The Origins of Singing

We speak a lot about the benefits of singing. Each week, we try and highlight an incredible way that expressing oneself through song can help the mind and body but within many of us, there is a still a little spark that says “you can’t sing.” This week, we look at the origins of singing in a bid to prove that singing is a deeply ingrained part of us all.

Continue reading “The Origins of Singing”

Singing as Exercise

Last week, we spoke about how exercise can help us develop as singers, this week we’re going to look at the other side, how singing can contribute to an exercise programme. Now, this isn’t to say you should ditch the gym membership and only come to choir. Singing, while great, can’t replace exercise but it does have proven physical benefits.

1. Burn Calories

The average person can expect to burn about 140-200 calories an hour while singing. This puts it at about half the effect of a comfortable bike ride, or the same as a long walk.

Not all of us can get out on our bikes, and the weather isn’t always right for a walk but singing is a way to get that same effect, and it can be a lot more fun!

2. Build Chest Muscles

A 1986 study found that frequent singers showed stronger muscles around the chest wall, and that their hearts beat better.

It was also show that lung capacity was maintained in older study participants, a feature that usually decreases with age.

3. Work the Core

A recent study looking at singers showed that singing with proper technique can target a wide range of muscle groups, including the oblique abdominals.

The study concluded that these muscles are important in the expression of pressure in activities such as singing, as such professional singers, or those with training such as choir members, activate these muscles more than untrained singers would. In particular, while taking deeper breaths, the lower abs are activated more efficiently, the muscles developed during exercises such as planking.

While these are all cool benefits, perhaps the most important factor is that singing is inherently enjoyable. Research in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that the most important factor in long term physical well-being is finding exercise you enjoy. This enables us to stick to a regime for longer (50% of people stop going to the gym after 6 months) and hopefully, by tying everything to singing we’ve given you that much needed motivation.

Of course, singing isn’t the solution to everything (but it would be great if it was!) Obviously, if you want to be a professional runner, singing is probably less important than running but doing them both together can take you even further Continue reading “Singing as Exercise”

Does exercise help you sing?

As it’s the new year and many of us are getting back to the gym, it’s time for us to give you a bit of extra motivation. Exercise is more than about getting beach body ready, regular cardio workouts can improve your singing ability.

Cardio is short for cardiovascular, and refers to any activity that gets the heart rate up and keeps it there, forcing us to to take bigger breaths. By training our breathing, we are able to sing with more power and stamina, two hugely important components of a singer. Continue reading “Does exercise help you sing?”

New Year’s Resolutions

Singing New Years Resolutions

With the New Year here, it’s time for us all to look back on the year that has passed and figure out what we want from the year ahead.
We’ve spoken a lot about why you should spend time singing and how it can benefit other aspects of your life, from your happiness to your health. So the question then becomes, how do make 2019 your most music year? What New Years Resolutions should we be putting into action? Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions”

Christmas news – Breaks, Concerts and Carols

As Christmas draws in, it’s looking like time for us to take a short break, but we’re not done just yet. There’s still plenty of thing happening over the winter period to keep you busy and singing until we return on January 9th.

As our friends at BIGMOUTH Chorus finish their term, they will be holding n informal concert on December 18th at Walpole Bay Hotel in Margate. While there wont be a ticket price, donations will be accepted for the choir and Thanet Winter Shelter. Guests will be welcome to attend from 8:15pm Continue reading “Christmas news – Breaks, Concerts and Carols”

Emily scoops up gold at British Composer Awards!

A huge congratulations are in order for our fearless leader, Emily Peasgood, as she picks up the award for Sonic Art at the British Composer Awards.

The award was earned for her work “Halfway to Heaven” which celebrated the rediscovery of a lost Baptist burial ground in Folkestone. The interactive installation was commissioned by the Creative Foundation as part of Folkestone Triennial last year, and was commended by The Times, The Telegraph and Wall Street International, as well as others.

Channeling those interned at the burial site, the work features motion-activated choral pieces featuring narrative elements which explore the relationship between two of the graveyard’s inhabitants. Bringing together a range of disciplines, including sculpture and programming, it’s little wonder Emily’s work was one of the most highly-visited sites during the Triennial.

The awards recognise the art of composition, and the creative talent of composers and sound artists in the UK

Last year, Emily’s works BIRDS and other Stories (2017) and Crossing Over (2016) were nominated at the British Composer Awards, marking the first time an artist saw two nominations in the same category.

All of us at en Choir are incredibly proud of the work Emily does and we’re excited to see her recognised in this fashion. We can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next!

Image © Mark Allan

Choirs are COOL!

If you’d have said the word ‘choir’ a few years ago, you’d expect eye-rolling or a glaze to fog up people’s eyes but in the last decade, choirs have taken on a very different tone (no pun intended). In the last ten years, Choirs have become cool.

Instead of focusing strictly on gospel affair, there’s been a swell of interest in choirs catering to more modern tastes, like en Choir or BIGMOUTH Chorus in Margate, covering rock, pop and soul songs with the power and versatility of a choir. It’s estimated that about 2.8 MILLION Brits have joined a choir, no doubt inspired by the shift in focus from classic music to more accessible genres. In fact, it’s not even unheard of for choir acts to find their way onto TV talent shows such as X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent. Continue reading “Choirs are COOL!”

Pack Up Your Troubles…

Being remembrance week, we’ve been looking a little into how troops kept their morale during war. As it happens, music played and still plays a huge role in the morale boosting of soldiers. These songs did not just feature in the First World War, but also the Second World War, and the Vietnam War (as well as most wars throughout history). Popular choices were ‘Pack up your Troubles in your Old Kit Bag’, ‘We’ll Meet Again’, and ‘House of the Rising Sun’; these and many more songs formed a part of history and keep that history alive when heard. For that, we will remember them.

To follow the shape of the hills

We have been embarking on a new challenge this year with the help of one of our Sopranos to learn and master the ancient art of Shape-Note-Singing. ‘To the Hills (Wester Caputh)‘ written by Brendan Taaffe is one such Shape-Note inspired piece taking on the design and style of this art. This style features shapes rather than notes for singers to follow and sing. Watch this space for a history of Shape-Note-Singing, and keep and ear out for our concert in July at which we shall present our hard work. Fancy trying some of this plus many more styles of music? Come down for a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.