Why do we like to sing so much? What drives us to join the choir on a Wednesday night even after a long day at work, or to get over our natural shyness and shout out loud in front of strangers at karaoke nights? We have asked you this question on social networks, and if the answers are mixed, they all reflect the same feeling of physical pleasure that singing provides, a feeling of calm and joy, as after a good exercise.
“I have a feeling of freedom when I sing, I often try it as a catharsisBellerin says. I sing a little dumb all day because it’s easier than talking and it helps me manage my stress. For Colin, music is a vital need Particularly shared, with friends, it is a real pleasure, extraordinary joy! Théophile loves to sing In the football fields And for Kaban, it’s a strong social bond because he’s found there “The same feeling of sharing the same reference or the same humor.”
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A way to relax, find a catch, feel in harmony with others, and practice it in intimacy or under the spotlight, the song does you good. The same is true for professional singers: when i sing The last four leaders Written by Richard Strauss, which I sang more than any work in my repertoire, in the last melody I came to a state of meditation, American soprano captivates Renee Fleming in the magazine Stanford Medicinefrom the American University of the same name. My breathing slows down. I can completely separate myself from my daily life, and it happens to me every time. »
But where does this sense of well-being come from? Singing activates a complex network of circuits in our brain:
” Singing is a form of physical therapyAnd the Sarah Wilson explains from the University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences. When you look at MRI scans of people who are singing, you see very large areas of the brain that are active, which is the case if the person is singing and if they imagine themselves singing. The areas involved are the motor areas, which are responsible for hearing or listening, the areas responsible for planning and organizing, as well as the areas that oversee memory. If you’re singing a text song, language processing is also involved, all connected to emotions that strengthen social bonds and empathy. The complexity of singing is a real challenge for the brain, even though it seems like a very simple process,” The researcher concludes. Singing seems simple to us, in any case, singing is available to everyone and everywhere. But why do we like to sing?
Singing makes you climb the curtain
Addiction is exactly what it is. You are under the influence of dopamine, a neurotransmitter also called the happiness molecule, whose release is similar to that produced by sexual activity or drug abuse. in Study from 2013, Canadian researchers have shown that the reward circuit is activated in anticipation, causing you to repeat the experience over and over again. For some people, the emotion can be so strong that it feels like euphoria, as state researchers call it “musical suspense.”
Sing the “muscle” of your brain
“For us singers, our instrument is inside our bodies and it is very difficult to control it. Rene Fleming analysis. This is due to the fact that it is mostly controlled by involuntary muscles. You would be amazed to know all we have to do with our voice (without the aid of a microphone) in a space as large as an opera house.” Controlling your voice, whether you’re Renee Fleming or a Sunday lecturer, involves very complex processes in our brain.
Like instrumentalists, singers, by singing regularly, develop certain circuits necessary for sound production, particularly those related to subtle movements that allow them to better control their vocal system, according to study It was published in 2009. A training that, according to researchers, will prepare singers to focus better on the stage than their fellow instrumentalists.
But that’s not all: the fact that words are associated with music, sometimes in a foreign language and often not spoken by the singer, imposes additional gymnastics on the nervous circuits. And the more challenges there are, the happier our brains are. Other study Also published in 2009, he showed that language skills are more pronounced among singers: Boys who sing regularly have an advantage in their language skills, which influence grammar and comprehension, over their regular peers (girls have some inclinations in this area from the start, scientists tell us).
Singing is bathing in youth
Singing is within everyone’s reach, as we have already seen. But most importantly: it benefits you no matter your age. It even acts as an anti-wrinkle cream on your neurons, keeping them in place for longer from the effects of aging. This is true whether you have a lifelong professional music career or a time-limited music practice.
“A musician is affected by hearing loss as much as a non-musician, Psychologist Isabel Peretz writes in her book: learn music. But as a musician gets older, the brain retains a better ability to distinguish the sounds that reach it. And also, according to the researcher, constitutes a cognitive reserve that allows him to delay deterioration, enhance psychomotor abilities, maintain good verbal memory and a willingness to think: “Intellectual activity, often associated with a high level of education, is known to mitigate the negative effects of aging. A more “trained” brain will have the ability to improve the mind despite the signs of degeneration” Explains Isabel Peretz.
Singing awakens the influencer in you
In the stadiums or in the choir, you’ve all experienced this moment of collective uplift that spreads like a wave and pushes you to embrace your neighbour. We carry a common energy that gives us wings (and a voice), Ariane testifies on Twitter. Many studies show that all the virtues of singing are multiplied when singing in a group.
“Singing is an activity that gives immense pleasure, Isabel Peretz writes. Some believe that choral singing is a wonderful group foreplay (grooming) that releases endorphins in the brain and reduces stress hormones. The bigger the chorus, the greater the fun and the greater the sense of belonging.”
Group foreplay, a sense of belonging like that between a mother and her newborn, or between lovers after love, thanks to the hormone oxytocin, the hormone of attachment: The feeling of harmony with the other to the beat of the music leads to a feeling of altruism, Explains Isabel Peretz. Singing together increases trust in others and promotes cooperation rather than competition. The reward circuit activates, and thus the feeling of well-being, which includes not only the people who sing, but also those who listen:
Musical works have a strong enough expressive structure to impose common emotional states on a large number of listeners. Music can bring a large crowd together in unison.” Researcher enthusiasm.
Singing passes the blues
Depression, loneliness, anxiety, etc. For neuroscientists, singing can help overcome that. Besides the biochemical fireworks that can only help you get back on track, at least for a moment, singing is inseparable from breathing. Yogis will tell you: Controlled breathing will bring order to your feelings.
“Singing is clearly an activity in which we consciously fill our lungs, tell us study from 2010_. Breathing interacts with our emotional state, and anxiety and stress lead to rapid, shallow breathing. By making an effort to breathe deeper and slower, we achieve relaxation. »_
And the group effect is necessary here: “Singing in a choir provides a sense of social support and friendship, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, The same study tells us. Since singing is intrinsically linked to breathing, the feeling of belonging to the group is inseparable from the practice of the choir, which helps to find serenity. » In fact, out of about 600 choirs who participated in this study conducted in England, the vast majority declared that this activity helps them to be happier, gives them a positive attitude towards life and contributes to their well-being.
Singing makes you forget the sores
Back to square one with one last homage to your fun brain. Did you know that far from a roller coaster that can pass us, it has the power to help us overcome pain? The simple fact of pushing the song allows you to feel the benefits. in 2004 study, US researchers observed better pain resistance in patients with chronic pain, right after a singing session.
as such Neurologist Pierre Lemarquez explains : “The Secret Pleasure and Reward of the Endogenous Morphine Brain.” When you hear music you like, you have less pain.. Scientific data widely used in preparation for childbirth, shown Judith Bloch Christoph, who run prenatal singing workshops for pregnant women:
“Singing before childbirth affects breathing, and therefore on relaxation and releases emotions. At the time of childbirth, all preparations take their meaning: the woman has a toolbox not to undergo labor, but to be an actor in it. The sound vibrations help relieve pain and participate in the rhythm of contractions, and thanks to the song She can recover her breath during contractions.Thus, singing before delivery allows a woman to see her high pain tolerance threshold, while remaining fully there during childbirth. The practitioner explains.
And if all these arguments are not enough for you, know that thanks to singing, at least 15 million French people have a chance to save the couple. That’s what you say Le Figaro quote Latest study Einglish appeared in British Medical Journal Twenty minutes of vocalizations a day would significantly reduce snoring and sleep apnea. So, in the name of your mind or your quiet nights, you gotta sing!