Many people across the world partake in singing as a daily activity or hobby. Some sing for fun, while others sing competitively or professionally. Lots of people sing in the shower, or hum while doing chores.
Either way, singing is a significant part in most people’s lives. But have you ever wondered what really happens to your brain when you sing?
Many people say that they feel content when they sing, and there is actually a scientific reason for this. Upon singing, the brain releases chemical hormones called endorphins throughout the body.
Endorphins are most commonly known as the “happy chemicals,” that cause an analgesic effect in a person, and make them smarter, happier, and healthier.
“Singing makes me feel relaxed,” says Caroline Hentz, a Keene State College Sophomore. “I very much enjoy it. It feels like endorphins are just rushing through my body. I sing almost whenever I can.”
Some people even use singing as a coping mechanism. It’s comforting, and helps people get rid of any negative thoughts. “I can escape reality and kind of go into my own world,” says Alyssa Grosso, a KSC Freshmen.
“I can take whatever I’m feeling in that moment and portray it into the song I’m singing, even if it’s the opposite of what the song is saying.”
Others feel the most like themselves when they sing; real, and genuine. Singing alone is great for your brain, but what is even better, is singing in a group with others.
According to “The Neuroscience of Singing,” by Cassandra Sheppard, when singing with others, the effects of endorphins are amplified.
“The most recent research suggests that group singing is the most exhilarating and transformative of all,” says Sheppard.
“The research suggests that creating music together evolved as a tool of social living. Groups and tribes sang and danced together to build loyalty, transmit vital information, and ward off enemies.”
While there are many benefits to singing, sometimes it can also be stressful or nerve-wracking for people, especially during something like an audition. “I feel self-conscious sometimes when I sing, but also, good because it’s fun. It’s kind of a juxtaposition for me.” Laughlin Hentz, a KSC Sophomore says.
During times of stress, especially when someone is dealing with anxiety and nervousness, the vocal cords will tighten, causing the voice to strain resulting in inaccurate pitches.
At this point, the brain is no longer sending endorphins throughout the body. Instead, the hormone cortisol is released to try and reduce stress and anxiety.
It is also very important to know how to deal with anxiety and stress during auditions, so as to prevent damage to the vocal cords.
Doing vocal exercises, and drinking tea before an audition can help reduce stress, and even anxiety, which will avert any harm to the voice.
Overall, singing is a good thing, that makes the brain happy, and protecting the voice during times that anxiety is high, is necessary for maintaining healthy vocal chords.
Whether you are a professional singer, or just like to sing for fun, continue to do it. It can only benefit you in the long run.
Veronica Pamphile can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org