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This is Your Brain on Music

The title of this blog is not original with me. It was the title of a session I recently attended at the annual meeting of Chorus America in Chicago. (Choral Arts Ensemble is a member Chorus America – a professional association dedicated to promoting artistic achievement, organizational strength, and advocacy for choral groups.)

There is a growing body of evidence about the power of music to affect health, improve learning, enhance one’s sense of well-being, and advance healthy aging. In fact, singing in groups seems to have an enhanced affect compared to singing alone. Preliminary results from a recent study seem to indicate that the heart rates of individuals singing in a group tend to “sync-up” during group singing. There is power in the sense of community one experiences in group music making.

The benefits of singing regularly seem to be cumulative as indicated by one study that found lower levels of cortisol (indicating lower stress) in those who sing in groups regularly. And, there is increasing research into the benefits of group singing for older adults who are struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease. While not curative, group singing seems to ease some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s while providing an important social outlet for patients and their caregivers.

So, want to live healthier longer? Along with eating well, getting enough sleep and regular exercise, add group singing. Just ask any Choral Arts Ensemble member about the benefits of singing together.

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