The neuroscience of singing shows that when we sing our neurotransmitters connect in new and different ways. It fires up the right temporal lobe of our brain, releasing endorphins that make us smarter, healthier, happier and more creative. When we sing with other people this effect is amplified. The science is in. Singing is really, really good for you and the most recent research suggests that group singing is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. The good feelings we get from singing in a group are a kind of evolutionary reward for coming together cooperatively. The research suggests that creating music together evolved as a tool of social living. Groups and tribes sang and danced together to build loyalty, transmit vital information and ward off enemies. Singing in a group has been a part of tribal traditions for thousands of years. Science Supports Singing What has not been understood until recently is that singing in groups triggers the communal release of serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and even synchronises our heart beats. Group singing literally incentivised community over an “each cave dweller for themselves” approach. Those who sang together were strongly bonded and survived. In her book Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others, Stacy Horn calls singing: An infusion of the perfect tranquiliser – the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirit.
Group singing not only brings happiness but deeply connects people. Singing Makes You Happy For a decade, science has been hard at work trying to explain why singing has such a calming yet energising effect on people. Numerous studies demonstrate that singing releases endorphins and oxytocin – which in turn relieve anxiety and stress and which are linked to feelings of trust and bonding. Singing helps people with depression and reduces feelings of loneliness, leaving people feeling relaxed, happy and connected. What’s more, the benefits of singing regularly are cumulative. People who sing have reduced levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress. UK singer, singing teacher and choir leader Sophia Efthimiou describes singing as a process of consciously controlling our breath and larynx to create and sustain certain pitches and we blend that with rhythm and poetry to create songs. In a group setting, each group member feels the musical vibrations moving through their body simultaneously. Our heart beats become synchronised. Sophia explains: We literally form one unified heart beat.
Singing together synchronises heartbeats so that they beat as one. Anybody Can Sing One of the great things about singing is that you can receive the wellbeing benefits even if you aren’t any good. One study showed that: Group singing can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality. Tania de Jong, singer and founder of Creativity Australia, has effectively harnessed this ability of group singing to lift every member of the group up, no matter their singing ability.
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