Health Benefits of Singing
Singing is an exhilarating activity; a creative experience which improves mood by producing a hormonal high in the majority of participants. It encourages wellbeing by providing the opportunity for self-expression and is a great way to release emotional and physical tensions.
Physical Benefits of Singing
Singing improves your posture
To get the best out of your voice you need to be standing or sitting correctly. So with time, good posture will become a habit! Warm up exercises for singing may also focus on relieving tension in your shoulders, neck, jaw and tongue base. This is fantastic for relieving some of the aches and pains associated with everyday parenting like baby-carrying, breastfeeding, bending over cot rails, lifting car seats, pushing a pushchair, and clenching your jaw to remain patient through toddler tantrums!
Singing is a workout
Singing can be an excellent form of exercise, especially postpartum. Breathing will improve, core muscles will be engaged, your lungs will get a workout and your circulation will be stimulated. The deep controlled breathing associated with singing has been described to counteract stress and give a sense of fitness.
Singing strengthens the immune system
According to research, singing boosts the immune system. Studies tested professional choir members’ blood before and after an hour-long singing rehearsal. The researchers noticed that in most cases, the amount of proteins in the immune system that function as antibodies were significantly higher immediately after the rehearsal. The same increases were not observed after the choir members passively listened to music.
Singing helps with sleep
Experts believe singing can help strengthen throat and palate muscles, which helps stop snoring and sleep apnea. If you’re familiar with these ailments, you know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep! We're not sure it will do much for monsters in the night or the need for that extra 3am feed, but we can try!
Psychological & Emotional Benefits of Singing
Singing is a natural anti-depressant
Singing is known to release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical. Perceived benefits of singing include reduction of negative feelings, such as despair, depression and loneliness. Concentrations of Oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’, known for its multiple positive psychological effects influencing social behaviour and emotion) increase significantly when we sing. Oxytocin has been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety, increase trust, improve relaxation, and even increase romantic attachment(!)
In addition, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing. The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like. Not only that, but singing can simply take your mind off the day’s troubles to boost your mood.
Singing lowers stress levels
Making music in any form is relaxing. Singing releases stored muscle tension and decreases the levels of a stress hormone, cortisol, in your bloodstream. The requirement for focused attention can help participants to block personal preoccupations with sources of worry, promoting relaxation and the relief of stress.
Singing improves mental alertness
Improved blood circulation and an oxygenated blood stream allow more oxygen to reach the brain. This improves mental alertness, concentration, and memory.
Social Benefits of Singing
Singing can widen your circle of friends
Singing can improve your social life. There’s a natural level of intimacy involved in singing together, so the bonds you form with those you sing with can be profound. Singing in a group with others is an intrinsically social activity, involving processes of co-operation and co-ordination. Regular commitment to attend sessions motivates people to avoid being physically inactive. The social support and friendly relationships made through becoming an active member of a singing group promote a sense of wider ‘community’, social inclusion and belonging. Happiness indeed!
Singing boosts your confidence
Being petrified of singing aloud and others actually hearing you is a common feeling for new singers. However, performing well and receiving praise from your friends and family may be the key to eventually overcoming your fears and boosting your self-confidence. The cognitive stimulation of learning new music offers a challenging and worthwhile activity, helping to keep the mind active, giving many participants a great sense of achievement.
Singing broadens communication skills
Parents have been singing to their children for generations. Brain scans have proven that when we hear singing, the language centre in the brain lights up. Singing to babies helps prepare their brains for language. A tune and a rhythm repeated over helps children to learn words – this is fundamental to language development. Singing to your child (and with your child when they are able) is also incredible for building the bond between you.
Melody Mums and post-natal depression (PND)
Melody Mums draws on pioneering research carried out in 2016 by Royal College of Music and Imperial College.
Postnatal depression affects at least 13% of new mothers. Symptoms include persistent low mood, fatigue, insomnia, feelings of guilt and hopelessness, and anxiety about the baby. Although psychosocial and psychological interventions can be effective treatment options, there are significant problems with each. For example the compliance with taking antidepressants or concern around the stigma of disclosing mental health problems with a new baby can inhibit women from seeking help. With this in mind, an alternative creative intervention model has been developed.
The research found weekly engagement in singing classes for women with PND:
Results show that participation in such an intervention can lead to a 41% reduction in symptoms of PND and a recovery in 73% of mothers who take part.
Provides singing 'tools' for calming babies that help mothers feel more in control and capable.
Increases self-esteem and confidence in mothers through the learning of a new skill.
Supports mother-infant bonding, which can be adversely affected by PND. The negative impact can otherwise be detrimental long-term to the health of both mother and child.
Helps women to meet others. This reduces social isolation and enhances social support networks. This is significant in that most treatment pathways generally serve women individually.
Reduces stress and enhances wellbeing.
Singing each week with Melody Mums is fantastic for both you and your child physically, emotionally and socially.
GARRETT, C (February 2016)
LATHEY, N & BLAKE, T (June 2013) Small Talk: Simple Ways to Boost Your Child'sSpeech and Language Development from Birth.
Breathe Arts Health Research (2015)