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It’s a proven fact that singing a chorus is more fun when we are surrounded by friends, belting it out at the top of our lungs.

Maybe that doesn’t seem like a proven fact, but according to recent research — it actually is. Humans are wired for rhythmic togetherness; from choral singers, musicians, dancers, to rowers, the science is coming in that we bond best when we are making music with each other.


Studies show that choral singing improves our mood, with a decrease in stress, depression and anxiety. These effects are often attributed to the deeper breathing associated with singing, that is also used in meditation. Thes benefits are enhanced in a group setting, compared to singing alone. Singing in a group offers us a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. It helps us feel that we are needed by the larger community. In that light, choral singing programs are beginning to make big strides at senior centers, as a way to improve the quality of life for the older members of our society.

Beyond these psychological effects, our physical health is also impacted for the better: lower blood pressure, increased blood oxygen saturation, elevated immunity, higher pain threshold, stronger respiratory muscles, and less stuttering. Music making produces measurable changes in the brain! These changes positively impact our ability to heal after strokes by assisting the formation of alternative pathways around damaged brain tissue. All of these factors can lead to a deeper sense of well-being and overall happiness.

Another notion is that the experience of making music together provides a sense of awe not just for the observers, but for the participants, as well. If one voice, instrument, or dancer alone is amazing, a group of performers is more so.

What does that awe lead to? Research shows that this emotion engenders an enhanced sense of altruism. It seems to shift our focus from our own narrow view to that of our common humanity. Those who report more awe in their lives have been shown to be more generous, more ethical, and more helpful towards others. Perhaps as we join with others to create an experience of great beauty, we diminish any sense of scarcity, while augmenting our connection to all in a way which is paradoxically self-affirming. We feel more comfortable and happier in our own skin.