Tuesday, 1 April 2014


I have always said that singing and music makes you cleverer, happier and healthier and when you watch choirs in schools, at concerts or on the TV you see the power of singing. Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, has studied developmental and medical aspects of singing for 30 years: "The health benefits of singing are both physical and psychological. Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting.Singing has psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together as well as alone because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour."

Regular exercising of the vocal cords can even prolong life, according to research done by leading vocal coach and singer Helen Astrid, from The Helen Astrid Singing Academy in London. "It’s a great way to keep in shape because you are exercising your lungs and heart. Not only that, your body produces ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins, which rush around your body when you sing. It’s exactly the same when you eat a bar of chocolate. The good news with singing is that you don’t gain any calories! Not only can it increase lung capacity, it improves posture, clears respiratory tubes and sinuses, and can increase mental alertness through greater oxygenation. It even tones the muscles of your stomach and back, that is if you’re singing correctly."

There’s a huge amount of evidence now from all over the world that singing improves the intelligence and wellbeing of children; it actually helps your brain work better. A lot of research clearly shows that the brain is much more complex than we thought it was and that particularly for young children, when their brains are developing, music and singing in particular actually helps your brain wire better, helps your memory work better and simply makes you feel good. The best schools, the best learning places; places where brilliant learning thrives and children do best at literacy, numeracy and develop wonderful personal learning skills, are very often places where there is lots of singing going on and lots of music and arts activity. There's no question about it, and it's what I've known for many years, the arts are one of the keys to releasing the magic in our little learners. So it's 'every child a singer' now!

Looks like we should all join a choir!

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