A person need not be auditioning for the next season of “American Idol” or “The Voice” to start belting out a favorite tune. According to the singing advocacy group Chorus America, more than 32 million American adults sing regularly in groups nationwide. Millions of children enjoy music education as part of their school curriculum as well. Although many people may restrict their singing to the shower or when no one is around to hear them, there are some surprising health benefits of singing frequently — and encouraging others to do so as well.
Scientists say that singing can have a calming but energizing effect on people. Singing can help tame stress but also lift the spirits. Singing is a natural antidepressant. According to information published in Time magazine, singing may release endorphins associated with feelings of pleasure as well as stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone that is found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Prevention magazine notes that choir singers, who often report feeling happy and free of significant anxiety, may notice their moods improving when they start to sing.
Singing can be a form of exercise that works the lungs and other parts of the body required to project one’s voice. Singing may lead to a stronger diaphragm and stimulation of circulation due to the greater amount of oxygen needed to carry a tune.
Research conducted at the University of Frankfurt found that professional choir members who had their blood tested before and after an hour-long rehearsal displayed a greater amount of antibodies called immunoglobulin A after the rehearsal. These increases were not found in the choir members who simply listened to music. In the study, titled “Singing modulates mood, stress, cortisol, cytokine and neuropeptide activity in cancer patients and carers,” researchers found higher levels of cytokines present in the blood of those who sung for an hour in a choir, and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Singing may help alleviate snoring. A 2008 study published in the journal Sleep Breath found that the prevalence and severity of snoring among semiprofessional singers and non-singers indicated that singers scored lower on the snoring scale. Singing strengthens muscles in the airway that can help reduce snoring. Furthermore, the breathing required to sustain a song may help improve lung function and reduce symptoms of mild asthma
Singing may help improve mental alertness by delivering more oxygenated blood to the brain. For those with dementia singing can improve concentration and memory recollection. The Alzheimer’s Society has a “Singing for the Brain” program to help people with dementia maintain their memories.
Singing can boost confidence, improve mental function, help with immune response, and be a form of cardiovascular exercise.
“The quality of the voice is dependent on many factors; however, barring a physical vocal disability, everyone can learn to sing well enough to sing basic songs.” While some factors are genetic, Rutkowski says growing up in a musical environment strongly influences whether someone sings well and confidently
Successful singing is important because it builds self-confidence, promotes self-esteem, always engages the emotions, promotes social inclusion, supports social skill development, and enables young people of different ages and abilities to come together successfully to create something special in the arts.
Here are the 6 most powerful signs.
Singing is more of a learned skill than a natural talent, said Steven Demorest, a music education professor at Northwestern University who recently published a study in the journal Music Perception that compared the singing accuracy of kindergartners, sixth-graders and college-age adults
We recognize that God gives each of us different gifts. But at the end of the day, we all are called, wanted, and expected to sing. My hope for you comes from the proclamation found in Psalm 96. “Sing to the Lord a new song!
Yes, singing everyday can absolutely improve your voice. However, I am going to tell you what most don't: In order to sing better, you need to maintain healthy vocal chords!
Singing improves mental alertness
This improves mental alertness, concentration, and memory. The Alzheimer's Society has even established a “Singing for the Brain” service to help people with dementia and Alzheimer's maintain their memories.
Singing is a natural antidepressant. According to information published in Time magazine, singing may release endorphins associated with feelings of pleasure as well as stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone that is found to alleviate anxiety and stress
Singing releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Because the deep breathing needed to sing draws more oxygen into the blood and causes better circulation, it's also an aerobic activity and a natural stress-reducer.
Scientists say singing boosts the immune system.
They found that concentrations of immunoglobin A – proteins in the immune system which function as antibodies – and hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone, increased significantly during the rehearsal.
People love to sing. Whether or not they can carry a tune, people seem to understand that there’s something positive — something healthy — in the act of raising their voices in song.
In fact, there’s solid scientific evidence to prove that singing is, in fact, good for your body and your mind. In this article we’ll take a closer look at how singing can benefit your physical and mental health, and how to use signing as a form of therapy
Researchers in that study found that the amount of cortisol was lower after singing, an indication that people felt more relaxed after they’d belted out a tune.
