The conversations of life

Listen up, songbirds! Research says singing in your head could ruin your pitch


If you’ve ever hummed a tune in your head, you may have thought it would hold you in good stead the next time you’ve got to sing in public (karaoke anyone?).

But a new study says ‘sub-vocalisation’ – the silent muscle movements in your face and throat that happen when you run through a song in your head – can result in a less-than-satisfactory song.

The research was conducted with 46 ‘musically inexperienced’ (we wonder how they figured that one out) participants who were presented with a melody.

They were asked to imagine it in their heads and then to imitate it out loud, but they had trouble working out what the music sound would be and connecting it to the muscles in their face and throat – leaving them always out of tune.

But study author Peter Pfordresher says wannabe singers shouldn’t be disheartened by the findings, and that with practice anyone can learn to tap into the benefits of singing, which include lower stress levels and less social isolation.

Although, maybe if you’re a complete singing novice, it’s just best to save some of those power ballads for the shower for now.

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.

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