres. In fact, it’s not even unheard of for choir acts to find their way onto TV talent shows such as X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent.
Until this recent resurgence, many were put off by the idea of frilly shirts and religious themes but as the door to the choral world opens, the fun side is on show. Gone are the formalities of traditional choirs (jeans and t-shirts are fine) and hymns (rock, pop and soul are the order of business). Singing in a group creates a kind of euphoric high, especially when you love the music being sung. It’s almost impossible to come along to a Bigmouth rehearsal and not find at least one song you love, and with an ever-growing list of songs arranged by our fearless leader Emily Peasgood, it’s only a matter of time before your favourite song gets the choral treatment.
This sharing of songs we love is a massive part of the community aspect of choirs. It’s the same kind of joy we find when we send songs to a friend and find out they love it too. Sometimes, singing in a group changes our opinion of songs, giving us a strong, positive memory attached to them.
Singing in a choir helps us tap into those skills we cherished so much as children, it encourages our sense of creativity, as well as bringing us together with like-minded people. A major reason people are joining is the sense of community. Joining a community choir is an easy way to meet and share interests with dozens of people, as well as developing a fun and highly sought-after talent.
We’ll go more into some of the benefits of a choir in the next few weeks, as we get ready for our new term.
Some weeks ago we looked into how singing in a choir could help us to psychologically feel better within ourselves and improve our sense of wellbeing. This week we are going to delve into the physiological side of the argument; coming hand in hand with mental wellbeing, our physical health can be hugely impacted by singing in a choir, so here are just some of the benefits. Firstly, whilst “Exercise is one of the few activities in life that is indisputably good for us,” Daniel H. Pink tells us in his book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.” “Choral singing might be the new exercise.” It is thought that the practice of singing can increase your lung capacity, regulate your heart beat and increase the rate of release of endorphins (happy hormones). Research undertaken by Cardiff University even uncovered a secret within singing that could improve symptoms of lung cancer and Parkinson’s. A Music Professor Brenville Hancox “established, Skylarks, a choir aimed at people with Parkinson’s Disease. One of the participants in the choir explained how his voice had been strengthened, despite receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s five years earlier. Reasons for the improvement have been suggested as deep breathing and the extended use of the vocal chords.” Add all these impressive health benefits to those psychological benefits we discussed previously and singing in a choir sounds like a fantastic idea! You can give it a try at a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.
Sources: CNBC, CMUSE, The Telegraph
Background reading: City Academy, BBC iWonder
Did you know that singing in a choir makes you feel better in yourself? Now, we’re biased, of course, but let’s have a look at some research from those who aren’t. Research published by the University of Oxford and the Cambridge University Press has shown that “people feel more positive after actively singing than they do after passively listening to music or after chatting about positive life events.” The researchers have put this down to the release of ‘happy’ hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine as well as reducing stress and decreasing blood pressure. Even a journalist from the Independent, Simmy Richman, who was invited to join Chaps Choir for a time to experience this first hand said that, “seeing the effect everyone’s voices were having left me quite overcome” and went as far as to say that he noticed his, “four-year-old son has been told that he can come and watch me sing and his excitement is contagious. It occurs to me how little our children see of us outside of our role as their parents. When we go out to work, we close the door on them or drop them off at school. They have little or no tangible idea of what it is we do when we get there. The knowledge that my son will see me in an entirely fresh context, taking my part in a public performance, makes me realise, momentarily, what it must feel like for the David Beckhams of this world. Hey kiddo, this is just one of the things your old man can do. Come and watch.” Sound interesting? Why not put the research to the test yourself and come for a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.
Research: University of Oxford, Cambridge University Press, The Independent.