This Christmas, I was poignantly reminded of my school teaching years in two highly unexpected ways. First of all I got, in
Find the thing that you enjoy, the thing that pushes you to the next level and makes you so proud when you get there. I can't imagine my life without fitness now and although I no longer do my trusty Jillian DVDs I've moved on and found other things I enjoy doing.
The process of writing can feel like tapping into something primal which is a kind of life force outside of myself. This is very freeing. As a musician and songwriter I find I need music, and start to feel depressed if I can't experience it.
I love the camaraderie of it all, but also I just kind of like to sing. It's frowned on if you do it in the street, it can feel self-conscious if you do it in film-approved areas like the shower. It's great when friends like a bit of a sing too, but it's not as common as it could be and certainly not up there in popular shared pastimes like a boxset marathon or two pints and a packet of crisps.
Few things in this world can beat the feeling of belting out your favourite song at the top of your lungs. Whether you sing in the car, in a crowd at a festival or just with your girlfriends at the end of drunken night, it really is one of life's true joys. (Honestly, who doesn't love a good 'Groove is in The Heart' karaoke session at 1am?).
In a choir we learn songs, of course, and every rehearsal we build on that knowledge and musicality. But I suspect over time we also learn so much more from being in a choir than just the music, so I asked my choir Facebook friends to help me out with their thoughts on this and I've distilled the top five take-aways from being in a choir.
As a non-scientist but a lifelong music advocate, it was a hugely exciting adventure for me to be talking to choir members about lab research and finding out whether the obvious power of the choirs that I saw every day could actually be having an impact on their biology, too.
Pensioners should consider joining a choir to stave off symptoms of dementia and avoid loneliness, health experts have advised
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.
Last year there wasn't a week that went by without a parent uploading a dash-cam video to YouTube of them singing along to popular songs with their kids - and these videos have clocked up tens of millions of views.