by Karen Zimmerman, Feature Writer, December 19, 2021
My husband loves to hum. He says that he is not a singer, or at the very least he thinks he cannot sing. I have heard him sing, and he renders all notes in a song just fine. No fancy vibrato, no Bing Crosby crooning, but his deep baritone adds a smile as he sings in key. Sure, the high notes are a stretch for him, but I understand. My voice only reaches alto range.
So he hums. When he is humming, he is smiling and in a good mood. Every. Single. Time. And he hums quite often throughout the day. There is no identifiable song, just his musical arrangement—short, repetitive, and happy notes. I find myself mimicking along, and yes, smiling with an uplifted mood each time I join him.
We also have music playing in the house most days (if football or golf channels — or the dreaded news — are not monopolizing the television). Whether it is one of the music channels on cable, Spotify, the radio, or even albums cranking on the old stereo console, there is music.
Music has a way of transporting us to moments in time, lifting our moods, putting a giddy-up, or even a dance, in our steps. Google “the benefits of singing,” or “is singing good for mental health,” and numerous websites appear with lists of excellent singing endorsements, including www.healthline.com, barbershop.org, and chicagotribune.com. Studies find that singing may help to enhance memory, alleviate stress, stimulate the immune response, improve mental health and mood, lung function, and even posture, and can boost confidence too.
Studies also show singing may improve speaking abilities, offering helpful benefits for Parkinson’s patients. Where PD can cause low volume and a monotonous tone, singing can enhance voice volume and quality. It can also strengthen the muscles that control swallowing and breathing. Singing in groups or choirs allows an opportunity for socialization. It can even give a boost to our mood, and enhance cognition. Our posture improves with a song.
There is more to singing than just belting out a favorite tune. The benefits are sweet music to the ear, and a feel-good way to strengthen important muscles and improve communications.
So sing a holiday carol, shout for joy and let your beautiful voice be heard! Even if you can’t carry a tune, let that tune carry you and sing a holly jolly song of good cheer. And jingle all the way into the new year when we will talk more about the benefits of music therapy and singing. We will explore local avenues to keep our songs loud, strong, and in tune. And if you are not sure of all the words to your favorite holiday melodies, no worries. Just hum along with us!
We wish you and yours a wonderful, safe and healthy, Happy Holiday Season!
For additional information on the benefits of music therapy and singing for PD patients, be sure to consult with your PD healthcare provider, PDEVV Hub, and visit these Parkinson’s websites:
For additional information on the general benefits of singing, view the following articles: