This article first appeared in the Huffington Post on the 17th October 2014.
Singing boosts creativity and workplace harmony
If someone asked you to stand up and sing in front of your colleagues, you might want to hide under your desk and stare at your rubbish bin. I know many people fear speaking in public but singing is even scarier. That is, until you have a go!
I know that singing with others can make people connect on a deep visceral level and the benefits are enormous for both individuals and companies. Not only does singing make us feel better because all those endorphins are rushing around our bodies but there are profound health benefits too. So much clinical research has been carried out. A 5 year research study by the University of San Fransisco showed how singing can even make us live longer*.
Singing within corporate organisations allows employees to find a sense of achievement in something inside the usual 9-5.
Singing as a team:
- Allows team members to express themselves. Removes creative blocks
- Improves rapport
- Helps develop solutions together
- Transforms your business results
- Creates a fun atmosphere through an uplifting experience
In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Success is a science; if you have the right conditions, you get the results!” In a workshop recently for the international energy infrastructure firm CB&I, the team exceeded their boss’s expectations when back in the office by their sudden upbeat mood that they were more productive! And one Mayfair-based management consultancy showed inordinate amounts of chutzpah by pooling their talents together in just thirty minutes before performing to their colleagues.
On an individual level, singing improves our blood flow, stimulates our cognitive responses, improves our co-ordination and keeps us away from GP visits which could mean less absenteeism from work. Hurray!
One CEO cried his eyes out…
There’s no doubt the success of the hit BBC2 programme ‘The Choir’ is leading more businesses to set up their own choirs or hold team-building days where CEOs rub shoulders with their teams, as they all try to find their voice.
During an NHS nursing conference recently, there were over 100 nurses letting their hair down singing gospel harmonies. It was exhilarating. Isn’t it thrilling to think how this could have a positive knock-on effect on their patients’ well-being? And once a CEO cried his eyes out on hearing a member of his team sing a Christmas carol. Music moves us like nothing else. There’s no doubt that singing boosts creativity, team-spirit and work-place harmony.
At 21, I was asked to sing Mozart’s solo ‘Halleluja’ at the Royal Albert Hall. As a second year scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, I knew it was an opportunity that would change my life for ever.
I’ve sung at some prestigious venues in the UK and Europe and some uniquely bizarre settings such as balancing precariously on a 2.5m wall in an olive grove in Tuscany. I’m aware of what it’s like being up there (literally) in front of others. In my view, there’s nothing on earth that equates to the magic and unparalled joy that singing brings to people’s lives. Even as a young child, listening to Jussi Björling singing ‘Che gelida manina’ from “La Boheme” gave me goose bumps and still does.
Surely we could all do with a dose of something sublime connecting us to other human beings!
*Related article: “The creativity and aging study – The impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on older adults”. The George Washington University (2006) in partnership with: Elders Share the Arts (ESTA), Brooklyn, New York; Center for Elders and Youth in the Arts (CEYA) Institute on Aging, San Francisco, California; The Levine School of Music, Washington, DC.