De-stressing: Music, The Proms… And A Trip To My Dentist!

Imagine if music didn’t exist? Consider your daily routine without hearing or engaging with music in any way. What would your life be like?
Music instantly affects the way we feel. It impacts our mood. It flows through us and engages us physically and emotionally. There isn’t anything else like it! It’s historic, worldwide, cultural and forever developing and morphing, influenced by individuals, groups, trends, cultural changes and technology. One style influences another style and exciting new variants are born. Music locks directly into our being – creating a soundtrack to our lives. What’s your soundtrack? What music and which songs have become an integral part of you? Do they take you back to key moments in your life?  Happy times?  Significant times? Do you remember exactly where you were when you heard that song or piece of music for the first time? What memories and feelings do they evoke? Is there a style of music or song that you play when you’re feeling low? Do you feel better?

Music relieves stress. It’s been proven to do a lot more than just relieve stress but stress is a word used more and more frequently and with mental-health in the headlines regularly now, finding ways to combat stress is key for all of us – whoever we are! Rock Choir was featured recently in a BBC2’s Music Special of ‘Trust me I’m a Doctor’ where a group of our brave Members (‘Rockies’) were put to the test in a break-through experiment to see if the group of chemicals, endocannabinoids, released by the brain that create the natural high, could be achieved by cycling, dancing or singing in a group – i.e. Rock Choir. The results showed that the Rock Choir session increased the natural high of the Rockies by 40% compared to a result of 20% in cycling and dancing. I wasn’t surprised. I receive daily reports from the Rockies who want me and my team to know that because of Rock Choir they are experiencing an improvement in their health, well-being and general mood. Their relationships at home are better and they are more productive and positive. That they find their zest for life returns and health issues and medical problems are impacted positively or at the least managed more positively because of their new-found strength and outlook on life. Based on their feedback, it’s quite remarkable how something so natural as singing in Rock Choir can have such a profound effect on their well-being.

Without Music, there wouldn’t be Rock Choir
Music is the huge dramatic and positive driving force in my life. It is the driving force of Rock Choir. Without it, there is no Rock Choir! I choose up-beat stress-busting feel-good songs for the Rockies to enjoy. Their weekly rehearsals feature up-lifting, mood-changing, positive and fun songs and the style of teaching and education creates the platform for them to immerse themselves in the music. Some Members are dealing with horrendous personal challenges and some have simply lost their way temporarily. Others already know their favourite songs and can’t wait to have a big old stress-busting sing each week and leave on a happy high. Others use the experience to connect with new friends where they have a love of music in common, eventually taking to the stage with one another nervous but excited ready to perform their amazing well-rehearsed harmonies to the supporting audience of loved ones, friends and engaging public. Music is looking after us and I am able to channel my choice of music through Rock Choir to reach my Rockies. What would we do without it?!

My music, the Proms, my high and my dentist!
Singing and enjoying music or simply taking part in, or surrounding yourself with music (whether you’d consider yourself a musician or not) will absolutely have a positive impact on your life and on the stress in your life. We will ALL experience stress in varying levels throughout our lives and I am no stranger to it. Creating and building Rock Choir has, at times, created dramatic periods of stress in my life sometimes for years at a time. I have had to turn to music as therapy and it’s always been reliable, calming me down and offering a relief even in the darkest times when I couldn’t see a way forward. (‘The End of the Innocence’, Don Henley, has an immediate calming effect on me within the first few opening bars!) The manifestation of stress comes out in me physically and I am still learning to manage its symptoms – some fairly dramatic and some fairly common.  A few months ago, during the summer, I broke 3 teeth overnight by clenching. I wasn’t aware I was doing it whilst I was asleep although I have had episodes in the past. I woke up feeling uncomfortable and 2 weeks later I was in agonising pain, dehydrated, hungry and sobbing like a child in the dentist’s chair whilst the poor chap and his team tried to pour a bleach-like solution into the opened tooth onto the exposed roots! (Barbaric?!!) (And how can a tiny root create SO much pain?) This experience led to a panic attack and so much tension in my body I could have snapped in half. The initial stress that summer had been created from the anxiety and work-load of releasing our single, Hallelujah, in the lead up to our debut performance at BBC Radio 2’s ‘Proms in the Park’. Someone had upset me a great deal which led me to have the ultimate bad night’s sleep. I had that first root canal in the week leading to the BBC Proms event, the second, 2 days after the event and although it was decided at the time that I didn’t need a 3rd it just so happens that 8 weeks on, the pain is back and the 3rd root canal is booked for Wednesday which just so happens to be International Stress Day! What are the odds of that?  However, what was odd about the summer’s experience is that on the morning of the BBC Proms, the pain disappeared?! Completely!  During that week I had been interviewed by Chris Evans who had remarked (live to his Radio 2 Breakfast Show audience of millions!) how much I was shaking! I could hardly reply that I’d broken my teeth and needed a root canal and was surviving on painkillers and penicillin! So instead I suggested that anyone would be shaking in his presence as he was so amazing! (Which he actually was!) But when all that pain disappeared suddenly, I was able to step on stage at the BBC Proms in the Park and really take hold of it, enjoy it and engage with a fabulous audience of 40,000 live on Radio 2 with my amazing team and the incredible BBC Concert Orchestra! The music, the singing and the experience all led to one of the biggest highs I have ever experienced. The high lasted for 16 days and a few days in I magically floated into my 2nd root canal procedure, stress-free and deliriously happy listening to BBC Radio 2 as I was rapidly put under sedation in the dentist’s chair. Was it the music? The singing? The adrenalin? Radio 2? (Love the BBC!) The stress disappeared and the music took over and I had the time of my life!