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The Effects of Group Singing on Mood

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Abstract

Explored the effects of group singing on the mood of singers. Participants (aged 18-73 yrs), a community sample of volunteers, were randomly assigned to either a singing (experimental) or a listening to singing (control) group. The singers participated in a half-hour session of singing while the listeners sat and listened to the singing group. The Profile of Mood States Questionnaire (P.O.M.S.) was administered immediately before and after the singing session and again 1 wk later. Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA; 3x2 factorial with 3 levels of time and 2 levels of group) were conducted on each of the P.O.M.S. subscales. Multivariate F tests indicated that significant changes occurred on the P.O.M.S. sub-scales (tension, anger, fatigue, vigor and confusion) for both the singing and listening groups over time. There were no significant group-time interactions indicating that both groups responded in a similar fashion to the singing session, although the effects for singing were more robust. The results of this study indicate that both singing and listening to singing can alter mood immediately after participation in a short singing session, and that some of these effects were evident in the P.O.M.S. scores 1 wk later. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
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Psychology of Music
http://pom.sagepub.com/content/30/2/175
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DOI: 10.1177/0305735602302004
2002 30: 175Psychology of Music
Margaret M. Unwin, Dianna T. Kenny and Pamela J. Davis
The Effects of Group Singing on Mood
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... Untrained group singing more closely approximates ancient group music-making while also incorporating an emphasis on wellbeing through providing positive experiences and social opportunities. Second, where previous research has compared group singing to another activity, comparison groups are often chosen that share few characteristics with choirs, such as creative writing, discussion groups or crafting groups (Allpress et al., 2012;Dingle et al., 2017;Grape et al., 2010;Pearce et al., 2017;Unwin et al., 2002). This is entirely appropriate for providing greater contrast between condition and control groups. ...
... In this group, findings are mixed. The studies reported here are grouped into those that take place within a clinical setting Grape et al., 2010;Perkins et al., 2018), those that compared engaging activities in a lab setting (Allpress et al., 2012;Unwin et al., 2002), those that compare to other organized leisure activities in natural settings (Dingle et al., 2017;Dunbar et al., 2013;Pearce et al., 2015;Pearce et al., 2017), those that compare choir participation to other kinds of musical or sport activities (Lonsdale & Day, 2020;Schladt et al., 2017;Valentine & Evans, 2001), and those that explore links between singing and pro-social behaviours in children (Beck & Rieser, 2020;Good & Russo, 2016;Kirschner & Tomasello, 2010). ...
... A study conducted by Unwin et al. (2002) recruited 81 participants and randomly assigned them to either a singing or a listening (to the singing group) condition. The Profile of Mood States was administered beforehand, immediately afterwards and again 1 week later. ...
Thesis
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Human musicality is a mystery. Theorists have proposed that it was evolutionarily adaptive through its ability to create a shared and positive emotional state, increase a sense of social cohesion, and encourage pro-social behaviours. This research found that group singing provides immediate socio-emotional wellbeing benefits but longer-term benefits are confined to emotional domains. These effects were not unique to group singing, but were similar across comparison groups. Wellbeing was facilitated by both group characteristics (music, movement, socialising) and individual mindset towards participation (motivation, flow), with greater benefits for exercise groups. Implications for social prescribing and similar interventions are discussed.
... The finding that psychological measures of wellbeing increased during singing is in line with previous research using different measurement instruments such as the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; [17]), the Profile of Mood States (POMS; [34]), or visual analogue scales [24]. Thus the present findings corroborate the view that half an hour of singing is sufficient to enhance perceived psychological wellbeing. ...
... With respect to the ad hoc measures of positive and negative feelings in this study, it is of interest that both quantitative and qualitative responses of different kinds have produced converging evidence by showing that positive emotions might increase after singing [6]. For example, reduction of tiredness after both singing and listening to music occurred in another study on group singing [34]. The present findings confirm that singing is effective in inducing positive changes in these psychological variables. ...
