🎤 Interview: Wolfgang Bossinger

Interview: Wolfgang Bossinger

``Mantra singing gives children joy and safety``

Singing has many effects on humans. An expert concerning the effects of singing on body, mind and soul is Wolfgang Bossinger, music therapist and songwriter. In 2012 he founded the “Academy of Singing and Health” with his wife.

Mr. Bossinger, how does music and especially singing affect the human organism?

Singing deepens the breathing, reduces stress, makes us happy and leads to more well-being. All under the condition that it happens with fun and without pressure to perform.

What is salutary singing?

Salutary singing is a method of singing, which also includes amateur singers without any prior musical knowledge. We use simple melodies and lyrics that are learned through simply listening, sometimes combined with dance and movement. It is designed so that anyone can participate without any pressure to perform. It’s not about the result, but about the process, the fun, the connectedness, the immersion in healing flow experiences and the activation of self-healing powers.

Is the health-promoting effect of singing scientifically proven?

A variety of studies shows encouraging results. Through singing, the immune system is strengthened, stress hormones are broken down, a happy-tuning, anti-depressive happiness cocktail is produced by singing in the brain. Serotonin, beta-endorphin, oxytocin and norepinephrine increase after just a few minutes of singing. Even people with severe illnesses such as depression, chronic pain syndrome, lung disease, dementia or speech loss after stroke (aphasia) report significant improvements through participation in singing groups. Based on these experiences, in 2009 I initiated the now globally active organization “Singing hospitals e.V.”, which makes the healing effects of singing accessible to many patients.

Can singing also have a therapeutic effect on children?

The effects are not only therapeutically, but also personality-strengthening and development-promoting. Many singing children show better speech development and more complete motor skills in studies. They are physically and mentally healthier, have more social skills and are more empathetic with other children. That’s why I’ve been promoting for years, together with my fellow researcher, the music-psychologist Dr. Karl Adamek, the playful singing in kindergartens and schools. In addition, everything points to the fact that singing also acts to a great extent as violence prevention and can promote humanity. We urgently need both in our society.

You were involved in the children’s yoga CD “I’m glad you’re here” by Leila and Philipp. Some of the songs are based on mantras. How do you rate the connection of yoga and mantra singing for children?

Both are very important for children. Yoga helps the children to centre themselves more, to relax, to relieve stress and to develop a positive body feeling. Singing allows them to bond with their environment and helps their creative self-expression. Mantra singing appeals to children because many of them value rituals and repetitive experiences that give them security. Children quickly feel the soothing effect of the music. My two sons played chants and mantras at the age of two and three. Above all, it is important that the adults themselves sing these songs with joy and inspire the children. The combination of yoga and mantra singing allows the children to have holistic experiences. Body, soul and mind are addressed simultaneously, that’s what the children love.

Wolfgang Bossinger is the founder and honorary chairman of “Singing Hospitals – International Network for the Promotion of Singing in Health Care Facilities”, member of the board of the “German Foundation Singen” and of “Il Canto del Mondo – International Network for the Promotion of Everyday Culture of Singing eV”

Wolfgang Bossinger has been researching the potential of health-promoting singing in theory and practice for many years and offers further education in “healing singing”. Through his busy seminar, lecture and publication activities Wolfgang Bossinger is committed to the development of a new everyday culture of singing. He criticizes the ubiquitous performance thinking that is associated with singing in Western societies. With his motto “There are no mistakes, only variations”, he wants to win as many people as possible for the “healing singing”.

For the children’s yoga CD “Nice that you are there” Wolfgang Bossinger has contributed as a connoisseur of chants and mantras, a composition of their own. He played and sang the song “Der Baum” together with the participating musicians and the children’s choir.