Monday, January 02, 2017

Why you should start the year singing – and then sing some more!

Those of us who sing regularly or who work with singers know how beneficial singing together is. There is now a growing body of research to support our beliefs.

community choir
photo by Garry Knight

Why not start singing regularly this year – you might even persuade a friend to join you?! You don’t even have to be able to ‘sing’ – there are plenty of choirs out there which don’t require you to have any experience. Here are some good reasons why it’s time to get singing.

There are many benefits you can get from singing, here are just a few:

  • strengthens feelings of togetherness
  • regulates heart rate
  • reduces levels of stress and depression
  • improves symptoms of Parkinson’s and lung disease
  • improves feeling of social well-being
  • increases life expectancy
  • boosts immune system

And here is a selection of articles which go into more detail. Note that much of the research has focused on singing together, i.e. in groups. Which is all the more reason why you should get out and join a choir NOW!

A review of research on the value of singing for older people
‘A Choir in Every Care Home’ is an initiative to explore how music and singing can feature regularly in care homes across the country.

Health benefits of singing – and listening to singing
In 2015 a research team from the Royal College of Music's Centre for Performance Science gathered data from a concert of music by Eric Whitacre.

6 psychological and physical benefits of choral singing
Research has shown for some time that singing in a choir has tremendous benefits for physical and mental well-being, leading some to campaign for it to be prescribed as a treatment for medical conditions. In addition, recent findings from a study suggest that there are specific benefits related to choral singing which are unique to this pastime.

More evidence of the psychological benefits of choral singing
Newly published research finds evidence that “the well-being benefits afforded by choral singing could be distinct in comparison with other leisure activities.”

Choir singing boosts immune system activity in cancer patients and carers, study shows
Singing in a choir for just one hour boosts levels of immune proteins in people affected by cancer, reduces stress and improves mood, which in turn could have a positive impact on overall health, a new study has found.

The health benefits of singing
A selection of articles collected in one place.

The Chorus Impact Study: How Children, Adults, and Communities Benefit from Choruses
In 2009 Chorus America commissioned a new study of choruses in American life. You can read the full report and various summaries here.

Music, singing and wellbeing: what works?
What music and singing interventions work to improve wellbeing of adults? This research looks at all the available evidence to support better decision-making.

Is singing good for your respiratory health?
Researchers are trying to understand the secret to the success of singing groups set up to benefit patients with respiratory conditions like COPD.

The neuroscience of singing
The neuroscience of singing shows that when we sing our neurotransmitters connect in new and different ways. It fires up the right temporal lobe of our brain, releasing endorphins that make us smarter, healthier, happier and more creative. When we sing with other people this effect is amplified.

So make this year the year you start singing. Happy New Year and happy singing!

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Chris Rowbury



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Chris Rowbury


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