Brighton is a very transient city. Job mobility and travelling in general has got easier and so it can be hard to find a sense of community in any city. Especially in the digital age where everyone sits divided by the same ‘iphone face’.
Music can help combat this lack of social cohesion. It would seem as well that amateur musicians benefit more in terms of social, cognitive and emotional health than professional ones. Why should Noddy Holder have all the fun? Here’s how it can help:
1) Being with like-minded people. I joined a group guitar lesson and felt that I had found my tribe. I could finally talk about picks, barre chords and augmented 3rds without being told to get out more. According to one study, belonging to a ‘meaningful’ social group enhances psychological wellbeing. For some singers in this study, being part of the group was more important than the actual singing itself. So join a music group and chill with your tribe.
2) Being vulnerable in front of people. There is nothing more vulnerable than singing in front of others. Brene Brown studies vulnerability and through her research found that it was the key to connecting meaningfully with others and the key to joy. So drop your guard and sing like a demented canary!
3) Bonding and feeling the love. Oxytocin is a hormone that rises whenever we are hugged or kissed. It has also been shown to rise significantly after a group singing lesson. So join a choir and be smooched by the music. I joined one and felt more cuddly than a koala on a kiwi tree. No sniffing people’s heads though, they don’t like it.
4) Going analogue as in not digital. It is a chance to ditch the technology. Not completely if you play synths or use mikes etc., but the other unsociable types…like social media. It’s a chance to stop liking Facebook and start liking, well….an actual face.
Thankfully then, music is not just for the elite. There is power in making music together in the community. Opportunities include open mic nights, choirs, group guitar lessons, orchestras. It promotes people to live well in the lonely digital age just by showing up and being in the moment in real time. No one puts this better than Rebecca Cullen, Sterio Stickman.