Singing is fundamental to our biological makeup

This is a brilliant article worth a full read, but here are some highlights for you from one of BBBs favourite researchers Professor Sarah Wilson from the University of Melbourne.

“When we study singing, we don’t just learn about singing,” she says. “We learn about things that make us uniquely human and gain insights into the way the brain develops, why it developed the way it has, how it develops and why we’ve held onto music.

“There is a singing network in the brain [which is] quite broadly distributed,” Wilson says. When we speak, the hemisphere of the brain dealing with language lights up, as we might expect. When we sing, however, both sides of the brain spark into life.

Here are some new understandings about singing and our brains that may explain why trained singers and, what could be called, shower singers experience singing differently. “When the non-singers were scanned, the researchers found they were only using their language brain network to sing and didn’t venture into their singing networks at all. But when the everyday or “shower” singers and professional singers were scanned “we saw increasing differentiation between the singing and the language networks of the brain”, Wilson says. So, the better you are at singing, the more pronounced your specialised singing network. What we are doing when we practise and engage in singing is developing this specialised network, which gives us that physiological reward hit, the chills, the dopamine release, the sense of feeling good,” says Wilson. The more we sing, the more we develop this network in our brains, and the better it feels.”

There you have some highlights of the excellent article. Enjoy, and get singing!

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