Choir practice – the uplifting effect of song

I came home from my choir practice tonight, feeling exactly the same as I feel every time I come home from choir practice.

Was it a feeling of disappointment because I wasn’t pitch perfect?
Was it a feeling of failure because I hadn’t learnt all of the words?
Was it a feeling of embarrassment because I started to sing with the wrong section?

It was none of these. I was feeling fantastic. I was happy, uplifted and energised. So, what was the magic ingredient that had made me feel so bright?

I started to think about it. We have a very inspirational leader, who thankfully is very patient. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and whilst we aspire for excellence, we don’t always achieve it. We are able to laugh at ourselves, when things don’t go right, and everyone is made to feel welcome, regardless of experience. The enthusiasm is infectious and the broad range of songs appealing. So maybe not one single magic ingredient, but mix it all together and you get a wonderful desire to achieve, resulting in guess what – a pretty good choir!

Science supports why I feel so positive after my practice as the act of singing releases endorphins, the brain’s “feel good” chemicals, this is also linked to stress reduction. When we sing we naturally breathe deeply, and deep breathing is a key to relaxation techniques.

It all started for me when I moved into a new area and wanted to engage in a new interest that would also help me to meet new people. I have always enjoyed music but I don’t have a strong musical or singing background. Playing the violin at school at the age of 10, certainly doesn’t count. I have however been known to belt out my national anthem at rugby matches but nothing more refined or coordinated. Therefore, when I arrived I didn’t know what section to join, but with a little help and encouragement things soon began to fall into place.

The choir exists to fund research, and many of the members have close links to the cause. I don’t know the extent of their experiences, but when we are in the room, we are joined by this common desire to sing.

I’m gearing up to attending my first ‘gig’.  The programme consists of a variety of events such as weddings, corporate events and singing festivals. I feel comfortable in the safe surroundings of the practice session, but now I need to bite the bullet and get out in the community and spread the joy!