Singing as Therapy

Raising the spirits without resorting to spirits

carol singers
Carol singers

I belong to a local singing group: nothing fancy, just a singalong. Some weeks, I ask myself if I can be bothered to turn out – especially when I’m busy or put off by the weather we’ve been having lately here in the East of England. When I do go, I’m always pleased that I made the effort. Nothing lifts the spirits quite like a singalong.

Apparently it’s something to do with stimulating the vagus nerve.

The singing group I used to belong to had no accompanist but we sang a cappella, learning our lines guided by one finger picking them out on a keyboard at rehearsals. I have always loved harmonising and often make up my own harmonies, although my vocal range isn’t wide. (I’m almost alto but struggle a bit with the higher notes).

That singing group folded when our leader moved away and none of us were brave enough to take up the baton. With nothing else local at a time I can manage, I joined a singalong at a local church hall. I turn up when I can and just join in. I harmonise if I want to (nobody can hear me when I go wrong) and may start off a song at one pitch, drop an octave when I can’t reach the high notes and return to the original pitch when the notes get too low to sing. (I did mention, didn’t I, that my range isn’t wide).

Both groups sing (sang) at local care homes and events. For this one, we sign up if we can go along, which does take off any pressure when I can’t. The a cappella group was small, with few altos, and if I couldn’t turn up for singing commitments – or even for rehearsals – I would feel guilty. I regularly miss sessions now because of monthly meetings, hubby’s appointments, and trips away. It is reassuring to know I won’t be leaving anyone in the lurch, but I do miss the harmonies and hearing my contribution to them.

But I’ve discovered that even turning up to open my mouth and belt out a tune is enough to brighten the day.

I’m not one for singing in the shower (it seems so LOUD) but I have started singing out when my walk with the dogs is solo and takes me around deserted fields.

Didn’t it feel good singing those Christmas carols?

It isn’t just the season. At any time of year (any time of day) don’t miss out on an opportunity to massage that vagus nerve,

bird singing

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What cheers you up?

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11 thoughts on “Singing as Therapy

  1. I find singing very therapeutic, lifts my spirit. My Mum played the piano for many groups and belonged to a local singing group. She loved going into the care homes to entertain. I sing along in bed to You Tube songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On New Year’s Eve we were at an event with a tribute singer. He had the right quality of voice for the singer he was emulating, and managed to hit the high notes, but sadly lost his way coming down the scale.
      I had to admire the confidence with which he belted out the wrong notes, and we all had a good time dancing to the beat. Happy New Year to you too, Suzanne. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely subject to write on!
    I’ve been singing since I was very young. To get away from the abuse I’d go into my bedroom and play my records as loud as I could to drown out the chaos inside my head.
    My voice wasn’t all that great when I first started singing, but with time, I’ve managed to cultivate a pretty decent voice.
    I’ve belonged to a number of choirs in churches I’ve attended. In one choir I belonged to, I was told that I’m a second alto. Wow! I couldn’t believe it! Only one other woman in the choir was second alto. It was a bit embarrassing for me, especially when it came for both of us to sing a part for only the second altos in the group. I was deathly afraid to be heard. It was crazy.
    I used to laugh with her and say we ought to have our own singing group and call us, ‘The Singing Sensations of Fergie and Froggie.’
    In this last church, I had been going to for close to 4 years, I stopped being so shy with my voice and during the worship part of the service I’d belt out as loud as I could. Each time I belted out the songs, I became less shy about my voice. Maybe that’s why they finally told me to leave and not come back. No, that’s not the reason.
    Anyway, I sing everywhere in my apartment. In the shower, while my cat’s trying to rest. She just gives me this dead look. I figure as long as she doesn’t try to run away!
    Remember when I mentioned that I’ve been told I’m a second alto? Well, practically the only singer I can sing along comfortably with is Barry White. His voice was very deep and rich. If I’m singing along with anyone else, I have to strain to get (even a little bit) higher.
    Someday I would love to take singing lessons to work on my range and projection.
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And to you too. My range is low alto, but I don’t have that rich ‘boom’ that a proper contralto has. But I can harmonise without having to think about it. I’m just a backing singer with a limited range. But it still feels good. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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