Joining a choir is not only a great way to practice singing in a fun social setting. Research at the University of California has found that it might make you healthier.

Immunoglobulin A is a protein used by the immune system to fight disease. Researchers measured the amount of immunoglobulin A in the saliva of choir members before and after rehearsals. They found an increase of 150% after choir rehearsals and a whopping 240% increase after performances. The boost seemed to be related to the singers states of mind.

“The more passionate you feel while singing, the greater the effect.” said education professor Robert Beck who coauthored the study with Thomas Cesario dean of the universities’ College of Medicine. The study was published in 2001 in the scientific journal Music Perception.

This may come as no surprise if you are already a member of a choir. Many choir members myself as conductor included have talked about good we feel after a rehearsal and/or concert. How the cares of the day seem to disappear.

Professor Beck said. “Basically we made three findings. One is that the immune system rises from a baseline level after extended amounts of singing. The second is that this is heightened during a performance. The third is that the more passionate you feel, the more this effect is heightened.” The effect was present in virtually all members, who were seasoned choristers.

At the time of this study they hadn’t tested shower singers but who knows?

Bottom line – sing! It’s good for you

- From Montreal Gazette Mar 21, 2001


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