The Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio 1 featured a section on the health and well-being benefits of singing in a choir, on Saturday 27th of April. Music Therapy PhD student Jess O’Donoghue was a guest on this panel and spoke about research on singing and health on behalf of the research team at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance led by Dr Hilary Moss.
The team have completed two studies to date. The first study, carried out in 2017, explored the health benefits of singing in a choir from an international sample of 1,779 choristers. An online questionnaire including quantitative statements and qualitative questions relating to the perceived health benefits of singing in a choir was distributed. Perceived benefits for choir singers included social connection, physical and psychological benefits, cognitive stimulation, mental health, enjoyment and transcendence.
In 2018, the researchers completed a year-long mixed-method study of the presence of well-being and health benefits of attending a workplace choir for HSE staff. This pilot study is the first Irish study of the health and well-being benefits of HSE workplace choirs. Findings revealed that a workplace choir can promote social connection, enjoyment at work, and staff engagement; reduce stress; and improve the perception of health and well-being.