Sing! Making Music is Beneficial for Brain Health, Studies Find
For many individuals, singing is one life’s greatest pleasures. But it also has been associated with boosting one’s long-term memory and supporting cognitive health in later years.
In fact, “join a choir” may be one suggestion pharmacists consider offering their customers who inquire about ways to maintain brain health. Such advice applies equally to customers’ children and grandchildren.
Group singing appears to impart a range of health and well being benefits, according to emerging research. These include reduction of stress, an increase in a sense of happiness, and stimulation of cognitive capacities, such as attention, concentration, memory and learning.
Music training in general has also been linked with significantly better verbal learning and retention abilities, according to research on how music affects intellectual development of children and young adults. The longer the duration of music training the better the verbal memory.
The benefits of early music training can last a lifetime. Adults who received music training before the age of 12 have a better memory for spoken words than those who did not, according to one study on how music training improves verbal memory.
Other researchers have found that singing may induce significant physiological benefits, such as decreased cortisol levels and improved immune response.
Other Social Activities May Offer Similar Benefits
But what if you can’t carry a tune? Data suggests the well being effect of choral singing may be derived from the membership of a cohesive social group. Engaging in social activities where you are able to develop a sense of accomplishment or competence may be sufficient to increase your emotional well-being.
Restrictions on group singing during the Covid-19 pandemic, in fact, might necessitate finding alternative social activities.
Cognitive benefits can be found in various socially stimulating activities, such as engagement with family members, contacts with friends, participating in community groups, and paid work.
Several large studies have suggested an association between socialization and better cognitive outcomes with age. While the mechanism for the improvement is unknown, social activities involving reasoning, memory, and speed of processing appear to be most effective.