They also found singing reduces stress levels whether the participants were singing in a group or by themselves.
There’s a small catch, though: Cortisol only goes down if you’re singing in a place that doesn’t make you anxious. A similar 2015 study tested salivary cortisol levels after a singing performance, finding that cortisol levels went up in this scenario.
There’s some evidence that singing may boost your immune system and help you fight off illnesses.
A 2004 study Trusted Source compared the effects of singing with the effects of simply listening to music. In two separate sessions, research subjects either sang or listened to music.
Those who sang showed higher levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody your body secretes to help you fend off infections. Listening to music (without singing along) reduced stress hormones but didn’t stimulate the body’s immune system.
When you sing in a group, whether it’s a large choir or a smaller group, the act of collective singing causes your body to release endorphins. This hormone can help promote positive feelings, and even change your perception of pain.
A 2012 study found that singing, drumming, and dancing in a group triggers the release of hormones that raise your pain tolerance in ways that just listening to music doesn’t.
Researchers note that the feelings of social connection, rather than the music itself, seems to be behind the boost in pain tolerance.
Regular singing may change the way you breathe, even when you’re not singing. Researchers in a 2008 study interviewed the spouses of choir members, along with the spouses of people who don’t sing.
The researchers found that significantly fewer choir members snored. This led them to recommend regular singing as a potential treatment for snoring.
Studies have also shown that people who play wind instruments also snore less than the general population.
Because singing involves deep breathing and the controlled use of muscles in the respiratory system, it may be beneficial for certain lung and breathing conditions.
Studies have shown that the breathing techniques used with singing may offer benefits for people with the following conditions:
While singing doesn’t treat or cure any of these conditions, you may benefit from gaining strength in your respiratory muscles.
Singing also increases the amount of oxygen in your blood, research shows. In addition to the pulmonary benefits, singers also experience improved mood and a greater sense of social connection.
When you sing together with others, you’re likely to feel the same kind of camaraderie and bonding that players on sports teams experience.
In one 2014 study Trusted Source involving 11,258 schoolchildren, researchers found that children in a singing and musical engagement program developed a strong sense of community and social inclusion.
In a 2016 study involving 375 adult participants, researchers found that people who sang together in a group reported a higher sense of wellbeing and meaningful connection than people who sang solo.
One of the neurochemicals released when people feel bonded together is oxytocin, also known as the love hormone.
Spontaneous, improvised singing causes your body to release this feel-good hormone, which may help give you a heightened sense of connectedness and inclusion.
People with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia experience a gradual loss of memory. Studies have shown that people with these conditions were able to recall song lyrics more easily than other words.
In one singing study Trusted Source by the Alzheimer’s Foundation, participants said it was “nice to be able to remember something.”
However, the singers found they remembered more than just the lyrics. For some, singing familiar songs suddenly brought back life memories they’d forgotten, too. Researchers found that singing songs learned at a younger age caused a spontaneous return of autobiographical details for many people.
Singing in a group doesn’t just help you with physical pain; it may also help with the emotional pain you feel after you’ve lost someone you love.
In a 2019 study conducted among people dealing with grief, researchers found that for those who sang in a choir, depression symptoms didn’t get worse over time and their sense of wellbeing remained stable.
In fact, the choir singers felt a gradual improvement in their self-esteem during and after the 12-week study. Those in the control group who didn’t participate in the singing intervention didn’t report this benefit.
Researchers concluded that group singing may be a good option for people who need additional support during a time of grief.
A 2018 study done in the United Kingdom evaluated 20 people in a singing program known as The Sing Your Heart Out project. The participants included people with mental health conditions, as well as the general public.
Researchers found that the participants reported improvements in their mental health, mood, sense of well-being, and feeling of belonging as a result of these singing workshops.
Decades ago, scientists began researching the effects of singing among people who have a hard time with speech due to a neurological condition.
To date, researchers Trusted Source have found that singing improves the speaking ability for people with:
Singing stimulates multiple areas of the brain at the same time. This may enable people with an impairment in one part of the brain to communicate using other areas of their brain.
