I really am the worst person to talk to about Valentine's Day. Yes, I'm happily married, but my husband and I have never celebrated on the 14th February. We just can't be bothered with all the hype, so instead of thinking about humans loving other humans, I thought I'd use the approach of this romantic day to think about my love of singing and why I think everyone should give this relationship a go!
Singing Goes With You Everywhere
Wherever you go in the world, your voice goes with you. Even if you go abroad and don't understand the same language, you can break down boundaries with a common song. When I was on a French exchange at school, my partner and I bonded over singing along to a Destiny's Child concert she had on DVD, even when we struggled to understand each other in our stilted French/English.
Connecting With Lyrics
Sometimes when you listen to a song it can be easy to miss the meaning of it all, particularly if it has a really catchy melody or you're blown away by the performer's vocals. When you learn a song and learn the lyrics, you start to really understand what the artist has actually written and connect to it on a much deeper level. Great lyricists are like poets and it's a joy to perform their work.
I don't know what it is about singing, but it has a way of really releasing emotion. Have you ever felt a bit rubbish, but then sing along to a really happy song and immediately start to feel better? Basement Jaxx - Do Your Thing does it for me! Or on the opposite end of the scale, it can feel really freeing to just belt out a heartbreaking song and let the tears flow. Cue that Bridget Jones scene when she mimes along to All By Myself. If you're a singer/songwriter, writing and singing about how you're feeling can be so healing.
If you're not singing in a high pressure environment, such as a concert or show, but rather in your shower or bedroom, it has been proven that singing is great for stress relief. A study undertaken in 2017 showed that the level of cortisol (stress hormone) present in a person's saliva reduced after they had been singing. Cool huh? The key here is to sing with no pressure, so sing songs you know really well that you enjoy. Don't try something that you know you find difficult, unless you're going to sing it with no judgement. For example, I love singing along to Dreamgirls and just not caring whether I sound like Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce or not. It's just fun.
Improved Lung Function
Singers are encouraged to take deep breaths and learn to control the muscles in the respiratory system, which can only be a good thing. So often in life our breathing can become shallow due to stress or anxiety, so singing is a great reminder to breath deeply and relax a little bit. It's worth saying here, that it's good practice to do some breath exercises before singing, just to remind the body what it's supposed to be doing otherwise we could end up taking the shallow breathing into our singing work. I'm also not a doctor, so not going to say singing helps cure any lung related illnesses!! It's just good to get that natural tidal breathing going.