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Psychobiological effects of amateur choral singing were studied in a naturalistic controlled within-subjects trial. A mixed group of novice and experienced singers (N = 21) filled out brief ad hoc questionnaires of psychological wellbeing and gave samples of saliva for measuring levels of salivary oxytocin, cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosteron (DHEA) at the beginning of 2 rehearsal sessions and 30 minutes later. The singing condition included warm-up vocal exercises and repertoire pieces. In the chatting condition, dyads of participants talked to each other about recent positive life experiences. Within-subjects, repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) on self-reported and physiological measures revealed significant Time X Condition interactions for psychological wellbeing and oxytocin. Comparisons of mean scores showed patterns of changes favouring singing over chatting. There were no significant interactions for cortisol, DHEA as well as for the cortisol-DHEA-ratio. These results suggest that singing enhances individual psychological wellbeing as well as induces a socio-biological bonding response.
... There are several systematic reviews with attention to specific populations or health outcomes: singing as part of a therapeutic intervention [6], health and older people [7], respiratory function [8], health-related quality of life outcomes [9] and benefits for people with Parkinson's disease [10]. In addition, the act of singing involves a number of respiratory and neuromuscular processes that may have a relationship with emotion systems, and thereby amplify aesthetic experiences [11]. Clift and colleagues [3] conducted a large (N = 1124) crossnational mixed-methodological survey assessing choral singers' perceptions of the effects of group singing on samples from choirs in Australia, England and Germany. ...
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Background An increasing body of qualitative and quantitative research suggests that choir singing can improve mental and physical health and wellbeing. A recurring phenomenon is social agency and social and emotional competences. However, there is little consensus about the underlying impact mechanisms and the special nature of music as a medium for music-based social–emotional competence. Aim This research was carried out to explore how the participants experienced engaging and singing in the choir A Song for the Mind in order to understand the social and emotional aspects in relation to choir singing and mental health. Method Six women and two men were interviewed. The study involved open-ended interviews and applied Paul Ricoeur's phenomenological–hermeneutic theory of interpretation in processing the collected data. Findings Two themes emerged—The Singing Me and Cultivating Us. Joining the choir, singing and engaging with the lyrics, helped the participants get in contact with complex feelings and visualise and express challenges. This formed feelings of connecting to oneself and opening up to become aware of the world such as nature, the other person and the choir. Songs, melodies, tones, lyrics—singing together—formed a relation between the participants and the other and the group. This was a meaningful, and to some, a life-changing experience, and an important learning process to the professionals. As the participants are sensing and connecting to themselves, there is an opening for growing a nascent presence and awareness. Conclusion Joining the initiative A Song for the Mind instils an attention to the other person(s). The singing process seems to evoke presence, leading to awareness towards relational aspects and solidarity. In a choir singing perspective, and health care practice in general, this can be seen as a budding and ground-breaking formation of cultural activities holding learning and empowering potentials instilling mental health.
... This paper presents the findings of a mixed-methods pilot study exploring the impact of online singing sessions on the health and well-being of participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been significant research conducted recently in the fields of health promotion, community music and music therapy indicating the significant benefits of solo and group singing for physical (Kreutz et al., 2004;Clift et al., 2010;Fancourt et al., 2016;Gick and Nicol, 2016;Stone et al., 2018), psycho-emotional (Unwin et al., 2002;Gick, 2010;Dingle et al., 2012Dingle et al., , 2019Coulton et al., 2015;Williams et al., 2018;Allen et al., 2019) and social health and well-being (Murray and Lamont, 2012;Hays and Minichiello, 2005;Daykin et al., 2013;Dike, 2017;Moss et al., 2018;Cohen, 2019;Daffern et al., 2019;Batt-Rawden and Andersen, 2020;Camlin et al., 2020;Moss and O'Donoghue, 2020;Paldam Folker et al., 2021), and the interactions between these facets (Clift et al., 2008;Clift, 2013;Theorell, 2019). However, previous studies have largely focussed on choir singing, leaving other forms of group singing relatively neglected to date. ...
