27 June 2023
Singing has existed for as long as we as a species have been able to speak. In the same way that we’re naturally programmed to understand language, an ability to enjoy and respond to music is something that we all have. Singing is one of the most accessible ways to make music. Anyone who can make a sound with their voice can do it, so it’s no wonder that children get such pleasure from singing.
Singing opens up memories, brings forth emotions, gets rid of boredom and helps with mood. It can be like playing, with actions and dancing or funny rhymes and playful lyrics. There are many physical benefits which make us feel good. It helps us come together in groups and widen our circles of friends. It can give us a sense of belonging and achievement. These are all reasons that both children and parents find singing fun.
Something special happens when we sing. No matter who we are, when we focus on singing, we can forget everything else and just think about what we’re doing. This is one reason children enjoy it so much. Children are spontaneous by their nature. They’re creative and inquisitive, too. The chance to experiment with their voices is something they love to be given. Many songs play into this, with fun nursery rhymes entertaining children with silly lyrics and fun sound effects. Even as children get older, the words they sing bring them pleasure. Often children will come to understand a lot about the world from what they sing. They can become excited by what they sing, and the way that songs are repeated and revisited is another thing that appeals to children. Their brains are constantly making sense of things and are hard wired to crave repetition. Singing fits well into this.
Children feel good when they sing, too. Singing releases many good chemicals into the brain, and the physical act of singing means children gain good posture and learn healthy breathing techniques, which in turn leads to boosted immune systems, stronger muscles, good circulation and more. So the more they sing, the better children will physically feel, meaning they’ll enjoy it.
Then there’s the social aspect. Though singing can be just as enjoyable when done alone as when in a group, group singing adds an extra aspect that children respond to. They like to be with others, and working as a group, being in time and in tune, help them feel a sense of togetherness. It can support social bonding, and children will often reach the end of a song feeling close to those they have sung with. There’s a sense of achievement too. Young children love being able to recite an entire song (or come up with their own) and older children get a thrill from “nailing” a song - performing it in such a perfect way to hear immediately the results of their hard work.
As for parents? All the reasons that make singing such fun for children can be applied to grown-ups, too. Added to that, there’s the enjoyment and pride that can be taken from seeing how much pleasure your child is feeling, whether they’re performing in a choir, singing a nursery rhyme with you, or simply sitting humming their own composition quietly to themselves.