There was no doubt, for us, that singing contributes to our overall wellbeing, health and joy. But here’s a interview with Professor Sarah Wilson, from the University of Melbourne, who speaks about what scientists have discovered by scanning people’s brains when they were singing.
Wilson says that their researches prove that when people sing (or even just think about singing), large areas of the brain light up or activate: auditory or listening networks (well, that was quite logical), motor networks, planning and organisational networks, memory and language networks, and also emotional networks. As a consequence, these areas augment social bonding and empathy.
And even though singing feels like a relatively easy process (well… the shower singing at least), the complexity of it seems to be very strong for the brain. And, surprisingly, one of the areas that get activated when singing is our reward network. Then those emotions lead to the release of dopamine, the so-called feel-good chemical for the brain, that lift our mood.
So by giving all those networks a workout, singing brings neuro-protective benefits for our mental health. And, we’d add, as the brain is part of the body, as a whole, and not detached, it’s not only our mental health that’s benefiting.
You can also check out the whole 6 minutes interview with Sarah Wilson at ABC Classic FM, for the broader picture.