#BenefitsOfSinging – Curated Research

Explore the curated research that highlights some of the scientific evidence for the many and varied ways ​that singing together contributes to our psychological, physical, spiritual, social and emotional health.

Links to Curated Research – Excel



Singing stimulates brain function

Participating in any musical activity, including singing, is a powerful way to stimulate the brain. Singing has been shown to activate and connect different regions of the brain, including those involved in memory, thinking, movement, attention, language, and emotion.

Peretz, I. (2002). Book Review: Brain Specialization for Music. The Neuroscientist, 8(4), 372-380.

Peretz, I., Gagnon, L., HÉÉBERT, S., & MACOIR, J. (2004). Singing in the brain: Insights from cognitive neuropsychology. Music Perception, 21(3), 373-390.

Singing decreases stress

Whether singing in the community choir or belting it out solo in the shower, singing appears to be an effective stress-reliever. Not only do people feel more relaxed after a singing session, but studies have shown that singing can actually decrease levels of salivary cortisol, a hormone best known as the stress hormone.

Beck, R. J., Cesario, T. C., Yousefi, A., & Enamoto, H. (2000). Choral singing, performance perception, and immune system changes in salivary immunoglobulin A and cortisol. Music perception, 18(1), 87-106.

Fancourt, D., Williamon, A., Carvalho, L. A., Steptoe, A., Dow, R., & Lewis, I. (2016). Singing modulates mood, stress, cortisol, cytokine and neuropeptide activity in cancer patients and carers. ecancermedicalscience, 10.

Singing increases pain threshold

Studies have shown that people can tolerate more pain after singing with others; resilience gained through group bonding (power in numbers!). Some researchers think it has to do with pain-relieving endorphins that are released during group singing. 

Weinstein, D., Launay, J., Pearce, E., Dunbar, R. I., & Stewart, L. (2016). Group music performance causes elevated pain thresholds and social bonding in small and large groups of singers. Evolution and human behavior: official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, 37(2), 152.


Singing increases prosocial behaviours and cooperation

A growing body of research demonstrates that singing together leads to more prosocial behaviours such as helping, sharing, and cooperating. This prosocial effect is even found in infancy! 

Good, A., & Russo, F. A. (2016). Singing promotes cooperation in a diverse group of children. Social Psychology.

Kirschner, S., & Tomasello, M. (2010). Joint music making promotes prosocial behavior in 4-year-old children. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(5), 354-364. 280.2008.02253.


Singing increases classroom engagement

While scientists are still investigating whether singing can improve non-musical skills, singing in the classroom has been found to increase student engagement and attention. 

Wolfe, D. E., & Noguchi, L. K. (2009). The use of music with young children to improve sustained attention during a vigilance task in the presence of auditory distractions. Journal of Music Therapy, 46(1), 69–82.

Singing supports language learning

Singing develops musical skills and understanding

Group singing develops an understanding of musical concepts and elements, including form, rhythm, timbre, pitch, texture, dynamics, phrasing, and more! Aural skills are developed along with musical memory and thinking in sound.

Hallam, Susan; Cross, Ian; Thaut, Michael; McPherson, Gary (2012): Musical potential: Oxford University Press (1).

A project of Choral Canada




The #BenefitsOfSinging campaign was initiated by the European Choral Association,
and adapted and extended for Canada by the Advocacy Committee of Choral Canada.





This advocacy campaign was made possible by Choral Canada and its generous donors.
We would also like to thank the organizations and individuals who are showing their support through their commitment to sharing this campaign.


National Campaign Project Donors


Diana Clark


Heather Fraser


Kim Eyre





















National Campaign Project Supporters




Heather Sparling
Alliance chorale du Québec
Manitoba Choral Association
Manitoba Music Educators' Association
Ontario Music Educators' Association



Banner photos: Sam Moffatt Photography