Evidence – The positive impact of singing

So why sing?

Here at Shared Harmonies CIC we’ve always known that singing makes you feel amazing -even better when you sing with others.

Over the last few year there has been much research in this area and there is now a wealth of evidence validating our experience

Below is our best attempt at presenting some of that scientific proof!

A report to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (April 2020) further shows evidence that the arts have a role to play in improving health and wellbeing, particularly psychological wellbeing, and the reduction of physical decline and to support cognition in older age.

Here are some specific areas in which singing has been proven to be beneficial:

Reducing stress and anxiety

Group singing reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, leading to a greater sense of wellbeing and a sense of calm.

Shown here in this study into choir singing and cortisol.

Improving happiness and general wellbeing 

When we sing the body has a physiological response. We release the four ‘happiness hormones’ making us feel happier, connected to others and uplifted. . We release endorphins – giving us that ‘feel good’ factor, oxytocin – the hormone released when we hug, which helps with social bonding and dopamine – linked to that shiver-down-the-spine feeling. 

Read more in this article ‘Singing changes your Brain’.

Read here the study on The Psychological Benefits of Participating in Group Singing by Edith Cowan University.

Read the results from a national survey on choral singing and psychological wellbeing here.

Building connections & improving relationships

Research has shown that singing in a group brings a greater sense of belonging than participating in team sports Study

This study shows that group bonding happens faster in singing groups than in other recreational group activities.

Even singers’ heartbeats synchronize with each other – how much more connected can you get? Read the research here.

Improving physical wellbeing 

Singing increases lung capacity, immunity and oxygenation of the blood which leads to improved alertness.  In addition to this it has been shown that them more of the brain is used to process music than almost any other activity.  There is evidence that young children with musical training have better language capabilities and memory for words and that taking part in musical activities increases skills in non-verbal reasoning, literacy and numeracy.  No wonder so much singing takes place in early years settings.

Read how singing boosts your immune system here 

And a range of physical & psychological benefits here

Specific Conditions 

Studies have shown that engagement in creative activity can help to increase resilience, by allowing people to build a resistance to stressful situations that prevent them dealing with health changes.

Here are some benefits specific to different health conditions:

Parkinson’s

As well as the overall physical and wellbeing benefits that group singing promote, those with Parkinson’s can also benefit from the ability to retain skills and to learn new ones; to speak and express their needs and emotions; improve relationships and their social life; make sense of the world and make decisions; and benefit from the structure and organisation of a group setting.

Respiratory Conditions 

The breathing techniques used in singing can help those with chronic lung conditions to manage their symptoms of breathlessness and anxiety and improve posture.

Pain Management 

It is estimated that chronic pain affects two fifths of the UK population.  Research has shown that singing can help in self-management, coping and living with chronic pain.

Cancer

Singing boosts immune protein levels, reduces stress and improves mood in cancer patients.

Dementia

Participating in singing has been shown to increase memory and thinking skills in dementia patients and the ability to find their way around.