This relatively small time commitment can offer big payoffs of a different kind -says Jaime Babbitt.
I know you’re all so busy living the dream regarding your singing careers. Booking gigs, meeting connected people, collecting Twitter followers and all that, but have you ever sung in a choir?
Have you ever lifted your gorgeous voice with lots of other gorgeous voices in a big beautiful room and felt the power, mojo and joy? If you have, you know. If you haven’t, consider taking a little time from your hectic life;
1. Your Chops Will Improve
Sometimes you’ll be… wait for it… reading music! Nice collective gasp I just heard from you rock singers. Bet you wish you’d kept up those piano lessons as a kid, huh? Don’t worry. Lots of choirs, like Nashville in Harmony, the one I’m in, perform simple contemporary selections and don’t have super-strict audition requirements. Some choirs even create mp3’s of the parts and practice at home.
Take this opportunity to train your ear, learn how to sing a harmony part (and hold on to it), and get used to being a fabulous vocal blender (blend is the whole point of choir singing). Learning to maneuver your voice around gives you more colors for your vocal palette.
2. Your Brain Will Remain Active
Learning new songs and making new musical memories is a great investment in your brain’s future. Neuroscientists have shown that musical memories engage broader neural pathways than other types of memories. That’s why hearing an old song can flood you with very specific emotions and visual cues. Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients routinely remember songs from their youth and it’s a beautiful phenomenon to witness (see my article on singing in nursing homes).
Additionally, doctors are now finding that singers have more circuit connections between the right and left sides of their brains than non-singers. Memorizing words (left brain function) and music (right brain function) could keep those nerve cells and synapses in excellent working order and that means more invigorating life experiences!
3. Your Heart Will Soar!
I mean that both physically and emotionally. Firstly, singing is a bit of an aerobic workout. As you repeatedly inhale and exhale, your blood and muscles get oxygenated. Studies show that “feel-good” hormones like endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin are being manufactured at a higher level than when not singing! As these hormones increase, you feel happier; it’s like you ate a hot fudge sundae without having to worry about burning off the calories.
I can say from personal experience that being one of 150 voices banding together for common joy has brought me exhilaration I’d not felt in all my years of singing.
So sing. Sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out strong.
Jaime Babbitt is an-in demand voice teacher / vocal coach, session singer and performer who started as a Musical Director for Disney Records. Believing that no two singers are alike, Jaime assesses each client, providing personalized vocal tips and techniques relevant to their specific material for real-world application. Check out her book, Working with Your Voice. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org