Aug 8, 2011

Sing...Sing a Song...

Reading: Ransom by David Malouf

Listening to: Boppy '60s pop tunes

Watching: The Best of the Glasshouse

Making me Smile: The upcoming RWA conference

Last month I blogged about recent research that claimed singing had health benefits. One of the said benefits was that singing could supposedly make you happier. How many of you took my challenge to sing a song a day for a week? Well, I took the test...

Did singing a song a day for seven days help keep the blues away? Read on, dear reader, read on...

Day One: I Could Be So Good For You (Dennis Waterman).

Well, I'm sure he could be *wink* but unfortunately my experiment didn't start well. Singing the song was fun--there's something about Master Waterman's voice that makes me smile, but I promptly forgot to sing a song on Day Two. Oops. Reminded myself it takes a month to form a new habit. Also told myself that forming a new habit when distracted by revisions that are due in a week may not be the best plan. Decided on a new starting date.

Days One, Two and Three: Pack Up (Eliza Doolittle), Weather With You (Crowded House), Chewy Chewy (Ohio Express)

All of these songs are fun--they make me feel brighter whenever I hear them on the radio. I sang Pack Up in the morning before I had to go out. When the next song on my playlist started, it was hard to stop. Also concentrated on different ways to stand while singing. Found standing straight with hands behind my back and feet slightly apart with chin up seem to aid breathing etc.

Days Four and Five: Realized that I have been singing uber happy and fun songs, so mixed it up with something more atmospheric.

Mull of Kintyre (Paul McCartney)--I lurve bagpipe music. (I also have a fantasy of visiting the beach at Kintyre and a pipe band magically appearing).

Great Southern Land (The University of Newcastle Choir)--these guys and gals are amazing. They give me goose bumps.

Day Six: Living Next Door to Alice (Smokie)

Heard this on the radio in the car and I had to come home and play it. Found it hard to concentrate on the song today, though. My mind was racing forward to the mountain of things I had to get done before bedtime.

Day Seven: Mickey (Toni Basil)

Singing and dancing must be seriously good exercise! I don't think I could keep both up for longer than three minutes. Man, rock stars must be seriously fit (am thinking Pink here. Whew!).

Another Day Seven (because I hadn't been keeping count): Thank You (Dido)

And then Day Eight, just because: Mamma Mia... Dancing Queen... Super Trouper... SOS. Loved my ABBA fest.

So, my verdict-Does singing make you happier?

I wish I could give you a definitive answer. The singing wasn't a chore and even though I felt self-conscious a few times, I really did enjoy it. I did my best to focus on the song and to blank my mind to everything else. That was harder than I thought it'd be (which has made me think I should start doing five to ten minutes of mediation a day). I don't know about the long-term benefits of singing, but the short-term, live-in-the-moment time of the actual song was fun, and more often than not, it lifted my mood for at least the next hour (regardless of whether I sang a fun song or a serious one).

One thing I can say for sure--singing a song a day certainly didn't hurt. And I'll let you in on a little secret, I mean to cultivate the habit. So what about you? Do you have any hints of tips for leading a happier life?


  1. I sang everyday, Michelle. Actually, I usually sing everyday so I guess the answer is yes, it makes me happy to sing.

    I happily sing up and down the supermarket aisles (quietly - don't want to scare the other shoppers) and I belt them out in the car and at home.

    My kids put up with the singing - it's the dancing that accompanies it that scares them, lol.

  2. I thought about you yesterday Michelle when I read in the Sunday paper that singing to babies helps them - and their mothers. It makes happier babies whatever is sung. :-)


  3. Yay, Anita -- so glad you're a singer and that you took the challenge! And Yay! that it makes you happier! LOL that you sing at the supermarket. Though, it probably means you get lots of personal space. :-)

    That whole singing and dancing thing at the same time, though, wears me out. I'm going to develop a routine of singing a song and then dancing the next one. I reckon 30 mins a day of that could impact on my (non-existent) fitness.

  4. Oh, Cath, does it really?! That's excellent to hear. We'll be a HAPPY nation of singers before we know it.

    Looking forward to catching up with you at the conference!

  5. I'm a singer from way back, Michelle, and singing is a cracking mood-alterer (for better and worse, dire music can bring you down), but nothing on this planet beats the feeling of a whole bunch of voices singing en-masse, in perfect harmony and lifting the rafters.

    Like big gospel sounds...

    The dopamine rush is literally palpable and you feel so high for so long afterwards.

    Love it :)

  6. Nikki, I have a SIL who is in a choir and I recently asked her about those moments when it all comes together and every one is singing perfectly, what it was like. She said it felt like flying.

    You make it sound just as divine! Sigh. :-)

  7. Michelle, I absolutely agree about the choir singing. I used to love being in the school choir - it was a very rag-tag choir the first year and we didn't have to do auditions or anything. Alas the second year we got a different music teacher who made everyone audition individually for their place... so that was the end of the choir for me because I was too faint-hearted to sign in front of the class. But singing with the choir was a great feeling while it lasted.

    Now I have to content myself with singing alone in the car!

  8. Oh what a shame that your teacher made everyone audition individually, Sharon. That would've been the end for me too! But it's good to know that you got a lot out of it.

    I have a music CD of The Uni of Newcastle Choir, and my choir-singing SIL told me to play it really loudly (when no one was around) and to try humming to it. It's amazing -- makes you feel a part of it all. Very invigorating and uplifting.

  9. I sing all the time because I always have music on, except when I'm writing. But I think reading makes me happiest. I just love melting into a good book that holds my attention and spending hours in that world. I find that exercise also helps keep me upbeat. I do about two hours worth five days a week when I can.

  10. Oh, Marlena, I have to admit that I notice an uplift in my mood too, when I exercise regularly. I've hibernated too much this winter, so I fear it will soon be time to get my butt back into gear. 'Fraid I'll be aiming for 30 mins a day, though. 2 hrs! -- you must be so fit!

    And reading, yep. It's one of my favourite things to do too. :-)

  11. I didn't sing *every* day, but my husband and I had a big evening of listening (and singing) to 70s music via YouTube. So fun!
    Our 9yo sings ALL THE TIME, and she's always smiling and laughing.
    And I agree totally that exercise lifts your's just getting motivated enough to start! =)

  12. There must be something in the air, Robbie, because on the weekend my hubby and I did the YouTube singalong to 60s music. And come to think of it, it had us grinning and laughing for ages.

    Your 9yo sounds like a doll (and perhaps a Julie Andrews in the making). :-)

    Oh, and when you discover the secret to exercise motivation, could you please pass it along!

  13. Michelle, I didn't remember to sing as much as I had wanted to, but I definitely did sing some days. There was a lot of 'One eyed, one horned flying purple people eater' and 'On top of spaghetti'.

    And I learned something new - did you know that the flying purple people eater isn't purple? He only eats purple people. Funny that his name could mean either but I always assumed it meant he was purple and it's the other way around!

  14. LOL on the purple people eater, Rach. I haven't heard that song in years. But I am thinking that between the PPE and On Top of Spaghetti, you probably managed the odd laugh! :-)

    Off now to YouTube the PPE song!