You cant remember what you went upstairs for but I bet you can remember every word of that obscure 80s song you used to love. Probably because you spent hours singing along. Ever suffered with an earworm? That annoying tune that plays over and over in your head, driving you crazy? That’s your brain making sure you never, ever forget that song.
Turns out, singing could be really good for your memory.
A Mental Boost
Singing has an almost instantaneous effect on our mood, boosting our happy feelings so we sing louder and prouder. But sometimes singing can make us sad. A song can trigger a painful memory that can leave us sobbing in the corner. That is the power of music.
A study in Helsinki has shown that the part of the brain that stores music deteriorates slower than other parts of the brain. This could be the reason why songs are so much easier to remember. It’s not enough to just listen to the music, though. Singing engages the brain in a different way, cementing those words and tunes in place.
That same part of your brain is located right next to the area where memories are stored. That makes it easy for your brain to link between the two regions, which is why songs can have such a powerful nostalgic effect.
A Treatment for Dementia and Alzheimer’s
There are numerous groups across the country that encourage singing for those suffering from mental decline in their old age. The world can be an incredibly scary place for those suffering from memory loss, but music has the power to bring back isolated memories. They’ll often tell stories about where they were when they heard a certain song. It can also help them to better connect with the present, which is a very powerful thing. If you have a relative suffering from dementia, singing with them can help maintain that treasured bond for a little bit longer, especially if you choose songs that were once important to you both.
Could it also be Preventative?
Dementia affects 1 in 3 people in the UK, and there are many studies into why this is, how we can treat it, and how we can prevent it. One study believes that singing could help to strengthen the memory, making vocalists less prone to mental decline.
Singing to Consolidate Learning
Think way, way back to your very first few weeks at school. Chances are, you can’t remember all that much. I bet you remember the ABC song though. That is just one example of how singing can help you learn and retain knowledge.
Singing can be particularly useful when learning new languages or difficult topics. There are certain rules, however.
Songs should be simple and repetitive, so they become familiar very quickly. They should be upbeat, with a positive message. Ideally, the tune should sit well with the topic, making it easier to remember. Music can help boost your energy levels, which can improve motivation and concentration, so you find learning even easier.
It can also be useful to add visual aids. If you are learning a language, for example, you can make flashcards with the words you are trying to remember. Or add actions to the songs, creating a full-body experience that adds an extra layer of memory to the aid.
Is it Better to Sing in a Group?
Singing alone is certainly beneficial, but when you sing as a group, your memory bank expands. Others remember words, tunes, and harmonies that you might have forgotten. That little nudge can fire up a whole new memory for you. Plus, there is something positive in the bonding and closeness you experience when singing with others, firing up neurons in the brain that fight depression and mental deterioration.
Want to discover the memory benefits for yourself? Join one of our singing groups! They are a great way to make friends, have fun, and enjoy all the great mental bonuses that come from belting out your favourite songs. You don’t have to be an amazing singer – you just need to have the desire to learn and be a team player. There are no stand-out egos in group singing classes.
Get in touch by sending an email to email@example.com and book your first class today. You could be singing your way into a better memory that sticks with you for the rest of your life!
Tags: Songwriting tips
, Learning how to sing
, Learn singing as an adult
, vocal tips