“Heartbeats synchronise when a group sings together, bringing about a calming effect.”

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Photo credit – Ursula Kelly @studiosoftbox

I found this fabulous fact and wondered how this works. Sound amazing doesn’t it!? Music can have an impact on our heart rate so when we sing together, it’s noted that our heart rates alter their tempo in unison together as we sing. “Singing regulates activity in the so-called vagus nerve which is involved in our emotional life and our communication with others and which, for example, affects our vocal timbre. Songs with long phrases achieve the same effect as breathing exercises in yoga. In other words, through song we can exercise a certain control over mental states,” explains Björn Vickhoff. This has the capacity to create a calm mental state.

He goes on to explain the phenomenon of ‘collective will’. That when we are all engaged, as a group, with the same task in mind, we almost become one. Think of the impact singing has in a church setting, in football stadiums and at school assemblies. There is an enormous sense of well-being and a collective feeling of joy. I have only once attended a football match and was fascinated by the singing – loads of people, all together with that common goal (I missed the goal that day – to busy listening to the songs!) The sound produced seemed to only be the tip of the iceberg – it was the collective feeling of joy that was most evident.

But back to the calming effect of this heart synchronicity. I often wonder how to finish my choir sessions, my workshops and even gigs. I alway tend to finish on a high – a great song to send everyone on their way with a smile on their face and a tune in their head. But I am wondering that is this the right way to go about ending regular community choir rehearsals? I go home on a total high and it takes around 2 hours for me to ‘peel myself from the ceiling’. I know other choir members are having the same trouble! If this effect of synchronising heart beats is real, then if I end the session with something calm, smooth and soothing, will we all have a joint feeling of calm?

I think this idea of synchronicity perhaps explains why groups of people singing are so happy – they feel connected to each other. I’m a great advocate of the whole “we’re in this together” attitude whenever we sing. Imagine what this could do if introduced to work places. In a busy working environment, the time to switch off, calm down a bit and participate in something joyful and relatively inexpensive could provide the key to a happier and more productive work place.

 

The full article about this can be found here. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00334/full

 

 

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