Chorus Impact Study – Yes, singing is good for you!

Chorus Impact Study – Yes, singing is good for you!

By Liza Beth, Chorus America

New Study Highlights the Lifelong Benefits of Choral Singing

Chorus America’s 2019 Chorus Impact Study sheds new light on the impact choral singing has on individuals and communities—especially singers ages 65 and up.

Singing in a chorus has a powerfully positive impact on people across generations, as well as on the communities in which they live, a new Chorus America study reveals. The 2019 Chorus Impact Study: Singing for a Lifetime, released in June, builds on previous Chorus Impact Study data about choral singers, and, for the first time, looks in-depth at the role that singing plays in the lives of older adults.

The new research shows that choral singing in America is stronger than ever, with more than 54 million Americans singing in choruses. The percentage of Americans singing has also risen over the past decade, from 14 percent in 2008 to 17 percent today. And people who sing show a real dedication and commitment to their art, with 98 percent rehearsing at least once a week, and almost half reporting that they sing in more than one group.

These numbers are good news, because choruses play an important role in individuals’ lives and in our society. As in 2003 and 2008, the research finds that people who sing experience a number of personal benefits and are more likely to contribute positively to their communities.    

The Personal Benefits of Choral Singing

The choral singers surveyed say that their singing contributes to positive personal qualities like optimism, resilience, and mindfulness. They report stronger relationships and better social skills than the general public and credit singing in a chorus with helping them feel less alone or lonely. And the more an individual participates in group singing—whether that means rehearsing more frequently, being part of more groups, or having sung for more years—the more likely he or she is to experience these positive effects. 

Singers themselves seem to be increasingly aware of the personal benefits of singing in a chorus. The numbers of singers that say they sing in a chorus for stress release, to connect with other people, or because it makes them happy have all risen over the past decade.

One thing that hasn’t changed: As in previous years, the majority of adults singing today began singing because of an in-school music education opportunity. Over half of all choral singers surveyed started singing in elementary school, with 76 percent having started singing by the end of high school—powerful evidence that in-school choral music programs continue to be crucial to the future of choral singing. 

Community Impact and Influence

The positive personal qualities of choral singers ripple outward into the communities they live in and beyond. Singers are skilled at interacting with others, and 75 percent of those surveyed say that being part of a chorus has made them better team players in other areas of their lives. They are more civically engaged than the general public, voting, volunteering, and contributing financially to the organizations they support at higher levels. Because of these and other characteristics, such as their likeliness to take on leadership roles, choral singers as a group wield a remarkable amount of influence and impact.

New to the 2019 report, measures of adaptability and tolerance were included in this research. Sixty percent of choral singers feel being part of a choir has made them more open, flexible, and adaptable in life, and 63 percent of singers reported that choral participation has made them more open to and accepting of people who are different from themselves or hold different views. Overall, choral singers demonstrate higher levels of tolerance and place a higher value on diversity than the general public.

Singing for a Lifetime

Findings comparing older choristers (65+) to older Americans in general suggest that choral singing may be an important way to help older Americans remain active and stay healthier longer. Older singers engage in a broader range of activities than the general public of the same age, including working. One in five report that singing has helped relieve or improve a chronic health condition, and singers are less likely to have difficulty with a variety of physical tasks such as climbing stairs or shopping for groceries. 

Older singers also report being in better mental health than the general public of the same age. Over 75 percent of older choristers say they believe being in a chorus helps keep their “mind sharper,” helps them “think more clearly,” and/or keeps their “memory stronger than would otherwise be the case.” They are more likely to be content with their friendships and relationships and less likely to feel isolated from others. It’s no wonder that older choristers report a better overall quality of life than the general public.  

You can access the full Chorus Impact Study here.

2019 Song of the Year

2019 Song of the Year

Each year we choose a World Singing Day Song of the Year that we invite people around the world to sing at their WSD sing-along event. This year we wanted to pick a song that was joyful, well-known, easy to sing along to, and irresistible to dance to. This year’s Song of the Year is “Twist and Shout.”

We invite you to sing along to The Beatles version, or at least sing it in the same tempo and key (D).

 For more details on this year’s Song of the Year and how to submit your video, click here.

So you think you can’t sing?

So you think you can’t sing?

By Scott Johnson, Founder, World Singing Day

I hear it all the time when I tell people about World Singing Day: “You don’t want me to sing. I’ll scare everybody away,” they say with a sheepish smile.  

And I reply “You’re exactly the person we want singing with us on World Singing Day. If you can speak, you can sing.”

It’s time we embrace singing as a universal human activity – a joyful experience for everyone, regardless of talent, experience or ability. 

Many people who say they can’t sing often had a friend, parent or teacher say something derogatory about their singing when they were young. And then out of embarrassment or shame, they simply stopped singing.

World Singing Day addresses those fears and concerns by providing a safe, inviting environment – a participatory experience for people of all singing abilities, where everyone is welcomed. It’s not about performing or competing but rather bringing people together for, as one participant said, “one of the most life-affirming experiences I have ever had.”

World Singing Day participants sing along to the recordings of popular songs played loud enough where individual voices aren’t necessarily heard, but where the group as a whole can be heard loud and clear.

“We humans are hard-wired to sing,” says singing guru Deke Sharon. “Throughout history, singing has been fundamental to the human experience, with people feeling a powerful connection to others through song.” 

Think of our ancient ancestors sitting around the fire and singing together. Everyone sang. Not just a select few. And this ancestral activity of communal singing is becoming a singing revolution of sorts, with groups springing up all over the world, from Australia and the United Kingdom to Belgium, Israel and the USA.

So you think you can’t sing? Well I’m here to tell you, yes you can. And each year on the third Saturday in October, people of all singing abilities around the world will be joining others in their communities for the pure joy and camaraderie of singing together. Join us.

WSD Spotlight on Malaysia: Meet Shareen Yong Yong

WSD Spotlight on Malaysia: Meet Shareen Yong Yong

Each year, volunteers from around the world serve as catalysts for positive human interactions as they host public sing-alongs on World Singing Day. Each host finds a place, sets a time and makes a playlist of their favorite songs so people can gather and experience the joy that comes from singing together. 

Last year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, host Shareen Yong Yong recruited a few of her students from the polytechnic school where she works to host a local sing-along. Shareen, who works full-time as an English language lecturer at the school, not only recruited some of her own students, but ended up recruiting over 20 students from different departments to be involved in organizing the event. 

Shareen and her “KL WSD Crew Family” worked together and involved other local groups in organizing their public sing-along at a local shopping mall. The team worked for weeks and months leading up to the event, creating signs, building decorations and even preparing a flash mob dance for their six-hour sing-along. They had team members assigned to different tasks, from going live on Facebook to putting up signs in the area. Their event brought hundreds of people together to sing. 

One woman, who showed up after the event had ended, was welcomed by Shareen’s crew as they sang three more songs together, including the 2018 WSD Song-of-the-Year. One student stepped up to help boost the woman’s spirits by buying her a World Singing Day t-shirt. She was moved to tears.  

Congratulations to Shareen and the entire World Singing Day Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 2018 Crew (pictured below) for creating such a joyful and inclusive sing-along. Each member played an integral part in bringing people together from all walks of life to experience the feeling of togetherness through singing and supporting the mission of World Singing Day: “Sing together. Unite the world.” Keep up the good work over there in Malaysia!  

Click here to see a photo gallery from the 2018 event. 

Click here to see a fun video from the 2018 event.  

Click here to visit their 2019 event page. 

Interested in hosting a World Singing Day event? Click here.

2018 LOT10 Kuala Lumpur WSD Crew Family (photo above)

Top row: Shafeeq, Ahmad, Leonard, Patterson, Md, Azhar (Mechanical Engineering)
Third row: Nur (Electrical Engineering), Shareen Lee Yong Yong (English Language Lecturer)
Second row: Nur (Civil Engineering), Abdul (Mechanical Engineering), Khairunnisa (Electrical Engineering), Nur (Business Management), Nur (International Business Studies), Nur (Electrical Engineering), Mahariee, Alif, Ilham, Hadi (Mechanical Engineering)
Front row: Siti, Puteri (Electrical Engineering), Nur (Packaging Engineering), Imran, Mirza (Mechanical Engineering). Camera person: Aiman

Our new website – it sings!

Our new website – it sings!

We’re happy to announce the new World Singing Day website, designed to be easier to use, quicker to navigate, and more helpful for those planning to sing on World Singing Day.

With a clean, simplified interface that works smoothly on mobile devices and desktops, the new World Singing Day website makes it easy for you to decide how you would like to participate in this global sing-along, held annually on the third Saturday in October.

We have downloadable toolkits for people wanting to organize their own sing-along party in their home with family and friends, or a larger public sing-along for your whole city. There are resources and lesson plans for educators, videos for inspiration, and all you need to participate this year.

We invite you to explore our new site and get inspired to join us in singing together with the world.