Music is sunshine. Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose. - Michael Franti
As the Solstice Sun has set on the first half of the year, I wanted to celebrate some of the projects I've been involved with recently. A study by the New Economics Foundation found that making small improvements to our wellbeing can help decrease mental health issues and help us flourish. Here's how singing can boost the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and help us feel sunny.
Connect Singing together connect us with others
Fun, laughter and good company - Singing with Soul project participant
I had the honour of leading a six-week project with members of The Hive, a drop in service offering a hot meal and creative activities to members of the community at St John the Evangelist Upper Norwood. We had a fabulous time learning participants choice of songs and working towards a fun performance with players from London Mozart Players as part of Crystal Palace Festival. We know from research by organisations such as the Campaign to End Loneliness, that our social connectivity has more impact on our longevity than smoking or drinking. Feedback repeatedly demonstrated that participants highly valued the sense of connection and togetherness in the project.
Be Active Singing is a gentle form of exercise
It’s great that the patients have such a great option to come and enjoy themselves and also do their lungs some good! - Physiotherapist, St George's Hospital
I've been working in hospital settings for 5 years now and have seen the positive impact singing can have for cardiac and respiratory patients. Lung Songs at St George's Hospital has grown into a thriving, lively, supportive group of people who love singing together. We warm up and get moving before gently flexing some lung and heart muscle with uplifting singing.
Take Notice Singing makes us more aware of ourselves and others, as we explore beautiful sounds together Over 2 million people per year care for others, which represents a saving of £132 billion a year to the economy. The majority of these often unsung hero/ines of our communities will spend up to 50 hours per week caring. Carers Benefit - £64.80 per week -works out as £1.85 ph for 35 hours per week. As a result of caring 71% of carers suffer mental health issues and 61% physical health issues. Every June at Croydon Carers Choir we mark #CarersWeek, to flag up that we need to take notice of Carers. Singing together is an creative respite activity that helps carers feel seen and heard.
Keep Learning Singing is great braingym Singing is a continuous adventure - I am so grateful to be learning on my feet in so many different settings. One of my next ventures is a new male voice choir, ManSong at the Landmark Arts Centre. Dominic Stichbury founded the monthly Men's Singing Workshop five years ago as part of his highly successful mission to #getmensinging and from these sessions has grown the idea of a weekly choir. I've enjoyed guest leading some of the monthly sessions and am really looking forward to this new project.
Give Singing for/with others is a gift and can be used to fundraise and contribute to causes and community My Welcome Choir had a fabulous time in June getting out and about in our local community - we sang onstage and at local treasure trove Coconut Trading as part of Crystal Palace Festival and #SE19Lates. We will also be joining up with two other local choirs to fundraise for Sing for Water on 11th July, before joining the big mass choral sing at Totally Thames in September. Research shows that people who take part in arts activities and choirs are more likely to volunteer and give to charity, as building connectedness boosts our awareness of how we can contribute and make a difference in our world.
Singing is wonderful in so many ways, not just these five and I am continuously being surprised by the magic that happens when we raise our voices together. I'm looking forward to what the next half of this year of song brings...