By Brother Al
In fact, once too many, we find people and eventually ourselves too, shelling out some cash for this ministry. We sweat it out, we defer going home to attend the Saturday rehearsal, thus we go home very late afterwards; and what do we get? We get famished. We get so tired out. Get subjected to tantrums of the choir director perhaps. :) Seriously now, "What's in there for me?" one might ask. Well, read on.
We develop healthier lungs (elevate our stress coping meter).
Learning to negotiate very long passages in one breath can be very good for the lungs. We learn to inhale deeper, thus filling every nook and cranny of our breathing apparatus. It is very important to really pump up the lungs, so the experts say. Personally I notice singers breathe remarkably slower than the non-singers. I really did some watching and realized that the breathing exercises can really enhance the way one uses the organ. In fact, it is encouraged to breathe deeply and slowly. It can be learned actually and become an acquired habit. It is indeed good for you.
We get in better shape (exude a vision of confidence and health).
As choristers, we find it very vital to sit and stand properly. For sure, your choir conductor had encouraged you to acquire the habit. And if you are one to most likely heed his advice, you can be observed to stand more impressively, sit without slouching, and walk elegantly-all images of health and confidence. If only for these things, choir is worth all the trouble.
We elevate our singing prowess (learn many things and benefit from them).
As days and months pass, we notice development in our singing proficiency. Non-singers tend to tire up easily as they sing. Notice also that they frequently "trip over" the fast songs; they occasionally cough here and there, or altogether stop in the middle of singing. The singers, having been exposed to varying speeds of songs, reading music and lyrics at the same time, build up stamina and cope up more easily than the average individual. On top of that, did you notice that singers have a more commanding voice and a more polished vocabulary?
Once in a while, one needs to express himself and "de-stress", especially after spending a week in front of a monitor, or of scanning heaps of prescribed school reading, or simply for sitting through hours of traffic on the way to school or work. We need to "let off steam," but of course, in a positive way. Singing out loud in the vocalization routines is good enough. And songs, having "peaks of emotion" at one or two places will bring the singer to an elevated sphere where he somehow finds release from the gathering burnout.
We get to cultivate an intimate circle of friends or "family" (positive emotional involvement).
As we huddle, and labor, and perform together, asking and giving each other support and know-how, we get attached to each other on a deeper level. Thus, meaningful relationships (no pun intended, really) result. It is very much anticipated that everyone eventually opens up to one another, thus, breaking the walls of animosity and self-consciousness.
We go through the week with a new song in our hearts (people with music in their hearts tend to work more efficiently and productively).
I remembered an officemate way, way back. She sings and hums all day long as she breezes through her work. She is a Christian after all, and a part-time singer at her church choir. She brings the sunshine in the otherwise drab office we happened to work in. There is an innate smile to her countenance, bless her.
We feel better spiritually (seeing we have served the Lord).
Ask any choir member what makes him/her remain in the singing ministry. Most likely, many of them will cite the spiritual benefits they gain. "It's a great thing to serve the Lord, walking in the light of God." So goes one famous praise and worship song. It is a booster actually. Knowing in your heart that somehow, you have given back to the Lord something out of His many blessings to us.
If you will notice, singing blesses the choristers (and all regular singers as well) threefold. Our first four advantages address the physical; fourth and fifth attend to our emotional well-being; and finally the spiritual blessings as told in the final two.
Finally, being able to perform in front of people develops stage presence which can be very useful in one's performance in school or workplace as I have observed the young people who are active in church ministries like the choir perform better in academics.
How Singing Helps Heal the Body and Soul
Put Your Troubles Behind You by Singing
Music has been around for centuries because it touches each and every one of us in a unique way. Whether we relate to the words of a song, or we just enjoy the tempo of a particular piece, music is a necessary part of many peoples' lives. It goes without saying, then, that singing is also an intricate part of many lives. Whether you sing in the shower, sing along with your car radio, or just hum to a favorite tune, you are actually healing your body and spirit. That's right. Music and singing soothes the soul, improves our moods, and generally contributes towards making us well and whole.
For almost as long as mankind has been on earth there has been music. Everyone knows that music can make us cry, make us smile, or help us to relax. But did you know that scientific studies have now proven that music can actually contribute towards healing processes in our minds and bodies? Singing, in particular, has a way of helping heal. When singing your body is also taking in more oxygen, increasing lung capacity, toning abdominal muscles, tightening the diaphragm, and improves circulation. Who knew that a song, often sung out of tune, could give so many benefits?
You don't necessarily have to sing alone to get the full healing benefits. Singing in a choir, for example, can not only make you feel better emotionally, but can help you feel closer to the other members and your community as well. Having this connection with others sometimes gives the singer even more healing powers. Not only are they hearing the others' voices, and pleasure is derived from that, but they are also feeling like a part of something larger and more beautiful than their own voice.
Listening to music is a great way to pass time, and it has its own healing qualities, but when you sing your mind concentrates on the words and music and forgets anything else that is troubling you. You may say that's just a temporary fix, then, but it's actually more than that. When your mind forgets its troubles it relaxes and regroups. A relaxed mind is more apt to handle the day-to-day grind.
