A growing interest in the impact of singing on health and well-being has seen a dramatic
increase in the number of research projects in this area in recent years. A growing body of
evidence attests to the various health benefits of singing, however to date these studies have
been small in size and representative of specific clinical populations. This research explored
the health and well-being benefits associated with choir singing from the perspective of the
choristers themselves. It is the largest international study to date and the first study to report
the health benefits of singing for Irish adults.
Irish singers reported an overwhelmingly positive response in terms of physical and
physiological benefits, social benefits, psychological/emotional benefits and spiritual
Participants spanned a wide range of ages, from 18 – 90, which suggests that people of
all ages find singing to be a beneficial activity for their health and well-being. This
highlights the potential for choirs to improve well-being in a myriad of settings, including
but not limited to nursing homes, workplaces and educational institutions.
Participants also cited a variety of choral experience, ranging from singing in a choir for
all their adult life to singing with a choir for only one year. Irrespective of length of
experience, responses remained overwhelmingly positive.
Gender differences were observed in responses. Reports of physical benefits, social
benefits and emotional benefits were significantly higher for female participants than for
The ratio of female to male respondents was approximately 5:1, highlighting on a largescale
international study the gender imbalance that is often cited in choral settings, as
well as many other performing arts activities.
Professional singers scored more highly across all domains than their amateur
counterparts, with the difference being statistically significant within the physical, social
and spiritual categories. This finding was not anticipated, as it was expected that
amateur singers may report more social benefits than professionals as they pursue
singing as a leisure activity or a social gathering as opposed to work.
The key benefits of singing in a choir were increased social connection; improved
respiratory health; cognitive stimulation; improved mental health and transcendence
from everyday worries and pain.