Benefits of Singing
Group Singing can help promote Mental Well-Being and Health. It can change your life.
There has been much research undertaken in
recent years around the health benefits of singing for both your mental
and physical health and well-being.
Sing Yourself Better
“Sing Yourself Better” explores the health and wellbeing benefits of singing with a choir published in September 2017 by the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in partnership with Sing Ireland, University of Limerick and Workplace Choir of the Year. You can read the research in full by downloading the report below.Download Sing Yourself Better (pdf 735.949 KB)
- Irish singers reported an overwhelmingly positive response in terms of physical and physiological benefits, social benefits, psychological/emotional benefits and spiritual benefits.
- Participants spanned a wide range of ages, from 18 – 90, which suggests that people of all ages find singing to be a beneficial activity for their health and well-being. This highlights the potential for choirs to improve well-being in a myriad of settings, including but not limited to nursing homes, workplaces and educational institutions.
- Participants also cited a variety of choral experience, ranging from singing in a choir for all their adult life to singing with a choir for only one year. Irrespective of length of experience, responses remained overwhelmingly positive.
- Gender differences were observed in responses. Reports of physical benefits, social benefits and emotional benefits were significantly higher for female participants than for male participants.
- The ratio of female to male respondents was approximately 5:1, highlighting on a large scale international study the gender imbalance that is often cited in choral settings, as well as many other performing arts activities.
- Professional singers scored more highly across all domains than their amateur counterparts, with the difference being statistically significant within the physical, social and spiritual categories. This finding was not anticipated, as it was expected that amateur singers may report more social benefits than professionals as they pursue singing as a leisure activity or a social gathering as opposed to work.
- The key benefits of singing in a choir were increased social connection; improved respiratory health; cognitive stimulation; improved mental health and transcendence from everyday worries and pain.
An evaluation of workplace choir singing amongst Health Service staff in Ireland
A 2019 study of staff in the HSE has found that many of its workers have discovered an antidote to the tensions of dealing with the trolley crisis and hospital pressures by hitting the high notes with colleagues in one of the many choirs they have formed across the country.
It showed how choirs can increase a person's positive perception of mental health and ease depression.
A choir can also have the benefit of promoting social connectedness among employees and even lead to more enjoyment of work and staff engagement.
Read the full article here.
See press coverage about the article here.
Singing and Mental Heath Report
Below is research published by the Canterbury Christchurch University in 2012 with an excerpt taken from it: How Group Singing can help promote Mental Well-Being.Download Singing And Mental Health Pdf (pdf 1.098 MB)
How Group Singing can help promote Mental well-being
Positive feelings: Singing has been shown to be a joyful and uplifting experience. It generates a sense of positive mood, happiness and enjoyment. Such positive feelings also counteract feelings of stress or anxiety and help to distract people from internal negative thoughts and feelings.
Expectation and hope: Enjoyable activities such as singing with others are things people will look forward to each week. They can become highlights of the week and positive memories remain alive for hours and days afterwards. Where an activity involves working towards a goal such as a performance, there are enhanced expectations of rewarding outcomes.
Self-belief: A change of identity can occur for people with mental health issues by participating in group singing, from thinking of themselves as choir members. This can raise a sense of self-esteem and confidence and performance events can bring a sense of social recognition and status. Performances help to reduce stigma and labelling by others.
Abilities and skills: Confidence is brought about by the ability to repeat previously learned tasks or skills (including social skills), with a high degree of accuracy. Successful skills might also help to improve success in new, related skills, when tried for the first time. Learning new songs or harmonising parts of songs, can help concentration and focus, and stimulate learning and memory. Concentration can also provide a distraction from other concerns, leading to respite from them.
Social support and networking: Singing in a group offers the opportunity to build social capital, encourage social inclusion and raised status of the members, and creates an opportunity for communities to come together.
Organisation and structure: Structure is something that is easily lost when ill. People can feel adrift and disconnected. Having the purpose and goal of attending a weekly group can be motivating and create an anchor upon which other weekly activities might build.
Various Research into the Benefits of Singing
- Hearts align through song: 'Music structure determines heart rate variability of singers'
- Heart rates balance themselves out: 'Cardiorespiratory optimization during improvised singing and toning'
- Improved cardiac function: 'Cardiac and respiratory patterns synchronize between persons during choir singing'
- Improving immunological system: 'Effects of choir singing or listening on secretory immunoglobulin A, cortisol, and emotional state'
- Improved respiratory functioning: 'Singing for respiratory health: theory, evidence and challenges. In: Health promotion international'
- 'Singing as Inter- and Intra-personal Communication'
- Development of individual identity through music: 'Adolescent perceptions of singing: exploring gendered differences in musical confidence, identity and ambition'
- Singing is an outlet for our feelings: 'The Effects of Group Singing on Mood'
- Enhanced sense of social inclusion: 'Singing and social inclusion'
- Improved social skills: 'The ice-breaker effect: singing mediates fast social bonding'
- Improved reading skills: 'The Impact of Singing-Integrated Reading Instruction on the Oral Reading Fluency and Motivation of Elementary Students in an Out-of-School Time Program'
- Intellectual engagement with music: 'The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people'
- Realisation of musical potential: 'Musical potential'
- Singing will make you more competent in your own language, including an improvement in reading skills: 'Using Singing and Movement to Teach Pre-reading Skills and Word Reading to Kindergarten Children: An Exploratory Study'
- Reading lyrics and music are processed in the same neurocortical regions for symbol decoding: 'Song and speech: brain regions involved with perception and covert production'
European Choral Association - Europa Cantat
The European Choral Association - Europa Cantat is running a #BenefitsofSinging campaign in Summer 2021, showcasing the different benefits collective singing has for individuals and society, hoping to remind and encourage people across Europe and beyond of to experience these benefits through collective singing. They have put together some beautiful visual resources to showcase the benefits of singing.