Amateur SATB choir based in Fleet, Hampshire

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"The singer has everything within him. The notes come out from his very life.

They are not materials gathered from outside."  Rabindranath Tagore


Benefits of Singing

Not only is singing a great way to raise money, research shows that it's also good for your heart.


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 and he saysthe 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........



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When you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape. Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. It takes something incredibly intimate, a sound that begins inside you, shares it with a roomful of people and it comes back as something even more thrilling: harmony. So it’s not surprising that group singing is on the rise.


According to Chorus America, 32.5 million adults sing in choirs, up by almost 10 million over the past six years. Many people think  of church music when you bring up group singing, but there are over 270,000 choruses across the country and they include gospel groups to show choirs like the ones depicted in Glee to strictly amateur groups like Choir! Choir! Choir! singing David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World.



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After years of singing in the shower and warbling my way through karaoke duets, 18 months ago I finally joined a choir. Every Thursday evening, I head to a church hall in Marylebone, central London, where, along with 30 others – mostly women, the occasional bloke – I spend 90 minutes belting out Motown, gospel and pop classics, from Abba to Bon Jovi. I’m more of a keen amateur than a wannabe soloist, but even the odd off-key note or wrong lyric can’t detract from how good singing makes me feel. I leave every session uplifted, buoyed by a flurry of endorphins flooding through my body.


So it comes as no surprise that scientists have shown that not only does singing in a choir make you feel good, it’s got health benefits, too. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found that choristers’ heartbeats synchronise when they sing together, bringing about a calming effect that is as beneficial to our health as yoga.



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Glance at today's TV guides and you'll see they're jam-packed with singing-based entertainment - The X-Factor, The Voice and Glee being just three hugely popular examples. It all goes to show that while these days we're less likely to stand around the piano for an old-fashioned Sound of Music-style family sing-along, people do still really enjoy singing ' even if it's only in the shower or the car.


No matter how you choose to do it, there's evidence that any singing in your life is a good thing. Though you're probably not consciously aware of it when you're belting out Bohemian Rhapsody into your hair dryer, singing delivers a host of physical and emotional benefits including increased heart rate and improved breathing, lung capacity, posture and mood. And while singing alone is good, singing with others can be even better.



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Choir singers not only harmonise their voices, they also synchronise their heartbeats, a study suggests.


Researchers in Sweden monitored the heart rates of singers as they performed a variety of choral works.


They found that as the members sang in unison, their pulses began to speed up and slow down at the same rate.


Writing in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the scientists believe the synchrony occurs because the singers coordinate their breathing.



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