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I'm happy because I sing!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Here's an article I was recently asked to write for a magazine in the UK. I thought some of my SP friends might enjoy it.

SINGING IS GOOD FOR YOU

Today’s frantic lifestyle can make us easy prey to those pushing the latest health fad. Claims about the efficacy of super foods, supplements or exercise equipment have us clambering to the shops in the hope that the answer to all our ills has finally arrived.

Well stop right there! Put your money away and instead turn to something you’re probably doing already and possibly even unknowingly! In fact we’ve been doing it for thousands of years and we happily pay to witness other people doing it! Sadly it’s something most people get a bit coy about when doing it themselves but I hope to persuade you to give it a whirl again if you’ve lapsed.

In 1605 the Spanish writer Cervantes said, ‘He who sings frightens away his ills’. Yes, this miracle cure is singing! That might sound a bit far fetched but Cervantes isn’t the only historical figure to advocate singing for health. In his ‘Psalmes, Sonets, & Songs’ of 1588, the eminent English composer William Byrd offered eight reasons why people should learn how to sing. They include:

• The exercise of singing is delightfull to Nature & good to preserve the health of Man.
• It doth strengthen all the parts of the brest, & doth open the pipes.
• It is a singular good remedie for a stuttering & stammering in the speech.

The cynic might say that he was hoping to persuade more people to buy his music but research over the centuries has concurred with Byrd’s theories. The act of singing, even if you think you’re no good, can have multiple benefits both physical and psychological, especially if you do it with others. Choral singing has been proven to be particularly effective. The social aspect is uplifting, it relieves stress and leads to better sleep, it builds confidence and self-esteem and improves breathing. Research at the University of Manchester has discovered that the sacculus - an organ in the inner ear connected to the part of the brain which registers pleasure - is stimulated by low frequency, high intensity sounds such as singing within seconds of hearing that sound. No matter how you sound to others, singing improves your mood. As William James, the American psychologist and philosopher said, ‘I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing’. So why not give it a try and see for yourself how singing makes you feel?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOLAZYBUTT110 8/31/2011 9:51AM

    Someone sent me your blog. enjoyable! I do sing! and it has alway helped me get thru the bad days! It puts me somewhere else when I am sad, it makes me happy! You are so right! Recently I sang a solo for my church, for a full house of two congregations, and it was a great gift to others but also myself! Its nice to sing and know your singing is not only enjoyed but appreciated. So many came up to me afterwards and congratulated me on my performance. I never expected that, for I sing unto G*D and its the greatest gift I cna give to him! I know he appreciates my voice of praises! susana

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ELISADENK 8/30/2011 7:29PM

    emoticon

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MINIMOE1 8/30/2011 4:28PM

    Very interesting, well-written article, Maggie & so true. I can't imagine life without music & singing - it's been a saviour many times over.

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INFLATED 8/30/2011 11:57AM

    I am alone in my house many, many hours. I sing and I have always enjoyed it. A teacher gave a song book to me when I was in the fourth grade. I cherished it and would go through it and sing every song I knew. I never learned to read music, but that has never stopped me from singing.

Now I like to sing the old hymns and may sing two or three each morning. It seems my day goes better when I sing to the Lord.

I enjoyed your blog.

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INFLATED 8/30/2011 11:56AM

    I am alone in my house many, many hours. I sing and I have always enjoyed it. A teacher gave a song book to me when I was in the fourth grade. I cherished it and would go through it and sing every song I knew. I never learned to read music, but that has never stopped me from singing.

Now I like to sing the old hymns and may sing two or three each morning. It seems my day goes better when I sing to the Lord.

I enjoyed your blog.

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INFLATED 8/30/2011 11:55AM

    I am alone in my house many, many hours. I sing and I have always enjoyed it. A teacher gave a song book to me when I was in the fourth grade. I cherished it and would go through it and sing every song I knew. I never learned to read music, but that has never stopped me from singing.

Now I like to sing the old hymns and may sing two or three each morning. It seems my day goes better when I sing to the Lord.

I enjoyed your blog.

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FENWAYGIRL18 8/30/2011 11:50AM

    i agree singing makes me happy emoticon

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HARTKITTY 8/30/2011 11:39AM

    I so agree

I Whistle a Happy Tune Lyrics from the King and I

[ANNA]

Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I'm afraid.

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows
I'm afraid.

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!

I whistle a happy tune
And ev'ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

[LOUIS]

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows,
I'm afraid.

[LOUIS AND ANNA]

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!

I whistle a happy tune
And ev'ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are....


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