Have you ever wondered why singing in a group feels so uplifting and joyful?
In a world which is increasingly connected through technology it is no wonder that we are seeing a return to an old fashioned version of connection. Or is it more a case of it never going out of fashion, it’s just that now we are starting to realise what we have been missing?
Group singing not only brings people together but also offers numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
As a vocalist and educator, I have repeatedly witnessed how music and song can unite communities and build a sense of belonging like no other single act. Think of the euphoric feeling of singing your team's song at the top of your lungs after a win, or singing together united in grief. A song, sung together, has the power to express the most elusive emotions and connect us to those around us.
Nowadays, there is a plethora of research confirming that singing with others has wide ranging health benefits including improving a person's wellbeing, enhancing social bonds and connecting with others. And guess what you don’t have to be good at it to reap the rewards! Below I have listed some of the best reasons to sign up to a community singing group.
Singing improves physical health:
Singing can improve respiratory health by strengthening lung capacity and the muscles involved in respiration. It supports good posture such as an aligned spine and an open chest cavity, develops body awareness and a heightened sense of proprioception.
Breathing deeply and slowly uses the full capacity of your lungs increasing oxygenation to your body's cells which in turn promotes relaxation and reduces muscular tension.
Singing in a group can improve your cognitive function. Yes your brain will truly thank you for it! Studies have shown it can improve your memory recall, concentration and executive function.
Singing improves wellbeing:
When you engage in singing you will see an increased level of endorphins and a reduction in stress hormones.
Joining a choir or group singing class can foster a sense of belonging and community among participants. Working together, developing friendships and participating in a shared experience can create a sense of wellbeing and connection with others.
Learning a new skill can also develop a sense of personal accomplishment and build self-confidence.
Singing can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and alleviate symptoms related to depression.
Singing has social benefits:
Singing with others fosters a deeper sense of belonging and community among participants.
Partaking in teamwork to create a beautiful outcome, combining harmony, rhythm and articulation has the potential to build lifelong friendships through shared musical experiences.
Group singing provides an opportunity to forge life long friendships.
Singing has cultural benefits:
Group singing has many opportunities to bring people together from different backgrounds. Those who would otherwise rarely congregate join together with a common goal and interest.
A careful selection of repertoire which is culturally respectful can preserve traditional songs through communal performances.
Music can create cultural cohesion and foster a sense of shared identity, promote cultural understanding, and facilitate social connections.
Singing in groups embraces diversity through shared musical experiences and fosters a sense of unity among individuals and communities.
Group singing will truly bring you joy. Now we are post covid lock downs we are all desperately looking for opportunities to connect with each other, reduce stress and anxiety and find peace in an ever increasingly anxious world. Community singing groups are plentiful in your local areas and create an opportunity for us to reap all the benefits music making can bring. Seek out your local choir or community singing group today and start your journey to improved wellbeing!
Clift, S.M., Hancox G., Morrison I. (2010). Group singing fosters mental health and wellbeing: findings from the East Kent "Singing for Health" Network Project. Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 14(2), 88-97.
Clift, S., & Hancox, G. (2001). The perceived benefits of singing: Findings from preliminary surveys of a university college choral society. Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, 121(4), 248-256.
Dingle, G.A., Brander, C., Ballantyne, J., & Baker, F.A. (2013). "To be heard": The social and mental health benefits of choir singing for disadvantaged adults. Psychology of Music, 41(4), 405-421.
Kreutz, G., Bongard, S., Rohrmann, S., Hodapp, V., & Grebe, D. (2004). Effects of choir singing or listening on secretory immunoglobulin A, cortisol, and emotional state. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 27(6), 623-635.
Grape C., Sandgren M., Hansson L.O., Ericson M.O.T.. Theorell T.. (2003). Does Singing Promote Well-being?: An Empirical Study of Professional Choir Singers and Singing Students in Sweden [Abstract]. Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science: The Official Journal of the Pavlovian Society;38(1):65–74.
Pearce, E., Launay, J., & Dunbar, R.I.M. (2015). The ice-breaker effect: Singing mediates fast social bonding. Royal Society Open Science, 2(10), 150221.
Weinstein D., Launay J.. Pearce E.. Dunbar R.I.M.. Stewart L.. (2016). Singing and social bonding: changes in connectivity and pain threshold as a function of group size [Abstract]. Evolution And Human Behavior;37(2):152–158.