Friday, April 17, 2015

Sing us a song tonight, well we're all in the mood for a melody, & you've got us feeling all right.

So it's been a while, I know. So much has been going on, what with getting a second job, having barely any time to myself, and having no internet for a solid couple of weeks. All factors as to why this blog has not been updated in... an entire month?

But that does not mean that it is going to end - no sirs and madams. That just means I'll come back stronger with more hard-hitting journalism and real life issues and real world struggles.

Or I could just continue talking about the kind of things I've already been talking about. Because it's what I know. And you should always write what you know.

So we're going to talk about singing. Yeah, singing. Don't care about it? THEN DON'T READ ANYMORE OF THIS BLOG. (Kidding, please continue reading.)

I have been singing since I can remember. Not professionally, obviously, and I'm pretty sure most people will say the same thing. I remember singing Disney hits as a child, rocking out to some Raffi and Eric Nagler and Fred Penner and Charlotte Diamond and Sharon, Lois & Braham. Then I got my first Spice Girls cassette tape (yeah, the 90's were awesome), and all hell broke loose.

Kidding. I wasn't a crazy obnoxious singer as a child; I mostly had dance parties and rock shows in my room by myself. I never had the confidence to sing in front of anyone - not even my family. Granted, there were times my dad would play some old Scottish and Irish drinking songs and folk songs and my brother and I would listen and occasionally join in, but I can't recall ever singing for my family.

But let me tell you, ever since I started attending karaoke at a local bar with a very close friend of mine, I can honestly say I don't know why I was ever too shy to sing in front of people. The rush I get every time I take the microphone in my hand and wait for the song to start, which is only comparable to the rush I get when the song climaxes and everyone cheers because I did a great job - ladies and gents, these are such natural highs it's insane.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how good it is for you to just sing. So I started looking up some articles on the benefits of singing.

And, I'm sorry, let me pause for a second. I'm not saying you have to be a good singer to understand the rush of performing. I wouldn't say I'm a great singer; I can hit notes and I have a different tone, I guess, but people aren't lining up to ask me to join their band or choir, or to ask me for my autograph. You could be tone deaf, or not know any of the words to any song, or not remember any words, it doesn't matter. All that matters is how much enjoyment you get out of it. If you're having fun, who cares that you're so out of key you're voice has literally left your body and left the building? I don't care, and neither should you.

Having said that, let's move on.

There's this article from Time Magazine's website (click here to read it) entitled "Singing Changes Your Brain". The article starts out by saying that when you sing, "musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape". Deep, right? But studies are being done on group singers (choirs, glee clubs, etc.), that are showing lower levels of stress and anxiety, due to your body's release of the hormone Oxytocin, as well as endorphins, which is another hormone released when singing, and is associated with feelings of pleasure. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which is also why studies are showing that singing diminishes the feelings of loneliness and depression. (Basically, if you're depressed, join a choir! Or get some friends together for karaoke! That's how I do it.)

Also (just to solidify my earlier point):
"It turns out you don’t even have to be a good singer to reap the rewards.  According to one 2005 study, group singing “can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”"

So hey, all you beautiful people who may be feeling a little down in the dumps, or even feeling extremely lonely, I challenge you to sing. Sing to your heart's content!

I have a plethora of songs that make my mood spike in a positive way probably at least 75%. I'd love to tell you all of them, but just for ideas, I'll list my top ten. If you feel like listening to them, OMG do it. I recommend them.

1. Shut Up and Dance - Walk The Moon. (Absolutely no fail with this one.)
2. Wherever This Goes - The Fray (Honestly, anything by The Fray. They're my favorite.)
3. Honey, I'm Good - Andy Grammer. (I've got to bid you adieu, to another I will stay true.)
4. Kiss You - One Direction (And yeah, basically anything by One Direction too.)
5. Hey Jude - The Beatles (My all-time favorite song ever. Take a sad song and make it better...)
6. Wild World - Cat Stevens (It's hard to get by, just upon a smile.)
7. Bounce - Iggy Azalea. (Shake it, break it, make it bounce.)
8. Want To Want Me - Jason Derulo (Yes, I do love Jason Derulo. He is one talented sonofabitch.)
9. Vienna - Billy Joel (Slow down, you crazy child.)
10. Is This Love - Bob Marley (I wanna love ya, and treat you right.)

Think of songs that make you smile, and bring your mood up, and damnit, sing until your lungs give out! Tell me it doesn't make you feel better. I dare you.

Also, hopefully this could motivate you to sing as well. It's just me singing, not a big deal. Listen!

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