Singing with Others Offers Benefits

There are many changes in life circumstances, like a move, graduation or loss of a spouse, that leaves people in need of a community, social interaction, and support.  Joining a local group to participate in a shared activity can be a wonderful way to meet like-minded people and build friendships – and if you enjoy music, being part of a choir and singing can offer many additional benefits.  

According to a recent Washington Post report, the “Sing With Us” study researched if singing affected the health and mood of 193 choir members who met from 2016 to 2018.  Although the group were all either cancer patients, caregivers or oncologists, the singers gathered not to talk about illness, but rather to participate in a group activity that fostered a sense of belonging, joy and social bonding.   Using saliva samples provided after rehearsals, researchers found that singing was associated with reduced stress hormones and increased cytokines – proteins that can help boost the body’s ability to fight illness. 

Previous studies have also linked singing with reduced anxiety, improved memory among people living with dementia, increase lung capacity and improvement in postpartum depression symptoms.   Singing with a choir or other group can help foster trust, cooperation and social bonding, helping to provide a greater sense of community.   Singing in a choir can also reduce loneliness, improve relationships and boost community involvement while supporting an optimistic mindset. 

Working with others to master a piece of music can also offer a sense of achievement and purpose to members of a choir.  Singing is a calming activity that can increase self-esteem and provide an outlet for emotions.   A recent study sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts found that older adults who sang experienced fewer falls, visited the doctor less often and took fewer prescription medications. They also had better social connections and cognitive function. 

Even if you don’t think you can carry a tune, many community singing groups are open to all – even those with no experience, with no auditions required.  Participants will learn exercises to improve vocal range and stamina in a supportive environment.