The Benefits of Singing for College Students

By Yollette Merritt
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The fall semester at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) is coming to an end, and students are finalizing choices for the upcoming term. A course option not often on the radar is voice training classes. Benefits of singing include personal social and professional development, as well as often overlooked health benefits.

Research has demonstrated that singing strengthens the immune system with an increase in the antibody immunoglobulin A, especially after rehearsals. Correct singing techniques not only help develop good posture, but is also an excellent workout via strengthening the diaphragm, building lung capacity and stimulating blood circulation. Singing helps to decrease the amount of cortisol – the stress hormone found in the blood system while facilitating the increase in endorphins which acts as a natural antidepressant. Singing also helps to strengthen throat and palate muscles, important in preventing snoring as well as sleep apnea.

Note should be taken that singing is well and alive at CSUMB. Vocalists-in-training in Professor Carlos Tottress’ classes were asked what value did they find in voice training. The respondents ranged from first-year freshmen to graduating seniors. Their comments demonstrate an overall consensus that benefits included increased confidence and poise, enlarged circle of friends and support networks, improved communication and speaking skills, and just plain fun. Dec. 8 will feature a combination voice recital, chorale and choir presentations – “Peace on Earth Chorale Concert”- the last public (and free) performance of the year.

Alex Crapo – Communication Design

“Vocals training with Professor Carlos Tottress is a wondrous experience of free self-expression. In this course we get to expand our vocal capabilities, increase our understanding of music, and build confidence as we explore an array of varying musical genres. This is a place to find yourself.”

Alexander Zuniga – Undeclared

“Excellent music professor who assists students in developing their vocal talents and provides valuable feedback after performances which occur every few weeks throughout the semester so you get lots of performance opportunities.”

Gwendolyn Woods – Cinematic Arts and Technology/Musical Performing Arts

“I’m excited to broaden my musical talents from choir to singing solo. My goal is to sing on stage as well as perform. One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou – ‘You can’t use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.”

Makayla Price – Undeclared

“As a first year freshman, taking vocal training was the best decision I could have made, especially for my first semester here at CSUMB. I have never been in any kind of music class before, even though I’ve always wanted to. It has really been a place where I can take music seriously for the first time. Professor Carlos is an excellent teacher and he has taught me so much more than I could have imagined I would learn. Just after one short semester, I have improved so much and gained so much self-confidence I didn’t know was possible. I have learned so much about music and myself and I cannot wait to see what I will accomplish because of this class!”

Ruby Cortes – Visual and Public Arts, Music

“The voice training class has really helped me to become less shy as a soloist and has given me many chances to perform in a supportive environment. Personalized lessons with Professor Carlos Tottress helped to develop my personal voice and build confidence. Honestly, every class in this department makes me question if a music minor is enough, I need more!”

Stephanie Murabito – Liberal Studies

“Saying that when I found MPA 330 was life changing feels somewhat of an understatement. The voice training course here at CSUMB has not only helped me improve upon my vocal abilities, but it has built up my confidence and self esteem much more than I ever dreamed possible. I feel I have grown profoundly as a singer, performer, and individual all thanks to Professor Carlos Tottress and the voice training course.”

Tiana Sheridan – Communication Design-Visual Design Emphasis

“I like that we are required to sing different genres, otherwise I know I would default to one specific type of music and that’s it- it wouldn’t allow our voices to grow and reach their full potential. The weekly (or bi-weekly) recitals have been a blast, it’s really encouraging to see others up on stage completely having fun with their song. I also love getting to hear everyone else’s voice as we have so many unique-voiced, talented students! This course is a great way to make connections with other people on campus who share your love for music. 11/10 recommend.”

Zoey Kriegmont – Mathematics

“Singing is one of my greatest passions; I love starting my Monday mornings with Professor Carlos’ wisdom and a room full of laughing, singing people. It has been so fun trying out different genres and performing every other Friday.”

Rebecca Harbison – Kinesiology Concentration Exercise, Psychology

“I like being able to strengthen my voice and showing the final product to others in a recital. I like the recitals so I can invite my friends to come hear me sing.”

Aldrin Dancel Carlos – Computer Science

“What I like about voice training is that it keeps my mind off of things when I need a break from other classes. The class it’s very welcoming for everyone of different singing levels.”

Amosi Morgan – Contemporary Music

“The voice training course helps me with breath control and vocal technique, and assisted me in helping to accomplish my passion.”

Athena Funtowicz – Japanese

“I’m in vocal training because I love to sing! It really helps release stress and makes me feel better.”

Sabrina Lee – Psychology

“This course challenges me to be the best vocalist that I can be. I’m learning so many new things and yet am still being able to stay true to myself and how I want to be portrayed as a vocalist.”

Jacob Goller – Biology, Music

“I love the thrill of putting on a show.”

Javier Sedano – Undeclared

“What I like about the course is the diversity in music available and how we have the freedom to pick the songs we like to perform.”

Kye Solomon – Communication Design

“What I like most about the voice training course is my supportive instructor and classmates.”

Liliana Lee – Biology Molecular Concentration

“I like that the course allows me to be myself while at the same time broadening my musical horizons.”

Tyler Hong – Psychology

“I love being able to improve my singing ability, as well as seeing my colleagues improve as time goes on! You also learn some important life skills by learning how to perform!”

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