What do Singers Say About the Effects of Choral Singing on Physical Health? - Findings from a Survey of Choristers in Australia, England and Germany
This paper presents evidence on choral singers’ perceptions of the physical health benefits of choral singing. It is based on a thematic analysis of answers given to a single open question included in a questionnaire survey of over 1,000 choral singers in Australia, England and Germany: ‘What effects, if any, does singing in a choir have on your physical health?’ The question was carefully worded to be as open as possible, to allow respondents to say that singing has no effects or to identify both positive and negative effects on health. Four findings stand out from this study. Firstly, many respondents did not answer this question or expressed a belief that singing does not have effects on physical health. Secondly, there was a clear spectrum of confidence in the substantive answers respondents gave when identifying effects – usually benefits. Some answers were given very tentatively, whereas others were given with a great deal of confidence. Thirdly, with respect to the positive benefits identified by choristers, four areas stand out most clearly: effects on breathing and lung function; posture and body control; relaxation and stress relief, and physical activity and energy. And finally, the analysis of choristers’ answers has helped to suggest some of the hypothetical mechanisms at work which link the activity of singing to aspects of physical health. The limitations of this study are considered and recommendations made for future research. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009