Singing and Stress

Singing and Stress

Yesterday, I had a very busy day in work and when I got home, I was a little bit tired but it was choir night, so I had to cook dinner and get ready to go to choir by 7.15pm. I’ve never been a fan of cooking, so with reluctance I started chopping vegetables. Having Parkinson’s, this was a slow laborious process but I managed to prepare them. As I started cooking, I realised that time was not on my side and started getting a little stressed that I was going to be late for the choir. To add to that, my girlfriend was joining me for dinner, so I wanted to prepare a nice meal for us, which inadvertently made me more stressed. Eventually, I got it all prepared and just as I was ready to serve the meal, the doorbell rang to announce my girlfriend’s arrival. So we sat down to dinner and enjoyed the meal, which wasn’t one of my finer efforts but it filled the hunger void. By this stage, I could feel the stress inside me and so wasn’t very talkative, but we finished dinner and made our way to choir practice (which we made in time).

To begin with, I’m not a great singer, but I’ve always enjoyed a bit of kareoke or singing in the shower. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago, I’ve noticed the tone of my voice becoming softer which is one of many non motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. So, joining the choir gave me an opportunity to sing but also to hopefully improve the tone of my voice. As we began our warm up exercises, my body was still a little tense from the stress and so I held back from singing as loud as I could. The choir director noticed this and gently encouraged all of us to sing louder, without singling me out which I really appreciated.

Once the warm up exercises were finished, we started practising our songs. Slowly, I began to get into the singing and the more I sang, the more I started to enjoy it. I could feel the stress dissipating as the melody of the song filled the hall. Our choir director also encouraged us to move as we sang, so with her direction, we all started doing side steps in line to the beat of the music. This greatly helped to loosen some of my muscles which had become tense with stress. After the first hour, we took a break for a cup of tea and by this stage, I was much calmer than I had been when I had arrived. As we chatted and laughed during the break, it became obvious to me the power that music has. The melody and the power of voices singing in unison lifted my spirit and the heartwarming feeling I experienced enveloped the stress that had infiltrated my body. By the end of the second hour, I was stress free and singing louder (although not necessarily better!) but I was really enjoying it and didn’t want to finish. That simple act of singing and being in a hall full of positive energy transformed my stressed, tense Parkinson’s body into one, that while I sang forgot I had Parkinson’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *