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A chorus of voices: social singing and health promotion

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posted on 2024-02-26, 12:45 authored by Hannah FaheyHannah Fahey, Helen PhelanHelen Phelan, Stephen Clift, Hilary MossHilary Moss

Research on choirs and other forms of group singing has been conducted for several decades. A relatively recent focus on the potential health and well-being benefits, particularly in amateur singers, shows evidence of a range of biopsychosocial and well-being benefits to singers (Livesey et al., 2012; Reagon, 2016). As editors of this special issue, we come to the topic from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds including music therapy, public health, ritual studies and vocal pedagogy, but a common thread to our varied approaches to singing, health and well-being is the social aspect of singing. Rather than focusing on choir singing (which has cultural and class connotations), we prefer the term social singing as it allows a broader conversation. This special issue emerges in the wake of a challenging time for social and group singing. Lengthy restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) greatly impacted group singing practices worldwide. Fears of contagion in group singing settings gave way to online videos of quarantined Italians singing on balconies, families singing together at home, virtual choirs and a host of other examples of people determined to overcome obstacles to join together in song (Jaber et al., 2021; Price et al., 2021). Singing together is an inherently social experience that can be a powerful unifier in the face of uncertainty and isolation. Several special issues on the impact of COVID-19 on music ensembles are underway, notably the International Journal for Community Music and the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy.


History

Publication

Health Promotion International, 2022 (37), Supplement_1, pp.i1–i3

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Sustainable development goals

  • (3) Good Health and Well-being

Department or School

  • Irish World Academy of Music & Dance

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