Health – The Health Benefits of Singing

Many studies done over a number of years have focused on the health benefits of singing, and the evidence is overwhelming: singing is good for you.

Singing strengthens the health, broadens the mind, refines the intellect, expands the imagination, makes one happy and gives life a little added zest.

Singing boosts the immune system by causing the body to generate immunoglobin A, a protein considered a first line of defense against respiratory infections. It also increases the production of hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone.

Singing releases endorphins into your system and makes you feel uplifted and energized. People who sing are frequently healthier than people who don’t.

Singing gives the lungs a workout. It makes us breathe more deeply than many other forms of strenuous exercise. We take in more oxygen and in turn, our aerobic capacity is improved and we can experience a release of muscle tension.

All of these things—a more robust immune system, a happier mood, stronger lungs, reduced stress and improved circulation—can help prolong life.

And, singing is free. Nearly everyone has the ability, if not perfect tone, to sing for their entire lifetime. Greg Cohen of George Washington University tracked a Senior Singers Chorale in Arlington, Virginia. The chorale singers’ average age is 80—the youngest is 65 and the oldest 96. Preliminary data shows the singers suffer less depression, make fewer doctor visits a year, take fewer medications and have increased their other activities. So singing can provide an inexpensive, easily accessible and powerful way to improve physiological and psychological well-being.

Singing starts in infancy. Babies are known to sing to themselves in moments of absolute emotional tranquility. Like the infant, we sing to ourselves because we feel good. We often find ourselves humming along with a tune or singing in the car or the shower which, in turn, makes us feel even better.

Preschool and kindergarten teachers have found that children learn best through singing, and for a long time, have used music to help children learn and remember material. Music is used to engage the children in activities that are associated with the songs they are singing. Music, including singing, also helps to strengthen math skills.

In music therapy, certain sounds benefit particular parts of the body. For example:

  • Singing the short-a sound, as in ahh, will help banish the blues. It forces oxygen into the blood, which signals the brain to release mood-lifting endorphins.
  • To boost alertness, make the long-e sound, as in emit. It stimulates the pineal gland, which controls the body’s biological clock.
  • Singing the short-e sound, as in echo, stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones that control the speed of digestion and other bodily processes.
  • Singing the long-o sound, as in ocean, stimulates the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.
  • To strengthen immunity, sing the double-o sound, as in too. This activates the spleen, which regulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells.

So, think about this: when a choir does vocal exercises that include ahh, a, e, o and oo, they are not only developing flexibility and helping to control pitch and tone—which is the purpose of vocalizing—they have just made themselves happy, given themselves a boost of energy, helped to regulate their blood sugar and have strengthened their immune system. This is one of the reasons why choral singers look to be in a state of euphoric happiness when they sing.

So, to summarize here are a few of the health benefits gained from singing:

  • improves mood
  • effective stress reliever
  • improves sleep
  • releases pain-relieving endorphins
  • improves posture
  • increases lung capacity
  • clears the sinuses and respiratory tubes
  • tones your facial and stomach muscles
  • tones abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm
  • stimulates circulation

And in addition, a few of the emotional and psychological benefits are:

  • strengthens concentration and memory
  • broadens expressive communication
  • adds a rich, more pleasant quality to speech
  • stimulates insight into prose and poetry and piques interest in the deeper meaning of words
  • is an ageless enjoyment—you are never too young or too old
  • is therapeutic
  • improves mental alertness
  • increases poise and presentation skills
  • increases confidence

And the best part is, you don’t have to be a world-class singer to enjoy all of these benefits. Singing enriches the life far beyond notes and music. Add a healthy, new dimension to your life—SING!

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

Singing with grace in our hearts to God hymns, scripture songs and uplifting songs of worship are ways we can let the word dwell in us richly. At such times when words alone aren’t enough to convey the depth of our thankfulness or praise to the Lord, singing helps open our heart to Him in a way that words may be difficult to express. So let us sing for health and praise to our God!

“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all people. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised.” Psalm 96:1–4, first part

Adapted from the following sources: Professor Graham Welch, Director of Educational Research, University of Surrey, Roehampton, UK; Jovita Wallace, Sound Therapist;; Patty Mills, American Academy of Teachers of Singing

Bible Study Guides – Singing to the Glory of God

December 22, 2013 – December 28, 2013

Key Text

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 506, 509, 510.


