Everyone knows that music has special powers. It can move us, comfort us, energize us, inspire us, heal us. It can transport us away to places beyond the realities of everyday life. It can get into our wiring and stir up a variety of memories and emotions within us. It can change our mood and make us glad to be alive. I think that since this is true for music in general, it’s even more so for music that is sung. The addition of words to a piece of music makes it all the more potent. And then there’s the fact that the sound is amazingly created solely with the human body. It’s a miracle.
There have been many scientific studies that prove that singing is indeed good for your health. After an hour of singing, blood pressure and heart rates go down, and energy and immunoglobulin levels go up. It’s a fact. I’m often told by folks that they’d arrived at chorus rehearsal feeling frazzled by the busy events of the day, but that at the end of our time together they’d felt relaxed and less stressed. The deep breathing has a lot to do with it. So does the concentration on things other than our daily problems. Then there’s the sense of accomplishment that comes with confronting challenges. And the sense of inner joy at the possibility that our singing will move someone, comfort someone, energize someone,inspire someone or heal someone in our audience. Singing together in such a group is also a wonderful social experience – the kind that is all too infrequent in this changing world. Friendships are formed between people who wouldn’t have met otherwise. Walls are broken down. Fears conquered. Hearts opened. Yes, singing is indeed a spiritual practice.