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Why do we sing?

Tuan Cuong Ngo – 742252

We all start singing since we were very small. Music comes to us in such a natural way that we rarely
think of the reasons why we sing and what singing can do to us. Learning about music is a good
opportunity to think deeply about this matter and have a better understanding of singing in theory
and how to apply to practice in the best way possible.

We sing to learn about the world.

Like reading, singing is a great way to learn about the world through songwriters’ perspective. What
makes singing different is that it involves a great deal of emotions and feelings in the songs, which
makes it a much more active and interactive for singers to absorb ideas that song writers want to
express. 1 Therefore, there’s a strong relationship between music and culture, which is shown
through close association of music with major societal aspects such as economy, politics, religion,
etc. For me, coming from an Asian background and now studying in a Western country like Australia,
singing new songs teaches me about the new culture that I’m being exposed to, helping me to fit in
better with the local society, while inspiring and opening up new possibilities and opportunities to
extend my knowledge further to other cultures and languages of other continents such as Europe,
Africa or South America.

We sing to improve our physical and mental health.


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Regular singing has been told to have benefits on our lungs, breathing problems, depression,
headache, stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, general fitness and longevity. 3 Furthermore,
other research claims that singing can improve posture, lifting mood, relieving stress, encouraging
the release of pain-relieving endorphins, improving circulation, boosting the immune system and
exercising respiratory muscles. Personally, I experience a boost in my mood and energy after singing
in Glee Singing classes with the tutor and my classmates. Besides from being recreational activities,
playing music and singing are my meditation method, strengthening my mental health while also
helping me to relax and destress after a long day at work or university.

We sing to build up our personal and social development.

First, 4 music can lead to sense of achievement; an increase in self-esteem; increased confidence;
persistence in overcoming frustrations when learning is difficult; self-discipline; and provide a means
of self-expression. It is common among amateur singing students to have insecurity and performing
anxiety especially in performances in front of large audience. Singing, therefore, is a chance for us to
overcome this fear and to build a much more confident self. Furthermore, to improve and become a
better singer, patience, grit and discipline are required over a long period of time. These soft skills
1. Marcia Herndon and Norma McLeod, Music as Culture (Darby, Pennsylvania: Norwood
Editions, 1982), 134.
2. Stephen M Clift and Grenville Hancox, “The perceived benefits of singing: findings from
preliminary surveys of a university college choral society,” The Journal of The Royal Society
for the Promotion of Health 121 (2001): 249.
3. Clift and Hancox, “The perceived benefits of singing: findings from preliminary surveys of a
university college choral society,” 250.
4. Susan Hallam, The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal
development of children and young people (London: University of London, 2010), 1.
5. Susam Hallam, The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal
development of children and young people 1.
obtained through singing are transferrable to other aspects of our lives, making us a completed and
all-round individual. Personally, facing the fear of judgement and rejection when it comes to
performing in front of people has helped me to be much more confident in normal social situations,
increased my self-esteem and sense of achievement, and given me the patience needed for other
fields.

Second, 5 participating in musical groups promotes friendships with like-minded people, giving
people a sense of belonging; team work; self-discipline; a sense of accomplishment; co-operation;
responsibility; commitment; mutual support; bonding to meet group goals; increased concentration
and provides an outlet for relaxation. From my own experience, working with like-minded people
who are also passionate with music is the most fulfilling experience. Music is the universal language
that brings people from all around the world close together. Singing and making music have made
me a lot of friends from many countries around the world, bringing their culture and ways of
thinking closer to me and teaching me many lessons. Moreover, singing in a group in Glee Singing
classes teaches me to team-work in a way that I have never experienced before. It is truly magical to
be in a singing group for the first time listening to my voice harmonising to other people. It shows
me a new way to make music and what is possible with only our voice.

Conclusion

Singing has numerous physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, personal, and social benefits to
ourselves. It is important to understand these benefits to maximise them, and to make singing an
even more satisfying and meaningful art.

1. Marcia Herndon and Norma McLeod, Music as Culture (Darby, Pennsylvania: Norwood
Editions, 1982), 134.
2. Stephen M Clift and Grenville Hancox, “The perceived benefits of singing: findings from
preliminary surveys of a university college choral society,” The Journal of The Royal Society
for the Promotion of Health 121 (2001): 249.
3. Clift and Hancox, “The perceived benefits of singing: findings from preliminary surveys of a
university college choral society,” 250.
4. Susan Hallam, The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal
development of children and young people (London: University of London, 2010), 1.
5. Susam Hallam, The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal
development of children and young people 1.