The benefits of singing in a choir

Lecture delivered by professor Graham Welch at Gresham College (UK). He is the Chair of Music Education at  the UCL Institute of Education, University College, London. His main areas of expertise lie in musical development and music education across the lifespan, teacher education, the psychology of music, singing and voice science, music in special education, and disability and the wider benefits of music.

Excerpt:

The benefits of singing in a choir are many and various. In particular, there are positive physical outcomes and mental health benefits.

These are related to improved cardiovascular fitness (including lung function), as well as improved mood and general alertness, often allied to a feeling of being spiritually uplifted. Because singing involves many different areas of the brain acting in concert, there are often associated cognitive benefits, such as improvements in children’s reading ability that are linked to increased auditory discrimination that supports phonological development.

There are also social and psychosocial benefits, as singing in a collective can improve participants’ sense of belonging and of being socially included by engendering a positive sense of community. Benefits are available across the lifespan and are indicated pre-birth in the final months of foetal life. At the other end of the lifespan, singing can bring a stronger and more positive sense of identity in a context where there is often a sense of loss of control due to the challenges of aging. There are also musical and cultural benefits as participants gain skills, knowledge and understanding of the nature and place of music in their lives and the lives of others.

This lecture was delivered as part of the 2015 City of London Festival.

The full transcript as well as an audio file of the lecture can be viewed (heared) and downloaded here

 

 

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