Singing is good for your health and won't damage your wealth.
Cock an ear in Britain today and you will realise that we are becoming a nation of warblers. More and more of us are stepping out of the shower and singing in public. Many start with karaoke and, if you are tempted, www.karaokeinfo.co.uk lists more than 1,000 venues where you can belt out your favourite number (the current most popular choice is Robbie Williams's Angels followed by Valerie and Dancing Queen).
Added incentive comes with the good news that karaoke – combined with moderate drinking – has the backing of mainstream medicos. "Drinking responsibly with a good friend makes you feel happy and healthy,'' says Japanese Professor Takeshi Tanigawa of Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine. "Singers use deep breathing, which is good for the nervous system. After singing, they usually receive applause. It is a good kind of social support, and helps in the face of adverse occasions or stressful events.''
Certainly, people seem to get a taste for it. The X Factor had 50,000 would-be stars audition for its second series, but that rocketed to 120,000 for its fifth. However, there's no need to expose yourself to a caustic Simon Cowell. You will get a more sympathetic hearing from the Natural Voice Practitioners' Network www.naturalvoice.net which has more than 250 members running choirs and singing groups across Britain – and they all maintain that singing is our birthright and should be accessible to all.
To test the theory that everyone has a voice, I approached Nikki Slade www.freetheinnervoice.com who believes that we should all be singing or chanting for the good of our health. She predicts singing will become as popular as yoga and – having done a class with her – I think she could be on to something.