Singing can also prolong the sounds in each word, which may make it easier to pronounce them.
Singing also makes it easier to incorporate hand-tapping, a method that can help people maintain speaking rhythms that are otherwise challenging.
Research has shown that singing can be good for you on many levels. It may help lower stress, boost immunity and lung function, enhance memory, improve mental health, and help you cope with physical and emotional pain.
One of the best things about singing is that you don’t have to be good at it to reap the rewards. You can sing on your own in the shower or to your favorite tunes on the radio. Or, you can join a choir or singing group for even more benefits such as connectedness and a sense of belonging.
Written by Cathy Cassata — Updated on January 11, 2018
More evidence proves that singing, especially in groups, can lift your mood and help those living with mental illness. With 2018 underway, you may be looking for ways to brighten your year that don’t require cutting calories or hitting the gym. Turns out, exercising your vocal chords may do the trick. At least, that’s what a recent study says. The research was based on 20 interviews with participants of The Sing Your Heart Out (SYHO) project in the United Kingdom, a community-based network of singing workshops for people with mental health conditions, as well as the general public.
In the study, all interviewees reported improvement in or maintenance of their mental health and well-being as a direct result of the singing workshops.
“Definitely, being in the group was the key aspect,” Tom Shakespeare, PhD, a professor of disability research at Norwich Medical School and author of a paper that evaluated the singing program, told Healthline. “Singing is good, but singing with others is better.”
While SYHO began at a psychiatric hospital in 2005, it eventually moved into a community setting. Professional musicians lead the group. The weekly 90-minute workshops are offered for free to anyone who wants to participate. While Shakespeare notes that people with all kinds of mental health issues have benefited from the workshops, he says there isn’t evidence about who benefited most or what conditions are most helped.
Jay Anderson, a certified neurologic music therapist in California, says there is no doubt singing in groups can lift and modulate moods and emotions.
First, he explains, the act of singing has physical benefits. We breathe differently, more deeply and rhythmically while singing, which in turn delivers more than our normal oxygen to the brain.
But we also feel connected with those we are singing with.
“And most likely a joyous, positive, and successful experience occurs. A sense of accomplishment, particularly to those who are coping with mental health conditions, occurs,” Anderson told Healthline. “Singing in a group can lessen overall anxiety, make us feel more comfortable in social situations, and bring a sense of ‘doing’ and accomplishment.”
Shakespeare’s evaluation of SYHO found similar sentiments. He stated the combination of singing and social engagement produced a feeling of belonging and well-being that often lasted for more than a day.
When participants went to workshops weekly, they felt that the ongoing structure, support, and contact kept them at a higher level of functionality. In addition, their moods were better than they would be if they hadn’t gone.
Participants also commented that singing was a form of communication that allowed them to express emotions in a supported environment and communicate in a socially unthreatening way.
This was valued by those who experienced social anxiety, as it helped them improve their social skills and gain confidence. “Providing appropriate and safe social interaction is a by-product of the group singing,” said Anderson. Still, he adds that singing by yourself has its benefits, too.
“Singing solo before an audience or even alone at home or in the car is courageous and bold. It can be exhilarating, cleansing, joyous, and extremely expressive, no matter the quality,” he said. “Process is more important than product, or it’s the journey that is the joy.”
Both happy and sad songs are in the repertoire of SYHO. However, Shakespeare says that he cannot say if one type of song is better than the other.
“It is the experience of singing together which is the main thing,” he said.
However, Anderson says the songs chosen can contribute to the emotional experience.
“The song lyric message as well as the melody and rhythm can most definitely modulate moods,” Anderson said.
Aspects of the music, such as tempo, harmonic complexity, rhythmic complexity, melody, lyrics, and instrumentation can all modulate mood.
As far as genre, Anderson says some kinds of music tend to have a more monochromatic effect on moods and psyche than others.
“Lyrics with a message of inspiration [and] hope have more of a chance to modulate moods in that direction as opposed to lyrics with a more superficial or base message. Also, harmonies and melodies are imbued by the composer to elicit certain emotions and mood that he or she felt the need to express through song,” noted Anderson.