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Monday
Apr172017

Karaoke: The Funnest Way To Relieve Stress

If you have ever belted out your favorite song with everything you’ve got, you know how good that can make you feel. You get a great rush of energy and all the stress you’re feeling just melts away. After singing, you suddenly feel full of energy and positivity.

This is not news to most of the world, especially Asia. The people of Japan, South Korea and many other Asian countries have been singing to relieve stress for decades. It is what lead to the invention of karaoke.

 

Karaoke in Japan and South Korea

Karaoke in Japan and South Korea (and China also) is a bit different. Instead of getting up in front of a roomful of strangers and singing your song, you get your own private (soundproof) room for you and your friends. No one else hears you sing and you don’t have to wait for a bar full of people to have their turn before you get yours.

In addition to the private room, most place have a drink bar, where you can have as many soft drinks, coffee, tea or any other nonalcoholic drinks as you want at no additional cost. If you prefer alcoholic drinks, you have to pay for them, but a waiter delivers them directly to your room (some places also allow you to bring in your own drinks). You can get food in your room as well and most of these places have quite an extensive menu.

As for the song selection, most songs are obviously in the native language, but they also have tons of songs in English and other major Asian languages and some places also have quite a few French or Spanish songs. Most rooms have several microphones, so many people can sing together. They also generally have tambourines or maracas, so that even the non-singers can get involved. To me, this style of karaoke is preferable to the Western style.

When I was in Japan, I often went to karaoke with my Japanese friends. They lead stressful lives with long working hours and few days off. Whenever I sang karaoke with them, I loved seeing their stress just melt away. They were completely different people after a song or two.

This is not just anecdotal. Junko Matsumoto and Shiori Aoki studies this phenomenon and wrote it up under the title ”Subjective mood induced by singing in karaoke.” They summarized that “respondents reported feeling more excited, active, and tired and less depressed, anxious and nervous than before karaoke singing.”

 

Karaoke In The West

In the Western world, karaoke is done a bit different. We go to bars and sing in front of the whole bar. This also works well to relieve stress, but the Asian style is superior. The way we do it, you get far fewer turns to sing and you’re also in a crowded bar, which simply isn’t as nice as relaxing on a comfortable sofa (did I forget to mention the sofas?) with your friends in a private room. It is also not as good for those of us who are a bit shy. But there are other options.

 

Alternatives To Karaoke Bars

Here are some good alternatives if you prefer not to sing in front of a bunch of strangers or if you just don’t like bars.

Sing at Home

Singing at home is only a good idea if you have some distance or some good insulation between your place and your nearest neighbor. Making enemies of those around you is not great for stress levels. But if you do have a place where you can freely sing, I’d recommend getting a home karaoke kit and belting out your favorite songs whenever you feel stressed. You could also invite some friends over and make it a regular karaoke session.

Sing at a Friend’s Home

If your home is a no-go, perhaps a friend has a living situation more suited to karaoke. If so, organize a weekly karaoke session at their place. Everyone will have a blast.

Sing in a Rented Space

If no one you know has a good place to sing together, you might consider renting a space. If you get enough people together, it shouldn’t cost too much to rent a place for a few hours.

Sing in Your Car

Carpool Karaoke has made this cool, so you don’t have to worry if you get caught belting out your favorite song by the people in the car next to you. Just wave and keep right on singing. If you drive to and from work, singing in your car can actually get rid of all your work-related stress before you ever make it home.

 

If you find yourself regularly feeling stressed and deflated, give singing a try. It is one of the healthier forms of stress relief, on top of just being a really fun time. Happy singing!

 

Camila Rabin is a music teacher who recently started the blog Musicaroo to help people who want to learn to sing or play an instrument.

Karaoke: The Funnest Way To Relieve Stress

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