Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Choral Singing: The Natural High

Singing in a choir like RPC can be good for you in more ways than one. From Slate, by Stacy Horn:
Music is awash with neurochemical rewards for working up the courage to sing. That rush, or “singer's high,” comes in part through a surge of endorphins, which at the same time alleviate pain. When the voices of the singers surrounding me hit my ear, I'm bathed in dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure and alertness. Music lowers cortisol, a chemical that signals levels of stress. Studies have found that people who listened to music before surgery were more relaxed and needed less anesthesia, and afterward they got by with smaller amounts of pain medication. Music also releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of euphoria and contentment.  “Every week when I go to rehearsal,” a choral friend told me, “I'm dead tired and don't think I'll make it until 9:30. But then something magic happens and I revive ... it happens almost every time.”  
Read the whole excerpt from Horn's book. (HT: Shirley Beasley)

There have been songs about the joy of singing since forever, including the Repleatur which we sometimes chant. Since I'm the webmaster, I'll post two of my more modern favorites:

"I Love To Singa," sung by "Owl Jolson" in an early Warner Brothers cartoon.

"Sing A Song" by Earth, Wind, and Fire.

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