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This article explores the impact of online Irish traditional singing sessions on health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Singing sessions are unique facets of Ireland's music tradition that saw dramatic closure, interruption and digital transition in response to COVID-19 social distancing measures. This study highlights a gap in health promotion literature with regard to traditional singing sessions as a group singing activity and examines the potential for online group singing activities to have positive impacts on the health and well-being of participants. While traditional singing sessions foreground solo performances, they are quintessentially group activities, and include community engagement and active participation from singers and listeners alike. Through an online survey (n = 108), and ethnographic interviews (n = 3), this study explores potential health and well-being implications of online traditional singing sessions, and reveals four main areas of impact: social connection, enjoyment, cognitive motivation and timekeeping. The study suggests that online traditional singing sessions can promote health and well-being in participants, particularly during times of isolation.
... Tarr et al., 2015). Examples include comparisons of group singing with group music listening (Kreutz et al., 2004;Unwin et al., 2002), quiet chatting (Kreutz, 2014), and swimming (Valentine and Evans, 2001). In an early acknowledgement of this confound, Anshel and Kipper (1988) independently manipulated music and physical activity across four conditions: group singing (music/activity), group music listening (music/no activity), group poetry reading (no music/activity), and group film watching (no music/no activity). ...
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Humans have sung together for thousands of years. Today, regular participation in group singing is associated with benefits across psychological and biological dimensions of human health. Here we examine the hypothesis that a portion of these benefits stem from changes in endocrine activity associated with affiliation and social bonding. Working with a young adult choir (n = 71), we measured changes salivary concentrations of oxytocin, cortisol, and testosterone from before and after four experimental conditions crossing two factors: vocal production mode (singing vs. speaking) and social context (together vs. alone). Salivary oxytocin and cortisol decreased from before to after the experimental manipulations. For oxytocin the magnitude of this decrease was significantly smaller after singing compared to speaking, resulting in concentrations that were significantly elevated after singing together compared to speaking together, after controlling for baseline differences. In contrast, the magnitude of the salivary cortisol decreases was the same across experimental manipulations, and although large, could not be separated from diurnal cycling. No significant effects were found in a low-powered exploratory evaluation of testosterone (tested only in males). At a psychological level, we found that singing stimulates greater positive shifts in self-perceived affect compared to speaking—particularly when performed together—and that singing together enhances feelings of social connection more than speaking together. Finally, measurements of heart rate made for a subset of participants provide preliminary evidence regarding physical exertion levels across conditions. These results are discussed in the context of a growing multidisciplinary literature on the endocrinological correlates of musical behavior. We conclude that singing together can have biological and psychological effects associated with affiliation and social bonding, and that these effects extend beyond comparable but non-musical group activities. However, we also note that these effects appear heavily influenced by broader contextual factors that shape social dynamics, such as stress levels, the intimacy of interactions, and the status of existing relationships.
... Many qualitative and quantitative studies have illustrated the benefits of choral singing for social and mental wellbeing [69][70][71]. Service users' lived experiences suggest that group singing can act as coping strategies for those who are experiencing demanding life situations [72]. ...
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Internationally, mental health service developments are increasingly informed by the principles of recovery, and the availability of arts and creative activities are becoming more common as part of provision. Mental health service users’ experiences, reflecting on the complex nature of using music participation in recovery are, however, limited. This essay considers literature that explores how music can support mental health service users in a recovery process. We have selected studies that include a broad spectrum of music activities, as well as literature considering various concepts about recovery. The conceptual recovery framework CHIME, that includes five important components in the recovery process, is used as the backdrop for exploring music activities as a contribution to recovery-oriented practice and services in mental health care. Eleven key components are identified in which music can support the recovery process: Feelings of equality; Social and emotional wellbeing; Tolerance; Hope and social agency; Triggering encounters; Redefining and reframing; A social practice; Moments of flow and peak experiences; Moments of meaning; Continuity; and Potentials instead of limitations. This essay concludes that the experiential knowledge of music activities from service users’ perspectives is essential knowledge when developing and using music activities in mental health recovery services. While this essay acknowledges that music activities can also produce unintended negative outcomes, the focus is on the positive contributions of music to mental health recovery processes.
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