Music and sport are the perfect marriage; they were made for each other...designed to live happily ever after. The beneficial effect of using music in sport and exercise is nothing new. Music is able to grab our attention, cause a reaction, change how we feel, help us remember things, help us overcome shyness, make us feel good and interestingly increase our work output.
There's no doubt that this time of year offers more opportunities to stretch our vocal prowess whether singing in church, joining in a few impromptu carols at the local train station or yodeling along to Julie Andrews on Christmas Day after a few glasses of port. In fact, it's almost impossible to avoid the strains of festive songs whether we're in the supermarket, on public transport or at a street corner.
When I first became a music therapist many years ago, I worked with small children between the age of 3 to 5 in a community setting where both typical children and children with disabilities attended during the day. There were about 20 of them in the class. Half of them had disabilities, such as autism and Down Syndrome, while the other half did not.
To be such an open book as a songwriter and a person in general I find that I am much more vulnerable and exposed. I am simply putting my weaknesses, loves, dreams and fears all in one place for anyone hear. It worries me sometimes that I expose so much of these inner worries and secrets that one day someone could turn around a use all my own words against me.
I've been eagerly anticipating the start of this year's 30th anniversary BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest, which has been firmly in my diary for the last 18 months. I've been following the months of preparation leading up to next week, to the extraordinary, challenging competition, which viewers and listeners around the world have the chance to see - and it represents the culmination of many, many months of musical preparation by each of the candidates. It's a world-wide event, a fantastic platform!