Eamonn McNicholas, a fellow performer recently asked the question, 'Why do I sing?' He is doing a project on the answers and would like as many as possible, so please go to his blog and leave your comments.
I thought about this question and realised that I always have - I used to sing at school and in the church choir. I always just liked the release it seemed to give me, and I was told I had a decent voice. I sang for myself, all the time, around the house and while out walking or playing in the back garden. We had a 'no singing at the table' rule in our house, which I can only assume was because I used to do it to an annoying extent.
I copied and mimicked, and I invented my own tuneless little ditties. As I grew up a bit, I discovered harmonies, and I loved to play around with those. And then I discovered that I could entertain others by singing (people will listen to a song in a way that they won't listen to a poem or a Shakespeare soliloquy). Children love it, whether you are soothing recalcitrant babies or making up little routines with nieces and nephews, they appreciate the music. And this was a gift. My siblings didn't sing. I guess it was my point of difference. I assumed the role of family entertainer.
When I started doing musical theatre and singing in more discerning circles I soon realised that although I may be considered good, I would never be accounted great. This didn't particularly bother me (I had discovered that I prefered 'straight' acting and plays anyway) as I sang purely for fun and not for acclaim. It was social - once again, people are more likely to join in a song with than they are a recitation of one of Arthur Miller's more poignant speeches.
And it releases emotion and endorphines. I usually use sport for this - running, cycling, swimming, yoga, or even a brisk walk can make me feel better both mentally and physically. Until I was injured and on crutches, unable to exercise. I missed the buzz and the outlet. I went for a sing with some friends. I expelled air and opened up my lungs, controlling my breathing and tuning in to those around me. I felt those endorphines again - it was a natural high and I just really enjoyed it.
So, in short, I suppose that's my answer - I sing because I enjoy it. What about you?