How engaging in the arts makes people happier and healthier

More and more research is being conducted to show how the arts have a positive effect on peoples mental and physical health. Medical professionals are noticing and taking action.

“Over the last ten years, research has demonstrated the importance of creative practice in the arts and humanities. They can help maintain health, provide ways of breaking down social barriers and expressing and understanding experiences and emotions, and assist in developing trust, identities, shared understanding and more compassionate communities. So, hopefully, this sidelining of the arts in health terms is changing.” — Paul Crawford from theconversation.com.

To read a summary of the research findings about the positive impacts of the arts check out this article: https://theconversation.com/the-arts-are-a-shadow-health-service-heres-why-105610

Based on research findings, British health secretary, Matt Hancock, proposed a bold new initiative that would allow and encourage doctors to prescribe the arts to their patients as part of their treatment.

The medical benefits of engaging with the arts are well-recorded: As Lay notes, a collaboration between the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and stroke survivors living in Hull, England, encouraged patients to play instruments, conduct and perform; 90 percent of these participants reported improvements in their physical and mental health. In Lambeth, dance lessons have been shown to improve concentration and communication skills amongst those displaying early signs of psychosis, and in Gloucestershire, hospitals have begun to refer individuals with lung conditions to singing sessions.

Read the full article here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/british-doctors-may-soon-prescribe-art-music-dance-singing-lessons-180970750/#MO407dCD3sSzSwEQ.99

Anyone Can Sing

Anyone who has a desire to sing can sing.

Singing is not reserved only for a handful of lucky people who, by a combination of circumstance and genetics, get to sing. While some people are born with certain physiological aspects that make it easier to sing or sound a certain way, sounding pretty or like a pop star is not the only way of having a satisfying vocal expression. 

"Throughout the world the fundamental right to vocal expression has existed for centuries in the form of communal singing. At the lakeside, in cotton fields, in battle and in love, in the funeral procession and at the wedding feast, in the mountains of Argentina and in the great gospel halls of New Orleans, singing has been the most arousing and enlivening communal activity since the earliest of times. However, in the modern era of the western world the culture of singing has been lost to a great extent. The conditioning we receive from parents or teachers who tell us we cannot sing, the sense of inadequacy instilled in those who do not read music and have overbearing preoccupations of everyday life--all these have led to a silencing of a true voice which in fact everyone possesses." -- Paul Newham from The Singing Cure. 

Singing is an instinctual expression. It is a form of communicating that is pre-verbal and has existed in human cultures since the dawn of our species. The idea that singing’s only value is to be regarded by others and pursued as a career has greatly limited the possibilities of how singing can play a role in peoples lives on a daily basis. The purpose of singing is to connect with the outside world and express whats inside. You have the right to do those things.