Every singer’s greatest nemesis – the sore throat

With the cold weather setting in, it is essential we prepare for the cold and flu season, so here are some top tips for ensuring your favourite pastime isn’t ruined by a pesky sore throat:

Tip #1 from the NHS Website:

– The NHS advises to drink plenty of water,     but avoid hot drinks – you need to                     increase your fluid intake to help your body heal,                                                         but hot drinks could jeopardise the process!

Tip #2 from Healthline:

– Healthline, an health website dedicated to helping people be in good                 health say that enjoying a drop of honey in some tea might help; they add,     “You might consider choosing a green tea, which serves as an                               antibacterial, pain reliever, and rich source of antioxidants, as well as               helps reduce inflammation.” Simply add a drop of honey in next time you       feel that sore throat approaching.

Tip #3 from ChiuTips:

– YouTuber Jennifer Chiu make videos entirely about health, beauty and             wellbeing; as someone who suffers with hayfever, allergies and repetitive       sore throats, she knows how important it is to stay healthy in these winter     months. Jen suggests popping a couple of drops of Eucalyptus Oil into             some boiling water and inhaling the steam with the aid of a towel over             your head (it makes more sense if you try it!)

Tip #4 from health.com:

– Health.com, another website full of handy health tips and tricks suggest a     super tasty remedy! They say that even marshmallows could help with a         sore throat; “Sap from the marshmallow plant has been used for                         hundreds of years – usually in tea form – to treat coughs, colds, and sore        throats” and whilst it may be very different to the sweet treats of the same    name may help as the gelatin in them can coat and sooth the throat.

Tip #5 from Home Remedies & Health Tips:

– Another YouTube Channel, HR&HT provide a free service for general and       educational purposes to help inform the general public of general health         advice. In their video on sore throats, they suggest that the key to                       recovering is vitamin C; one of the key vitamins needed in our body,                 vitamin C, or lack thereof can answer for many common illnesses                       including colds and sore throats. Whilst you can take vitamin C tablets,           other naturally high sources of vitamin C include fruits such as apples and     oranges.

Bonus Tip! From HomeYog:

– HomeYog is a YouTube channel devoted to wellbeing, the word Yog being     a Sanskrit work meaning well being. In their video, they have a bit of a            wacky approach to curing a sore throat; cutting up one large potato,                  boiling it until soft, draining the juices through a nylon sieve into a cup          and drinking 1/2 a cup of this remedy, hot, three times a day. Would you          try it?

If you would like to learn more about any of these remedies, then please see the links included in the blog.

Sing your way to better prospects!

Image credit: Uplift Project

Did you know that singing can make you smarter? Research suggests that singing may help to grow and enhance the cells in your brain that are responsible for learning.

Dr Brian McDonough says that during a study conducted examining young song birds using “high-resolution imaging revealed structural changes to the brain within 24 hours of learning their first song. Cells related to learning in the brain became larger and there are similar changes in human brains” shown in human trial results.

The research conducted some eight years ago is still entirely viable today as we see more and more community choirs blooming. This phenomenon can be seen all over the world with groups of people coming together to sing in a multitude of different ways, growing their mental learning centres, improving their memory and developing their social skills.

So it might be that singing from an early ago might improve your ability to learn and so enhance your chances with education and cognitive development, however it is not only young people that might benefit.

Studies have shown that singing can even stave off the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. Results have been quite effective, but it isn’t just the science that you must inspect: music tutor, Nancy Salwen, has first hand experience of the disease and how music can help. She says that whilst teaching a early music class in a nursing home, “Some of the residents who attend have dementia and don’t seem to be that aware of what’s going on. But once we start singing, tapping out a beat, and particularly if we sing a song they know from their past, they join right in! The know the words; they smile, they look around. They connect”. This could mean massive advancements in the treatment and prevention of both conditions and could mean saving the memory of hundreds of thousands of people.

Studies like the above and many more around the world have great meaning and show that singing, whether you think you can carry a tune or not, can make you a healthier and potentially a better learner.

If you’re interested in anything you’ve read above or just want to try out a fun packed and social choir who sings a wide variety of music and asks only for enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, pop down for a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.

Sources: CBS, The Fear of Singing Breakthrough Project

Background reading: Uplift ConnectBBC iWonder

With happiness comes healthiness

Some weeks ago we looked into how singing in a choir could help us to psychologically feel better within ourselves and improve our sense of wellbeing. This week we are going to delve into the physiological side of the argument; coming hand in hand with mental wellbeing, our physical health can be hugely impacted by singing in a choir, so here are just some of the benefits. Firstly, whilst “Exercise is one of the few activities in life that is indisputably good for us,” Daniel H. Pink tells us in his book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.” “Choral singing might be the new exercise.” It is thought that the practice of singing can increase your lung capacity, regulate your heart beat and increase the rate of release of endorphins (happy hormones). Research undertaken by Cardiff University even uncovered a secret within singing that could improve symptoms of lung cancer and Parkinson’s. A Music Professor Brenville Hancox “established, Skylarks, a choir aimed at people with Parkinson’s Disease. One of the participants in the choir explained how his voice had been strengthened, despite receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s five years earlier. Reasons for the improvement have been suggested as deep breathing and the extended use of the vocal chords.” Add all these impressive health benefits to those psychological benefits we discussed previously and singing in a choir sounds like a fantastic idea! You can give it a try at a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.

Sources: CNBC, CMUSE, The Telegraph 

Background reading: City Academy, BBC iWonder

We know that singing makes us happy – did you?

Did you know that singing in a choir makes you feel better in yourself? Now, we’re biased, of course, but let’s have a look at some research from those who aren’t. Research published by the University of Oxford and the Cambridge University Press has shown that “people feel more positive after actively singing than they do after passively listening to music or after chatting about positive life events.” The researchers have put this down to the release of ‘happy’ hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine as well as reducing stress and decreasing blood pressure. Even a journalist from the Independent, Simmy Richman, who was invited to join Chaps Choir for a time to experience this first hand said that, “seeing the effect everyone’s voices were having left me quite overcome” and went as far as to say that he noticed his, “four-year-old son has been told that he can come and watch me sing and his excitement is contagious. It occurs to me how little our children see of us outside of our role as their parents. When we go out to work, we close the door on them or drop them off at school. They have little or no tangible idea of what it is we do when we get there. The knowledge that my son will see me in an entirely fresh context, taking my part in a public performance, makes me realise, momentarily, what it must feel like for the David Beckhams of this world. Hey kiddo, this is just one of the things your old man can do. Come and watch.” Sound interesting? Why not put the research to the test yourself and come for a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.

Research: University of Oxford, Cambridge University Press, The Independent.