Mental Health Week: Sing your way to happier you

In recognition of Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October we are asking you to take the next step towards acknowledging your own mental health and wellbeing. #mentalhealthbeginswithyou

As the stigma around mental illness reduces, more people are recognising the benefits of participating in activities which create a more positive psychology. And one of the best ways to feel happier, healthier, smarter and more relaxed is by singing! Whether you sing in your car, sing with friends or in the shower, taking five minutes out of your day to sing it out will put you in a better mood both mentally and physically.

When we sing, we create new neural pathways and release oxytocin, the hormone responsible for love and bonding. Singing also fires up the right temporal lobe of the brain and releases endorphins, “feel good” chemicals that trigger fun, enjoyment, happiness and relaxation.

Not only is singing a great way to improve your mental wellbeing, but singing in a choir or group is proven to be an even more valuable resource for those in need. Regularly singing with others in the community allows you to build strong networks and this is especially beneficial for those who don’t have strong family or community supports in their lives.

In recent years I have struggled with depression (2)World Mental Health Day is a global day to raise awareness and advocacy for mental health issues worldwide.

This year WMHD has three objectives:

  • Encourage help seeking behaviour
  • Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
  • Foster connectivity throughout communities

By simply having a singalong, encouraging others to sing, connecting with the community and raising awareness about mental health you can help achieve these goals and improve you own mental wellbeing.

De-stress your life and do something good. Do it for you and those around you. Join us in song and enter Sing for Good. #dogood #feelgood  #WMHD

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Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

Last week our lovely ambassadors The Pacific Belles and Neighbours star Alan Fletcher took to the mic to promote Sing for Good on the Melbourne radio station JOY 94.9. The dynamic team sang the popular song ‘Accentuate the Positive’ giving the audience a taste of their delightful harmonies with support from the toe-tapping ukulele. The song was first written by Harold Arlen in 1944 and later performed by The Andrew Sisters and Bing Crosby. The song choice couldn’t be more fitting for Sing for Good with the key lyrics explaining ‘you got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative’.  Watch their radio performance below. 

“It’s important to reach out and connect with people and we feel so lucky to do this through our favourite pastime, which is singing”
Betty, Dot & Mabel (The Pacific Belles)

JOY 94.9 is a gay and lesbian volunteer-based community radio station listened to by 329,000 people in Melbourne as well as online, podcasts and blogs. The station is self-funded and committed to enabling freedom of speech and breaking down the barriers of isolation. JOY 94.9 is also joining us as community partners for Sing for Good 2015.

Working together our ambassadors and community partner put on a fantastic show and we can’t thank them enough for their continual support.

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We love: If You’ve Got Love

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Sing for Good singing challenge has been open for nearly two weeks and we have seen an array of amazing entries! Each performance captures the joy and happiness that group singing brings to one another and we are looking forward to seeing many more inspiring sings in the coming weeks. One entry we are loving though comes from our community partner OzHarvest.

The Australian band Air Land Sea has offered the song If You’ve Got Love in support of OzHarvest’s efforts to rescue food, educate and nourish Australians in need. The video captures recipients of OzHarvest food rescue services and features members of With One Voice Sydney and The Sydney Street Choir. You can check it out here.

We are delighted to work with OzHarvest, who provide suppers for several of our inclusive community choirs. Part of the donations raised from this Sing for Good entry will go to support the important work of OzHarvest. So please support this fantastic cause and give generously!

Air Land Sea is a new writing and recording project from songwriters Tony Buchen, Nadav Kahn and Lior. The single of If You’ve Got Love is out now on iTunes.

Watch, donate and vote for OzHarvest: http://singforgood.org/ozharvest-if-youve-got-love

Oz Harvest

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  • Time to Celebrate

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Too many sickies? Get your staff to sing daily

Tania and Choir

Group singing inspires creativity, reactivates weary brains and improves our wellbeing in countless ways – international research is proving it again and again. So why don’t more businesses sing daily?

