Singing: it’s good for a body

Published 10:43 pm Saturday, January 24, 2015

There was a time when people sat around on porches in the evening to capture the cool breezes — being outside was a way of life. And as a way to pass time on those endless summer evenings, invariably someone would pull out a guitar or a harmonica, or both, and those gathered would play and sing. It was an American pastime.

As time has progressed, greater society has fallen away from such customs, however. With the advance of technology, it’s no longer necessary to create music when music is so accessible. It’s on demand — via computer, smartphone, satellite radio. Whatever song or artist a person wants to listen to is right there, at the touch of a button, all the time.

So why make music, when someone else makes it, and makes it much better, than the average person?

There are a few reasons. One, the human voice is the foundation of all music. Medically, it increases oxygen in the bloodstream and works out major muscle groups in the upper body. Singing has been proven to decrease stress levels. Psychologically, it increases self-confidence, interpersonal skills and decreases feelings of isolation and anxiety. Singing can improve moods and increase happiness. One joint Harvard and Yale study found that singing can improve life expectancy.

Singing is good, yet more and more people are afraid to put their voices out there: fear of criticism, the primary reason. The perception that one doesn’t measure up to the voices heard on youtube or iTunes means that choir numbers are dwindling in churches all over. It means choruses are no longer existent in many schools. It means children are growing up without the opportunity to make music. It means that, perhaps, in a few generations, music will not be something that is made, but just another element of life accepted passively, with no participation whatsoever.

That’s what makes local groups like the Beaufort County Choral Society and the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association so important. They give anyone an outlet to sing, and play, without the fear of judgment. The only requirement is an enthusiasm for music.

Right now, BCTMA is having its annual membership drive. Right now, BCCS is inviting singers of all ages to come along as they prepare for their spring concert. Perhaps right now is also the time to join in, adding one voice to many, if for no other reason than it’s been proven to be good for the body.

For more information about BCTMA, visit For more information about BCCS, call 252-974-1033.