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The Brain and Singing

Singing in the shower makes your voice sound great, but is it also good for your mental health? ABC Classic asked Professor Sarah Wilson from the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Wilson suggests that yes, singing offers a range of neuro-protective benefits, acting as “a form of natural therapy.” As well as activating a range of networks associated with movement, listening, planning, memory and language, singing triggers the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. According to Professor Wilson, the benefits of singing can be triggered by both singing and thinking about singing. So if you don’t feel comfortable breaking into song on the bus, try thinking about it instead and save your singing for the shower and the car. Or, even better, join a choir! Most areas have choirs. Just googling my locality, there are various church choirs, Rock Choir, the Choir Company, Love to Sing choir, 4 community gospel choirs... And from the BBC Sing/Find a Choir website:

Performing Arts

  • Amdram - join an amateur dramatic society or musical theatre group. Search the database by region or place name to find a group near you.

  • BBC Performing Arts Fund - The BBC Performing Arts Fund helps aspiring music-makers and performers. It provides funding and support in the form of bursaries and competitions for musicians from a range of genres including choral, musical theatre and urban music. The Fund is supported by revenue from the voting lines of BBC One entertainment programmes that seek to find new performing talent (including Fame Academy, How Do you Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Over The Rainbow).

  • MT4UTH - Music Theatre 4 Youth (Ireland) is an all-Ireland performing arts education charity for 11 - 25 year olds.

  • National Association of Youth Music Theatre - searchable database of theatre companies divided by region.

  • The National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) - The main representative body for amateur theatre in the UK. Use the map to find groups in your area.

  • Youth Music Theatre - Youth Music Theatre has a range of outreach activities and residential courses throughout the year supported by professional directors, choreographers and musical directors.


  • Making Music - supporting and championing voluntary music. Find a choir by region.

  • British Choirs on the Net - find over 2000 choirs in the UK

  • Gerontius - for choirs and lovers of choral music

  • National Association of Choirs - joining the nation in choral singing

  • British Association of Barbershop Singers - all about male barbershop singing

  • Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers - ladies four-part harmony groups

Get Singing

  • Sing with the BBC Singers - The UK's only full-time professional chamber choir.

  • Sing Live UK - Ordinary people doing extraordinary things in exciting places

  • Sing for Pleasure - Sing for Pleasure aims to encourage the enjoyment of better singing

  • Vocalist - Exercises for Singers

  • Sing Up - helping kids find their voice

  • 20000 Voices - encouraging everyone in the North East to enjoy singing

  • Natural Voice Practitioners - support for vocal practitioners and choir listings

  • Association of British Choral Directors - a forum for conductors of choral music

These linking services list a range of choirs, vocal groups, and singing practitioners. The BBC has not checked and does not endorse any of these choirs, groups or practitioners. For more guidance on engaging music teachers see the Federation of Music Services website

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