Studying the Singing-Health Connection

The evidence just keeps rolling in: Choral singing is good for your health.

Anyone who sings knows that the power of music lifts your spirits, reinvigorates your body, and improves your outlook on life. But just in case you need some hard evidence, consider these studies:

  • Researchers in Germany took blood samples from chorus members before and after they sang Mozart's Requiem. The levels of immunoglobulin A and cortisol were noticeably higher, indicating enhanced immunity. At another time, the same choir was asked simply to listen to a recording of the same piece. The blood samples this time did not show elevated levels.
  • A study reported in the UK's Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health found that choral singers reported improved lung capacity, high energy, relieved asthma, better posture, and enhanced feelings of relaxation, mood, and confidence. In a follow-up questionnaire, 89 percent of the singers reported intense happiness while singing, 79 percent felt less stressed, and 75 percent experienced heightened adrenaline and wakefulness.
  • Researchers at the University of California, Irvine conducted tests with members of the Pacific Chorale in Santa Ana, California at two rehearsals and one concert over an eight-week period. They had expected that performance anxiety might suppress immune response but it didn't. The choristers showed significantly increased levels of immunity-building proteins just prior to performance and even more dramatically afterward.
  • The Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. formed a Senior Singers Chorale in 2001 as part of a wider study examining how singing under professional direction could affect the health of people 55 and older. After two years of measurement compared to a control group of similar individuals, the music participants:
    • Reported better health and fewer falls
    • Showed a slower rate of increase in doctor visits than non-participants
    • Increased medication usage at a significantly lower rate than non-participants
    • Showed greater improvements in depression, loneliness and morale
    • Increased social interaction, while non-participants decreased interaction