People who regularly sing in choirs know that singing is fun but research has also shown that singing is good for you both physically and psychologically. And this is true whatever level you sing at. It is the act of singing not the stye or level of singing that is beneficial for both mind and body.
Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London who has studied the developmental and medical aspects of singing for 30 years says:
“Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting. Singing has psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together as well as alone because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour.”
Singing is good for you and it may help you to live longer
A joint Harvard and Yale study has also shown that singing may also help you to live longer. Their report showed that “choral singing increased the life expectancy of the population of New Haven, Connecticut. The report concluded that this was because singing promoted both a healthy heart and an enhanced mental state”.
If you don’t feel ready to join a local choir or singing group on a regular basis then why not start by going on a singing holiday. A singing holiday not only gives you the chance to enjoy the pleasure of singing with other people but it also gives you the chance to explore the local area and experience the culture and cuisine.
Find a singing holiday that suits you
See below for some singing holidays in a range of musical genres and for different levels of ability/experience. May be there will be one that inspires you to test out the theory that singing is good for you.
Singing Holidays offers a range of singing holidays from vintage swing to musical theatre and from folk to classical. Because they are based in Umbria many of Singing Holidays courses are in Italy but they also have courses in other European cities and even further afield in New York for their music theatre singing holiday (note that this is due to take place in November 2017 but it is now sold out.)
Authentic Holidays has been organising acapella group holidays since 2003. Their professional tutors believe that everyone, no matter what their level of skill, can enjoy the thrill of singing in harmony. Their singing courses are very sociable and if you are travelling alone don’t worry because over 80% of their guests are single travellers. Authentic Holidays has built up a wide range of singing locations all over the world and you may get to sing in churches, by waterfalls, on mountain tops, in olive groves, on the beach or by a lake.
Run by Singers has been arranging singing holiday weeks and weekends since 2003. Their singing holidays are for individual singers, couples and groups of friends but most events are for experienced choral singers. Typically their singing holidays are abroad but there are always one or two in the UK. All of their singing holidays conclude with a concert in a prestigious location.
hfholidays singing holidays are all about having fun, meeting like-minded people and creating a beautiful sound. They all take place in a variety of locations in England and Wales including the Lake District, Brecon in mid Wales, the Peak District, the Yorkshire dales, the South Downs, the Isle of Wight. the Cotswolds and Somerset and Cornwall. And, you can choose from a range of singing holidays from choral singing, Bach to Bacharach and Gilbert and Sullivan to jazz and swing, African and gospel and simply singing for pleasure.
Sing Away – Singing Holidays are designed for people who want to get away to somewhere special (currently the UK, Portugal and Morocco) with a group of like-minded people to explore the joys of singing together. Teresa Verney who organises and leads the holidays says that if you can talk you can sing and will prove this when you join her on one the holidays.
Folk Singing Retreats offers weekend singing holidays in the UK. The retreats are open to both individual singers and musicians as well as established choirs and groups. The weekends incorporate focused workshops where the group learns acappella arrangements, singing technique and harmony skills. Whether you are a keen singer, musician, choir-goer or have always wanted to try singing, these retreats are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in music in a relaxed, friendly environment.
The Unthanks host six winter weekends of singing, eating and walking on the Northumberland coast. The all-inclusive weekends take place under one roof in a bunkhouse about a 10-minute walk from the fishing village of Seahouses. There are also a number of insulated modern wigwams for couples and small groups. The Unthanks are committed and passionate about teaching, sharing and living folk song. You don’t have to be an experienced singer to attend or enjoy the weekend and to discover why singing is good for you.
Some further reading on why singing is good for you
Singing changes your brain (Time website)
Singing is good medicine (Berkeley University of California Wellness website)
Does singing make you happy? (how stuff works website)
6 reasons to sing your heart out for health (active beat website)