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Music than can aid recovery or simply put you in a good mood - Anne Diamond column

PUBLISHED: 16:51 17 December 2014 | UPDATED: 16:51 17 December 2014

These days that Happy song you hear everywhere by Pharrell Williams often does the trick, photo: Shawn Ahmed, www.bullpenpictures.com

These days that Happy song you hear everywhere by Pharrell Williams often does the trick, photo: Shawn Ahmed, www.bullpenpictures.com

Shawn Ahmed, www.bullpenpictures.com

I guarantee that, even if you reckon you're tone deaf and devoid of rhythm, there are certain musical tracks, songs, or classical arias that will get you singing along in the bath or bopping in the kitchen.

Very often, it’s Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’ that does the trick for even the most unmusical of us, even those who say they actively dislike Abba! Experts have now drawn up a list of the most likely numbers to change our mood, lift our spirits and even bring about a real chemical change – that actually appear to have healing properties.

It may sound a bit daft, but there’s a serious side to it all, because medics now recognise that music can aid recovery, dentists already know it relaxes patients and so benefits the whole treatment and psychiatrists are beginning to prescribe listening to certain sorts of music to their patients to change and lift their negative moods.

Almost regardless of age, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is the nation’s favourite song for listening to when feeling unwell or down. ‘Dancing Queen’ comes second, with ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams and classical music generally coming in joint third. Other close runners are Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’, Elvis Presley’s ‘The Wonder Of You’, The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ and Sinatra’s ‘My Way’, which all proves, I reckon that we either like an energetic bop or a schmalzy anthem!

Me, I like a bit of the 1812 Overture, Carmina Burana or The Ride Of The Valkyries so that I can perform some high octane air conducting. Valuable aerobics. And anyone who’s ever sung in a choir is familiar with the rush of endorphins that come from an evening joining others in singing your heart out – even if you’ve been told from birth that you cannot sing.

A regular on my radio show is a lady who runs the ‘Sing For Fun’ community choirs in Newbury and throughout Berkshire, Jane Dunton. She encourages singers to discover their voices and gives everyone the choice of singing the tune or harmony for each song. With a little bit of help and encouragement, people are often surprised at the notes they can reach, and the longer term effect it does have on their health and happiness, often helping with illnesses like asthma.

So there you go – a scientific and medical reason to get out and join in one of the hundreds of musical groups and choirs in our counties – or at least do some air conducting along with me!

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Golden record

Editor Jan Raycroft writes: Anne is definitely right. For me ‘Johnny B Goode’ by Chuck Berry, written in the year I was born, always hits the spot. So there was extra delight when it was included on the Golden Record recording the story of humanity aboard the Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 and, of course, when Marty McFly performed it in the 1985 ‘Back to the Future’ film.

Why not tell us about the music that lifts your spirits? Tweet us at twitter.com/berkshirelife

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