Sometimes we are so worried or stressed that it's impossible to relax. Not true when you sing. Make yourself start singing and you'll be amazed at how quickly you got the troubles off your mind and a smile on your face.
The type of music you choose, of course, has a great deal to do with how you'll feel and heal. Choose upbeat songs, tunes that remind you of the good ol' days, or songs that remind you of friends and family. When using singing to heal avoid crying-in-your-beer songs that can make you feel worse.
Today's technology makes it easy to locate specific songs you like, download them to computer or i-pod, and begin the healing process. Or, just go to the nearest stereo and turn it on. Find a song you can sing along with and let 'er rip. Don't worry about how you sound, or if you've forgotten the lyrics. Just go with the flow and you'll soon be feeling so much better. The more often you sing the sooner you'll be rid of your troubles! Even if you feel you don't sing well, do it anyway! Singing along with the radio or a cd can hide imperfections in your voice. Try to sing like them or just do your own thing along with the music. Either way you are improving yourself. The emotional benefits alone can make you want to sing all the time.
Singing eases tension in the brain and muscles. It has a calming, relaxing quality that will give your body and mind temporary peace. As a matter of fact, many people use music to relieve the effects of a hard day or to forget about something that made them angry. Music has the power to do all of that and more.
If you don't generally sing in the shower try it. Showers have a way of making most any voice tolerable, if not beautiful. The confined area makes like a sound booth. The pleasure center of the brain finds comfort from the sounds of singing - even if it's off-key. Sing your heart out in the shower every morning and you'll find yourself actually feeling happy on the way to work.
Songs from the Heart:
How Singing Can Brighten Your Day and Change Your Life
Throughout my life, I have often performed songs at many social events, including weddings, graduations and various social gatherings. I fondly recall the complements of the attendees in regard to my singing abilities. More often than not, these complements have been followed by such phrases as, "I can't carry a tune in a bucket", or, "I'd break glass if I tried to sing", etc. I am somewhat saddened to hear such comments, as singing is not only a fun and exhilarating pastime, but the health benefits on all levels, (spiritually, mentally and physically), are staggering.
Singing, whether one can carry a tune in a bucket notwithstanding, is an expression of the singer's soul. When we sing, we free our spirit to truly express itself at the deepest possible level. Singing is an expression of our own unique essence. Songs convey emotions that normal speech simply cannot. Why else would we have musical themes for high school proms, struggle to find the perfect wedding song, or recall so vividly the song we first danced to with our spouse? Songs are like treasure chests in which so many memories and milestones of our lives are safely and lovingly nestled.
Among other benefits, singing can:
Reduce stress. Have you ever noticed how much happier you feel while humming while wielding the broom in your kitchen, or belting out a favorite Broadway standard in the car or in the shower? Try the simple act of singing a favorite song or humming a beloved melody the next time you encounter a stressful situation, and notice the positive results upon your stress level.
Release anger. Why do you suppose angst ridden rock bands are so popular? One reason is due to the simple fact that they channel all our bottled-up anger and frustration into tangible, memorable songs, which we can purchase on CD or download to our computers. When we join in with the raucous chorus of such a song, we allow ourselves to get angry... to truly feel and then release those emotions, if only for that four or five minute interlude while the song plays. But the point is that we're allowing ourselves, if only briefly, to deal with our anger in some way that can begin to facilitate our healing process.
Help us better communicate with others. Singing is a surefire way to express ourselves when nothing else can. After all, why else would those late-evening love song radio shows be so popular? We dedicate songs to loved ones because music, and singing, expresses our emotions in ways that words alone simply cannot. As the late singer and songwriter Jim Croce once sang, "I'll Have to Say I Love You In a Song."
Soothe our souls. We sing to our children to help them drift into Dreamland each night. Why not also use that same process for ourselves? The act of softly singing can decrease our heart rate, lower our blood pressure and put us into a more peaceful frame of mind.
Make us happy! The act of singing can lighten a heavy mood, put a smile on our faces and make us far more at ease. Have you ever noticed that, when your day is going badly and a favorite song comes on the radio, you automatically feel a little better?
Transform us in some profound way. Some people claim that hearing a particular song changed their lives. People have often told stories of how, on the verge of suicide, a certain song has helped them to completely reevaluate their lives. Particular songs can cause us to fall in love, change locations, or grow spiritually, as well.
Bring us closer to God. Singing a favorite hymn, or performing a well-loved chant, can bring about a reverent and contemplative atmosphere in which to engage in communion with God / Goddess / Spirit.
A song performed most notably by the late Cass Elliot, encourages, "Make your own kind of music, sing your own special song." I fervently believe that each of us is a unique being, beloved by our Creator, each with our own special purpose and each with a wonderful song in our hearts. The act of singing allows us the wonderful opportunity to free our hearts to soar. It allows the windows onto our soul to open wide, showing us the radiance of our own spirit. Today, why not sing your own special song, and watch all the joys and benefits of singing have their effect in your life?