Updated: Jan 23, 2021
Everyone has those days or moments in which you feel like the whole world is crashing down upon you; a buildup of emotion so massive you feel as though you may explode. What do you do with those feelings? How do you channel such emotion without subsequently “exploding”?
I’ll tell you what I do: I sing. To be more specific, I sing rock (songs from Evanescence or Eva Under Fire) or I sing opera—two genres of music that can harness all of the pain or frustration or sadness into something powerful and beautiful. The rock in particular helps me channel pain or frustration, and the opera helps me channel pain or sadness. By being able to sing through my emotions, it allows me to “explode” through music rather than through a more destructive outlet.
Have you ever attended an operatic production or listened to an aria? Theatrical productions can bring out our emotions, yes, but there is something about the intensity of the emotions conveyed through operatic music that can draw out everything deep inside you and truly make you feel. It is pure, raw emotion.
Perhaps it is the fact that operatic singing uses the entire body—not simply the lungs and vocal cords—to produce the bellowing sound indicative of opera that it allows us emote so. The ability to channel the appropriate emotions through every muscle and breath in order to dramatically convey the magnitude of said emotions can result in a sound that is, in effect, pure emotion itself. When singing an aria, when I breathe I feel everything that has built up in me rise up through my body, and when I expel that breath I feel all of it shoot out of me like a rocket. Consequently, when I hear someone sing opera or have the opportunity to witness the performance in person, I am able to completely feel those deep emotions shooting from them (or, more accurately, the character which they are portraying). If you have ever screamed into a pillow in order to release all of your pent-up emotion, then you understand. When I am able to sing opera, I am expelling all of those repressed feelings in one moment—one powerful, beautiful moment.
A similar sensation occurs when I sing rock. I think of rock and opera as sister genres, both with the ability to truly and effectively direct our emotions through our bodies and out into the world. Though the tone may be slightly different, rock is also a genre in which you must use your body to sing. In turn, this allows you to channel your emotions through your whole body, ultimately processing them and releasing them through the music.
Well-known actress and singer Amanda Seyfried has stated,
“Singing is a way of releasing an emotion that you sometimes can't portray when you're acting. And music moves your soul, so music is the source of the most intense emotions you can feel.”
So next time you feel the urge to scream or simply need to let go of everything you are holding in, I implore you—sing.