Whether it’s carols or karaoke, this is the perfect time of year to sing your heart out! All together now… fa la la la la!
- Professor Tom Shakespeare collaborates with the Sing Your Heart Out Project.
- Dr Jacques Lornay is an expert on Music Psychology and lecturer at Brunel University.
It will give you festive feels
‘You are joining with other people and you are probably having a mince pie, plus there’s something very relaxing about everybody singing together, even if you haven’t got the best voice in the world,’ says Tom. ‘And we can all remember singing as children, and those warm feelings of nostalgia it brings up are good for us, and can lower feelings of anxiety.’
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Carol singing is easy
‘The good thing about carols is that you probably know most of them already anyway, so it’s easier to just join in,’ says Tom. ‘You don’t have to worry about reading music, you don’t have to learn anything by heart, it’s a one-off performance when all that matters is taking part. Nobody will be judging you, even if you just mumble in the bottom register you will still have fun.’
Singing is good for your lungs
‘Patients consistently report singing for breathing helps them cope with their lung condition better,’ says Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, a respiratory medicine expert from Imperial College London. ‘The festive singing season is the perfect opportunity for those living with a lung condition to join a group and do some indoor carol singing. It’s a fun way to socialise and exercise your lungs.’
Singing builds your confidence
‘Singing, whether it’s in a choir or just turning up in your local church or town centre to join in with some carols will give you a real confidence boost,’ says Tom. ‘It’s a very accepting, easy way to take part in music – we all know some carols, so we can just join in, there’s no pressure on it at all, you don’t have to rehearse towards some performance, you can just enjoy yourself.’
Singing makes you feel less lonely
‘Singing in a group is really beneficial for your health and wellbeing because it reduces feelings of loneliness. It makes you feel less stressed, and knowing more people – even just to say hello to them on the street – will really boost your mood,’ says Jacques.
It boosts your connections to others
‘Singing is connected to talking, but if you are in a group of 100 people, you can’t talk properly to each of them,’ says Jacques. ‘But you could sing with them, and you would instantly feel connected to all of those people. That was helpful for our ancestors, to help them feel part of their tribe, to help them protect and support each other. This is especially important at Christmas time. We also do this at sports matches, or at events where we sing the national anthem. It brings up a shared culture.’
You can do it anywhere
‘Even if you are simply singing away in the kitchen while getting dinner, you are breathing deeply and relaxing, and so you are getting the benefits,’ says Tom. ‘There is even value in singing on your own, in the car, shower, or bath – it’s a good form of expression and exercise.’
The British Lung Foundation’s Festive five
These songs give the best lung workout – and are easiest to sing!
- Silent Night
- Winter Wonderland
- White Christmas
- When a Child is Born
- Let it Snow
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