According to IBM’s CEO Global Study, which polled over 1500 executives across 60 nations and 33 industries, creativity is now regarded as the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing integrity and global thinking.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, creativity and innovation are a prerequisite for success, and possibly even survival. Yet in many companies there are no clear pathways for developing personal creativity. In fact, often those with the ideas are ignored or stifled, so that eventually their voices fall silent

To continue reading, click here

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  • Time to Celebrate

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International Women’s Day 2015: Celebrating the voice of Melbourne women

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Some years ago I went to a corporate breakfast for International Women’s Day. The guest speaker was a life coach for women of power and influence. She referred to herself as a Persuasion Expert. She wore a pale lemon suit and exhorted us to set our goals. She talked about the imperative of women finding their voice.

I imagined all the husbands, at home, rolling their eyes.

“Find your voice? Find the off-button, more likely.”

Read more here

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Marg and daughter unite With One Voice

Marg and daughter

For resident Marg Walker, the With One Voice Altona Meadows community choir at Benetas St George’s is more than just an opportunity to sing along to her favourite tunes. Read more in this great article from DPS News.

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  • Time to Celebrate

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Never too late: raise your voice, lift your heart

Reader's Digest image

Adrift after the loss of her great love, Angela Quigley re-discovered joy and a new community at With One Voice Brisbane.

Read more in this lovely Reader’s Digest article by Hazel Flynn.

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  • 7 Days of Sing for Good

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Nerves On A Choir: My First Rehearsal

Sam Siddons

I had no idea what to expect heading into the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins for my first With One Voice choir. I had just landed a gig as an intern for Creativity Australia and assumed I’d be there in an ‘observational’ capacity. That assumption proved to be incorrect. I’d never sung in a choir before, let alone publicly, and was nervous about to be doing so.

As I stood awkwardly wondering what I had got myself into it was suggested I go and join the “boys”. The boys, or the bass section, consisted of six men all much older than me, yet some were years apart from one and other.  Summing up the situation I attempted to sneak into the back row unnoticed, but this close knit gang of basses weren’t about to just let anyone in.

“A tall older man turned and looked at me.
He offered me his hand and joyfully asked “do you sing often?” “No, not really,” I said. He smiled before saying,
“You have a voice. That’s a start”.”

The tall man then introduced me to the rest of the boys, each as welcoming as he.  After being accepted into the “gang” I noticed how much they enjoyed bouncing off one and other, telling stories, and checking up on other members. As more basses arrived I was continually introduced and made to feel welcomed in their jokes and chit chat.

As Kym, the choir conductor, began to take the warm up I got a chance to see how excited everyone was to start singing. Some focused their breathing to prepare themselves, others joked and smiled, and some just sat there content in the company of others. Yet the fact remained, the most daunting part was coming, and the singing was about to commence.

Kym stood before us with the song lyrics we were about to tackle projected brightly for all to read. As we went through our warm up I tried to sing under my breath, as not to offend anyone with my untried voice. Before we sang the first song together Kym broke it down into sections and helped everyone to understand their role. With each attempt I began to grow with confidence, as if I was catching it from the other choir members by seeing their joy manifest through their singing.

I couldn’t help but feel the sense of anticipation building to start singing as one.  Once Kym was satisfied everyone felt comfortable we began our first group rendition. Any nerves or fears I had quickly vanished as the energy, joy, and passion quickly became contagious.

“Before I knew it I was singing as loudly as anyone else,
and dare I say it I think I sounded pretty good!

But my individual performance didn’t matter, as the
sound of so many different and unique voices from people all sorts of backgrounds became one. I couldn’t help but feel camaraderie and a sense of inclusion.”

We went on to sing another two or so songs and by the choirs end not only did I feel a part of it, I felt I had truly enjoyed it.   As the singing ended the Sofitel provided supper for the choir members; a chance to move around the room and talk to people in different parts of the choir. I quietly slipped out feeling uplifted, with a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment, with my previous perceptions completely re-shaped.

Never before have I taken a chance to sing in a choir. After my experience at With One Voice I realised what I have been missing out on. There is something so liberating about singing, and when you’re given the chance to be who you are and sing, I highly recommend you take it. You will not regret it, how could you?

Find your local With One Voice choir at www.creativityaustralia.org.au

Melbourne choir

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  • Time to Celebrate

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  • 7 Days of Sing for Good

    There are only 7 days left of Sing for Good 2016!! It has been wonderful to see all the fantastic entries and generous donations this year….

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Submissions close 18 November