Many people sing in the shower, others sing in choirs or at their place of worship, and some do karaoke. Other than the joy singing brings us, does singing provide any health benefits? I consulted with Billie Bandermann, the choir director of Hashirim, a Jewish community choir, to get some answers.
In addition to conducting, Billie has been teaching voice for more than four decades, including instructing octogenarian singers. According to Billie, proper breathing is a requirement for good singing. Specifically, “Inhale deep and wide to fill the lungs from the bottom upwards while Continue reading →
During medical training at UCLA, I had the good fortune to learn from Norman Cousins, a Jewish writer, editor, and adjunct professor of medical humanities. Despite being misdiagnosed with tuberculosis at age 11, he set out as a boy to “discover exuberance.” He believed that positive emotions were the key to fighting illness, which he exemplified in the telling of his own battle with a severe form of arthritis. In the book Anatomy of An Illness, he describes his victory over a potentially life-threatening condition by taking mega doses of vitamin C, and watching Marx Brothers movies and TV sitcoms. He relates, “Laughter is a form of internal jogging. It moves your internal organs around. It enhances respiration. It is an ignitor of great expectations.” His Continue reading →