The perceived benefits of singing: findings from preliminary surveys of a university college choral society

J R Soc Promot Health. 2001 Dec;121(4):248-56. doi: 10.1177/146642400112100409.


Two exploratory studies are reported on the perceived benefits associated with active participation in choral singing. In the first study, 84 members of a university college choral society completed a brief questionnaire that asked whether they had benefited personally from their involvement in the choir and whether there were ways in which participation could benefit their health. A large majority of respondents agreed they had benefited socially (87%) and emotionally (75%), with 58% agreeing they had benefited in some physical way, and 49% spiritually. A content analysis of written comments served to elaborate the ways in which choir members felt they had benefited. Common themes expressed were: meeting new people, feeling more positive, increased control over breathing, feeling more alert and feeling spiritually uplifted. With respect to health benefits, 84% of participants gave answers, the main themes of which related to improved lung function and breathing, improved mood and stress reduction. In the second study, 91 members of the choir completed a structured questionnaire consisting of 32 statements about singing reflecting the ideas expressed in the first study. Over 40% of respondents strongly agreed that 'singing helps to make my mood more positive', 'singing is a moving experience for me sometimes', 'singing makes me feel a lot happier' and 'singing is good for my soul'. A principal components analysis followed by Oblimin rotation identified six dimensions of benefit associated with singing. These were labelled as: benefits for well-being and relaxation, benefits for breathing and posture, social benefits, spiritual benefits, emotional benefits, and benefits for heart and immune system. Cronbach alpha coefficients were satisfactory for all components except the third, social benefits, due primarily to the small number of items loading on this component. Women were significantly more likely to experience benefits for well-being and relaxation, younger people were more likely to report social benefits, and those professing religious beliefs were more likely to experience spiritual benefits. The present studies have a number of limitations, but they provide a useful foundation for future larger scale surveys, more sophisticated qualitative studies, and experimental investigations of the impact of singing on psycho-physiological functioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities