Singing for Health and


Too Much Information:

Quotes from Research on Music and Healing from the United States, Australia and the U.K. [BOLD EMPHASES ADDED]

Keeping Body and Soul in Tune 

> “Research has shown that music has a profound effect on your body and psyche. In fact, there’s a growing field of health care known as Music Therapy, which uses music to heal. Those who practice music therapy are finding a benefit in using music to help cancer patients, children with ADD, and others, and even hospitals are beginning to use music and music therapy to help with pain management, to help ward off depression, to promote movement, to calm patients, to ease muscle tension, and for many other benefits that music and music therapy can bring. This is not surprising, as music affects the body and mind in many powerful ways. “

~Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

> Professor Graham Welch, chairman of music education and head of the school of arts and humanities at the Institute of Education, University of London, says: "There is currently a lot of interest in wellbeing and social inclusion and an increasing interest in how music in various forms can support a sense of being part of society and increase your self-esteem. A great deal of research is being done into music and medicine and how music can ameliorate pain." Indeed, research published in the Journal of Music Therapy in 2004 suggested that “group singing helped people to cope better with chronic pain.

> Another study by researchers at Cleveland Clinic found that music “helps ease unrelenting, non-malignant pain in adults who ‘hurt’ for at least six months.”

> "Music as a healing therapy took off during World War II. Doctors noticed that wounded and shell shocked soldiers had better rehabilitation rates when they were exposed to music."

> A study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, published in the UK, concluded that “people with depression who listened to music for at least one hour each day reported a reduction of symptoms by up to 25%. “

> The Sidney De Haan Centre undertakes research and provides evidence to support their aim of getting the NHS to provide "singing on prescription". Professor Grenville Hancox, Director of Music at Canterbury Christ Church University and co-director of the Centre, says, "There is an increasing interest in the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of singing. We are convinced that it is a powerful tool. Research we've done involving international choirs and over 12,000 people identified several particular benefits of regular group singing, including specific examples of people who say it helped them recover from strokes or heart attacks.”

> “Singing is also in fashion at the moment. BBC1's Last Choir Standing has taken it on to Saturday-night television, while the Sing The Nation project organized a programme of group singing events around the country that culminated in a nationwide singalong on August 24 to mark the Olympic handover from Beijing to London. Last year, the government announced £40m of funding in the National Singing Programme to get every primary-school pupil singing regularly. And there are, apparently, now more choirs in this country than there are fish and chips shops. “

The Guardian, UK 2008

> In December of this year [2009] the charity Heart Research UK will run a Sing for Your Heart week to raise money and also to highlight the health benefits of singing. And in September the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University will host a conference to explore the role of music and singing in health, social care and community development.

> Researchers at the University of Sydney, in Australia found that “singing in

groups for at least 30 minutes a day helped people cope better with low moods caused by chronic pain.

> “An Australian study investigated music therapy referral trends with palliative care and found that healthcare providers commonly prescribe music therapy. In the study, 354 participants (196 female, 158 male) were referred ranging in age from four to 98 years old, and most were diagnosed with cancer (323 participants, or 91 percent). Nurses (167, or 47 percent) referred most frequently to music therapy. Thirty-six percent, or 130 patients, were referred for symptom-based reasons, and 24.5 percent, or 87, patients were referred for support and coping.” The NaturalStandard June 2007

> “We respond to the soothing music at later stages in life, perhaps associating it with the safe, relaxing, protective environment provided by our mother....the most profound finding was any music performed live and even at moderately loud volumes even if it was somewhat discordant had a very beneficial response…. Special consideration should be given to the positive effects of one actually playing or creating music themselves.” ~

> “Also, research has found ….that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening. Music has also been found to bring many other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure (which can also reduce the risk of stroke and other health problems over time), boost immunity, ease muscle tension, and more. With so many benefits and such profound physical effects, it’s no surprise that so many are seeing music as an important tool to help the body in staying (or becoming) healthy. “ ~Elizabeth Scott, M.S.