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Growing Body of Research Shows That
Singing Together Boosts Well-Being

[forwarded to us by Julie Strain - Dec 2023]


Marc Dufresne

If you have caroling on your holiday activities list, you should know that you’ll be doing more than just spreading cheer — you’ll be improving your overall mental and physical health. A growing body of research shows that singing together at any occasion, holiday or not, boosts well-being. One of the reasons for that is endorphins, those happy hormones runners are always going on about.

“Singing is one of the mega-mechanisms we use for bonding,” Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford, told The Guardian. “Singing in the shower gives you a bit of an uplift, but when doing it communally, there’s something about the synchrony of singing that creates this massive endorphin uplift.”

Dunbar set out to prove singing’s bonding power in a 2015 study, in which strangers sang together for an hour and left as, well, not strangers. “It was as if they’d known each other since primary school,” he recalled. “And that doesn’t normally happen if you spend an hour in the company of strangers.”

He noted that the prolonged exhalation and breath work required while singing likely contributes to its health benefits. Going forward, this research could help inform therapies for dementia, Parkinson’s, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, long COVID, and more.

White Structure

5 Reasons You Should Join a Choir Today!

Are you a shower crooner with a secret desire to sing in public?

Maybe there’s a community choir in your area and you’re toying with the idea of joining?  Or perhaps you’d love to sing but were always told you don’t have a voice?

Here we offer five good reasons why taking the plunge and joining a choir might be the best thing you ever did.


Benefits of joining a choir:

  1. Musicality

    Its official, singing in a choir improves the way you hear music, it draws out your innate musical ability and intensifies your appreciation of harmony. There is a natural learning curve that occurs quite organically as a consequence of singing regularly in a group that strengthens your ear. Where choral singing is concerned, the whole really is the sum of its parts, and choir members soon become aware of how harmonies combine and complement each other

  2. Mental Health

    Professor Grenville Hancox, Director of the Sidney de Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health in Kent, has done extensive research on the benefits of choral singing on psychological well-being.  He is so passionate about the enormous emotional benefits of choral singing, he has been trying to persuade the medical profession to prescribe singing instead of Prozac:  “If we could engage more and more people in singing, I’m sure we would have a healthier nation.”

    Studies have shown that the mental health benefits of choral singing include enhanced brain function, strengthened feelings of togetherness, and the release of endorphins and oxytocin resulting in reduced stress and depression.

  3. Confidence

    It’s surprising how many people are told at school they can’t sing, a myth that can discourage potential singers for decades. Most people don’t imagine they will ever perform in front of an audience, and to experience this for the first time as part of a choir can be life changing. The truth is that, unless there is hearing loss, anyone can learn to sing. Singing in a community choir gives you permission to make noise as part of group, and choir leaders report witnessing new members’ confidence grow rapidly.

  4. Belonging
    The modern world is one where people are increasingly isolated. Social media networks offers a semblance of community but the lack of contact with people in real time and space can intensify feelings of alienation. Singing has been central to religion and ritual as a way of connecting communities since ancient times. Being part of a group working towards a shared endeavour, can fulfill this human need for belonging and union.

    Recent research reveals that group singing helps forge social bonds, and it does so particularly quickly, acting as a powerful icebreaker. People feel valued and inevitably make friends with individuals from a diversity of backgrounds, so horizons are broadened and social cohesion is improved.


  5. Aerobic and Toning

    A proper singing session is a wonderful workout for the lungs. The actions of warming up, breathing deeply and opening the diaphragm all oxygenate the blood, creating more white blood cells, which strengthens the whole body.  The breathing rate slows and deepens, releasing endorphins and increasing a profound sense of well-being.  All this lung action reduces the chance of illness and is excellent for people who suffer asthma, and emphysema.

    Singing also improves your posture and tones your stomach muscles – a strong core supports the spine so your body will be less prone to injury as you age.


       So, what are you waiting for?


Thank you to South Suburban member, Kathy Vandamme for sharing this article with us.
We gratefully acknowledge Jane Reeves, Musical Director,
for allowing us to excerpt and include this insightful article on our website.


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