Singing is an attribute found only in humans. As much as we would like to attribute the act of singing to birds, it is not quite the same. There are many benefits associated with singing. Depending on the style and genre these benefits may vary or in some cases, not be so. In this blog I shall address some physical benefits associated with singing. In particular, I shall focus on benefits of classical singing.
Styles of singing
In modern society we are exposed to many styles of singing. The popular catalog contains a hodgepodge of constructions which vary from “rap”, being a somewhat rhythmic recitative to heavy-metal which a supposedly controlled scream. In between these extremes we find what we commonly hear on AM and FM radio stations and in background music that we hear in our local shopping malls and stores and fast food establishments.
Styles within these range from what we call “hip-hop” to Jazz to Blues to Disco to Crooners to Easy-listening and on and on. As to the benefits, if there are any, of singing in these styles, I shall leave to others who are more knowledgeable of the particular genre. The focus of this blog is the benefits of Classical singing.
Classical singing as opposed to non-classical
What is classical singing? The term “classical” usually refers to things and styles that have stood the test of time and are still employed in what ever field is being addressed. The same definition may be applied to the art of singing. The title of “classical”, or “classic”, is now used, though not totally correctly, to styles that are only decades old. For instance, the term “Classic Rock and Roll”. Usually the reference is to what was practiced 60 or 70 years ago and is rarely followed in the music styles of the popular culture today. The term is an appeal to an older generation. The style is not truly “classical” in the sense that it is a common genre of the present.
True “Classical” anything is something that was practiced in the past and has continued to be practiced for many years and though being refined is still true to the initial foundational principles of the style. Classical singing is that style which is founded on the disciplined training of the vocal instrument which produces vocal music which is controlled and reproduceable in a consistent manner. It is built upon techniques which are developed and strengthened by consistent practice. It is singing built on sound practices which does not harm the vocal mechanism but which build it so that it continually improves the performance of the voice.
Many styles of singing actually tear down the instrument of the voice. Very few popular music singers can go more than a few years before they must address serious physical problems with their voice. This is because the techniques used in most popular music styles is not conducive to the strengthening of the total vocal instrument. Some, if not many, of the techniques actually damage the voice overtly.
Those are practices in the “so-called” singing are actually tearing at the very mechanisms creating the vocal sound. For this reason it is very common for popular singers to have to take rests from their singing and recording on a regular basis. They must continually be under supervision by a physician and receive medication regularly. For this reason some get addicted so drugs.
Vocal classical music
When we talk of classical music in the vocal genre, we are speaking of music which has stood the test of time. For me, and most who are of Western Civilization background, it is the music of Europe and the United States and some Latin American countries.
Much of the music has been viable for hundreds of years and is still just as inspiring and enjoyable as when they were first composed. Many have copied the style and form of those older and have refined and sometimes improved on the older. Though some are not as well-known, or popular, as others, they still fit the category of the “classical” vocal music.
In one sense Classical vocal music is a form as much as a style. Classical vocal music normally is well constructed and assumes a form and structure which helps to focus its’ goal. Vocal classical music will usually have a specific goal in its presentation. It is either to entertain or inspire or relax or invigorate. Or it may be calming or energetic. The composer of classical music will choose a form and then build the music around the form. There may be times the form is adjusted, but usually a return to structure is forth coming.
Classical vocal music adds the dimension of music to the spoken word. Spoken words are powerful, but when coupled with the appropriate music they become overcoming. It is the combination of word with powerful music that makes vocal music classical.
Benefits of Classical vocal singing
In contrast to popular music singing, classical vocal singing cannot be approached lightly. Just as athletes who excel in their given area must begin and develop their body and muscles toward a direction so that they may excel in their sport, so a classical singer must do with the muscles necessary to produce good classical singing. Just as all athletes do not become professional athletes, so also not all classical singers become professional singers. But just as amateur athletes benefit physically from the sport they participate in, so also will the amateur singer benefit from singing in the classical mode.
Some health benefits of singing in the classical mode
In the beginning of any good classical singing class one will more than likely have to address posture. In modern society “slouch” is the norm. Very seldom do you hear of anyone addressing posture. If you take any classical voice lessons one of the first things you will learn is that you must have correct posture. The human body is designed in such a way that it functions to its maximum capacity when in its correct posture for the given event.
In classical vocal singing the best posture is that which is similar to a soldier standing at attention, though a little less rigid. In this position the muscles used in inhalation and expiration are in the best situation to perform at maximum ability. Good posture is good for the whole body. So if you got no more benefit than this you will be better for health wise than if you had not. But that is not all.
The correct posture sets you up to take deep breaths to be able to sing long phrases. As you develop the ability to sing longer phrases, you are developing the practice of taking more air into your lungs and expelling more air from your lungs. As you develop this your body is able to appropriate more easily the oxygen needed for your body to help produce the energy needed for daily activities and expel the carbon dioxide byproduct which your body needs to get rid of. You grow more healthy with this increased function.
As you learn to sing and develop the support mechanisms that are necessary for vocal production you will learn and develop muscle coordination within your body which is necessary for good vocal production. As you get more advanced in your vocal learning you will find that it is not only the breathing and vocal mechanisms which profit from the practice, but you will find that your whole body is becoming involved in the process. Because of the attention to posture and proper use of the muscles necessary to correct singing you will find that your whole body from head to foot is becoming involved in the process of good classical vocal singing.
These are just some health benefits of classical vocal singing. But there are more benefits than just the health benefits. In coming blogs we shall address not only more of the health benefits but also the mental, psychological and the spiritual benefits of classical vocal singing, as well.
Now, go join a good choir or look up a good classical vocal teacher.
If you are serious about developing a classical singing voice then click HERE and it will take you to a page where you can choose from several opportunities I have listed.