ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Essential Benefits Of Barbershop Singing

Updated on June 14, 2010

About five years ago I started singing barbershop harmony with a local barbershop chorus in the UK. I had wanted an outlet for my distinctly average musical talent for several years but had struggled to find the right organisation, choir or chorus whatever you want to call it, to sing with. I had briefly been a member of a choir in Nottingham but it was very dominated by the ladies. This was extremely pleasant in some ways, but the few men that sang were not the sort of men I would normally socialise with, for whatever reason.

I'm pleased to say, however, that a few years later I saw an advertisement for the Grand Central Chorus, a successful male barbershop chorus based just outside Nottingham so I went along with a little apprehension. Would I make a fool of myself? Could I sing at anywhere near the standard required? What was barbershop harmony anyway?

Without going into all the detail, I am pleased to say that my fears were unfounded. I couldn't have hoped to meet a more ordinary cross section of everyday men who enjoyed singing. I discovered that barbershop is unaccompanied four-part close harmony and the repertoire included classic songs from the shows, spiritual songs, romantic ballads, and lighthearted up-tunes – to name a few. I'm pleased to say with a little hard work and determination I did make the grade, and as I said have now been singing just short of five years.

What's more I'm now convinced that every man who can more or less sing in tune should seriously consider this hobby, for the following reasons

Barbershop Singing Stimulates The Brain

Barbershop singers do not perform like dummies holding the score in front of them and reading the words. We perform to entertain and draw the audience in to the performance. It could be a tear jerking ballad or an inspirational anthem, but all the words have to be learned. And if there is choreography involved, there are moves to be remembered as well. All this stimulates the brain. It can be hard work learning words, and of course the right notes, especially for the harmony parts but with repetition it's possible to learn and remember many songs. I think I now know anywhere between forty and fifty songs. And my brain is stimulated during the learning process, and indeed by the adrenalin produced during performances

Barbershop Singing Is Good For Men's Health

The foundation of all good singing in any style is correct breathing and posture. So when we sing barbershop we have to learn how to breath correctly and stand correctly. By breath correctly I mean learn to use the full capacity of the lungs to produce a good supported sound through what are some very long notes. The natural action of most people if you ask them to take a deep breath is to lift their shoulders. This in fact restricts the capacity of the lungs. All trained singers will push their stomachs out when taking a breath. This pushes out the diaphragm muscle that controls our breathing and maximises the capacity of our lungs.

So barbershop singers learn to breath deeply and correctly. This transfers across to other physical activity, such as swimming, as singers have greater lung capacity. Singers can generally exercise for longer due to their better breathing technique. It is claimed that singers live longer due to this better breathing, which may or may not be true, but there are undoubted health benefits to singing regularly.

Barbershop Singing Creates Team Spirit

By definition, harmony singing cannot be performed alone. It takes at least two, and in the case of barbershop harmony singing, it takes four – tenor, lead, baritone and bass. These are the singing parts that make up the classic barbershop quartet, but the vast majority of barbershop singers do not sing in quartets. They sing in choruses. These could number as few as ten to fifteen singers, are more usually thirty to fifty in number, and sometimes exceed one hundred singers. The Grand Central Chorus, who I sing with typically numbers thirty to forty at a concert, and within that group there is great team spirit. Of course there are differences of opinion from time to time, but there is also first class team spirit, especially if we are taking place in a singing competition with medals to be won.

It's not all hard work though. After rehearsal, we all carry on to a typically English pub for a pint of beer or two, good conversation and a little more singing. Many barbershop singers become lifelong friends such is the depth of friendship between men who sing barbershop harmony

Barbershop Singing Touches The Soul

First class singing of any description touches the soul. What do I mean by that? I mean that first class singing affects the singer deeply. It reaches down into the soul, or spirit if you prefer, and stimulates or soothes something deep within. There have been times when we have sung a romantic ballad especially well and as the last chord dies away nobody, either singer or member of the audience, wants the moment to end. There is some sort of magic in the air. It is a truly spiritual moment which everybody wants to hang on to. There have been times when we have sung something very poignant, and I have felt every hair on the back of my neck stand up and tingle. Dare I say it – it's almost like making love. These amazing experiences are open to all men who take up barbershop singing.

Barbershop Singing Is Entertaining

This may seem obvious because it's why most of us sing – to entertain an audience. To make them smile, make them laugh and even make them weep. And few things compare with hearing the roar of applause. Sometimes before the last chord has ended, if it's a gripping up-tune with a tremendous sequence of last chords. Other times, at the end of a balled, there will be that moment of silence, that moment of something electric, before the applause breaks out. Either way the audience have been entertained and it's a great feeling to be part of a chorus of men who entertain an audience again and again.

I didn't know that when I started barbershop singing that there would be so many benefits. But now I understand how good it is for mind, body and spirit, I think it's something all men should consider!

Watch the video to see how amazing it can be....

Barbershop Singing At The Highest Level


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)