Research shows singing is the best drug of all: the ultimate cure for mental and physical health
It’s hard to miss her. Not just because her crutches have slipped to the floor, and in truth without them you can’t actually tell that she’s living with her cerebral palsy. She’s not the best, or the loudest member of the choir.
Annabel is unmissable because her laugh echoes around the rehearsal space at Sofitel Melbourne On Collins. The With One Voice choirs have never been about producing beautiful music – that’s just the lovely side-effect of creating an environment where people of all walks of life come together for the pure joy of singing. The choir is always greater than the sum of its parts.
The vision of Creativity Australia’s With One Voice choirs is simple: You are happier when you sing, and even happier when you sing with diverse others. The innovative charity bridges the gap between people experiencing disadvantage and those more fortunate through the neuro-scientific benefits of community singing. They build supportive networks that help people connect to brighter futures.
Neuroscience proves that singing connects the neural pathways differently and fires up the right temporal lobe of the brain releasing endorphins, making people healthier, happier, smarter and more creative. Further international research continues to illustrate the benefits of singing for a range of purposes – from enhancing learning, language and other skills to healing those with strokes, speech abnormalities and depression.
Creativity Australia recently undertook a research evaluation of the With One Voice program with Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Social Impact and beyondblue. The statistics are remarkable:
With One Voice’s success is not just due to the physical act of singing awakening the mind, body and soul. It’s the diversity of participants aged 9 to 90 of all faiths and backgrounds, from CEOs to asylum seekers, that really transforms lives. Through the innovative Wish List program, participants who used to be perfect strangers grant one another wishes big and small: such as free music lessons, fridges, language tuition and jobs. The choirs help people connect to whatever they need in life: friends, mentors, wellbeing, self-esteem, networks, skills and employment. In the past few years over 2,500 wishes have been granted!
When Annabel joined the Melbourne CBD choir in February of 2014, she had been looking for a job for six years. At her second rehearsal, she asked for assistance in improving her resume through the wish list program. A fellow choir member offered to help her with her resume that day.
She says: “Joining the choir gave me the confidence to persevere in my search for employment and within about six months I had found a job in a call centre. Unfortunately, that job came to an end after eight weeks, despite my best efforts. When I announced at choir the following week that I had lost my job, I was introduced to a lady who had come to see what the choir was all about. This lady said that she might be able to help me with some voluntary work and that I should call her after the Christmas holidays. When I called her, she said that she could definitely help me with work but it wouldn’t be voluntary work. Instead she was going to pay me! It is now just over eight months later and I am still in my job and love it!”
Now Annabel has also joined the With One Voice Melbourne committee. “I volunteered as choir member support officer because I wanted to give back to a community that has given me so much”, shared Annabel.
“If I met someone who was struggling with something, I would encourage them to come to the With One Voice program because it will help them to forget their worries for a short time each week and it will probably change their life.”
Creativity Australia aims to change the world, one voice at a time.
Creativity Australia is not-for-profit and a charity. All donations are fully tax-deductible.
*Find your local With One Voice choir at www.creativityaustralia.org.au
Sing for Good is leading the globe in making our brains and lives healthier, happier and more creative through song. Families, workplaces, schools, choirs, sports teams… everyone is invited to sing a song, donate to entries and enter a video before Christmas 2015.
Do good. Feel good.www.singforgood.org
Creativity Australia’s Founder Tania de Jong AM, Executive Director, Conductors and some choir participants are available for interview. Video and high-resolution images are also available on request.
Suzanne Barton, Marketing and Communications Manager, Creativity Australia
(03) 8679 6088 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Tania de Jong AM is a leading Australian soprano, inspirational speaker, social entrepreneur, spiritual journey woman and creative innovation catalyst. She founded Creative Universe, Creativity Australia, Music Theatre Australia, Pot-Pourri and The Song Room and works with diverse communities through the ‘With One Voice’ choir social inclusion programs. Tania sings around the world as a soloist and with her group Pot-Pourri releasing 7 CDs. She is Founder and Executive Producer of Creative Innovation Global. Tania’s TED Talk How Singing Together Changes The Brain has sparked international interest. Tania has just released her solo CD Heaven on Earth.
Tania helps organisations build capabilities in creative thinking and leadership, develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, understand and manage disruption, foster diversity and community and unleash potential of individuals and teams.
Tania speaks and performs around the world and presents leadership and innovation workshops inspiring diverse audiences of 10 to 10,000 people ranging from corporate executive teams, boards and entire organisations to universities, hospitals, schools, business and entrepreneurship forums and at major national and international conferences and public events.
For more detailed information on Tania’s presentation topics or to book her for your next conference or special event please contact us at: email@example.com // +61 (0)3 8679 6000 // www.taniadejong.com // @Taniadejong