“Let there be singing in the home, of songs that are sweet and pure, and there will be fewer words of censure and more of cheerfulness and hope and joy.” Education, 168.


  • What power is inherent in Christian song, and how was it used in Bible history to the believer’s advantage? Exodus 15:1, 2, 11; II Chronicles 20:21, 22.

Note: “As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life.” Education, 167.

  • Why were important Bible passages arranged to music and sung by the Israelites? Deuteronomy 31:19.
  • What effect did this type of music have on their characters? Proverbs 22:6.

Note: “Moses directed the Israelites to set the words of the law to music. While the older children played on instruments, the younger ones marched, singing in concert the song of God’s commandments. In later years they retained in their minds the words of the law which they learned during childhood.” Evangelism, 499, 500.


  • How did “Israel’s sweet singer” express genuine repentance for his sin? Psalm 51:1–8. What effect did this song have on his people?

Note: “The fifty-first psalm is an expression of David’s repentance, when the message of reproof came to him from God: ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions’ (Psalm 51:1). …

“Thus in a sacred song to be sung in the public assemblies of his people, in the presence of the court—priests and judges, princes and men of war—and which would preserve to the latest generation the knowledge of his fall, the king of Israel recounted his sin, his repentance, and his hope of pardon through the mercy of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 724, 725.

  • How effective was song in softening the heart of king Saul? I Samuel 16:15, 16, 23.
  • How did Christ use song as a source of strength in an hour of temptation? Mark 14:26.

Note: “With a song, Jesus in His earthly life met temptation. Often when sharp, stinging words were spoken, often when the atmosphere about Him was heavy with gloom, with dissatisfaction, distrust, or oppressive fear, was heard His song of faith and holy cheer.” Education, 166.

“He [Jesus] held communion with heaven in song; and as His companions complained of weariness from labor, they were cheered by the sweet melody from His lips. His praise seemed to banish the evil angels, and, like incense, fill the place with fragrance.” The Desire of Ages, 73.

“I saw we must be daily rising, and keep the ascendancy above the powers of darkness. Our God is mighty. I saw singing to the glory of God often drove [off] the enemy, and praising God would beat him back and give us the victory.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 409, 410.


  • What elements are needed to make our singing a blessing to human and heavenly ears? Ephesians 5:19. Why? II Corinthians 4:15.

Note: “It is not loud singing that is needed, but clear intonation, correct pronunciation, and distinct utterance. Let all take time to cultivate the voice so that God’s praise can be sung in clear, soft tones, not with harshness and shrillness that offend the ear. The ability to sing is the gift of God; let it be used to His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 144.

“There are few means more effective for fixing His [God’s] words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.

“It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God’s—the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song—and temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!” Education, 167, 168.

  • Why should not musical items and other aesthetics take pre-eminence in our worship service? Ezekiel 33:32. How are golden moments sometimes wasted during camp meetings?

Note: “In some instances much time was devoted to singing [at camp meetings]. There was a long hymn before prayer, a long hymn after prayer, and much singing interspersed all through the meeting. Thus golden moments were used unwisely, and not one-half the good was done that might have been realized had these precious seasons been properly managed.” Evangelism, 511.


  • What type of music was used by the Israelites when they decided to go back to Egypt? Exodus 32:17–19. What music will be performed in many churches just before the close of probation, and what type of adverse effect will it have upon the people?

Note: “The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 36.

“The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with such a confusion of noise and multitude of sounds as passed before me last January. Satan works amid the din and confusion of such music, which, properly conducted, would be a praise and glory to God. He makes its effect like the poison sting of the serpent.” Ibid., 37.

  • How does God warn us all, and the youth especially, against endangering our Christian experience by listening to and/or singing songs which heaven does not approve? Ezekiel 26:13; Amos 8:10–13.

Note: “I was shown that the youth must take a higher stand and make the word of God the man of their counsel and their guide. Solemn responsibilities rest upon the young, which they lightly regard. The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 497.


  • How is the angelic choir intimately connected with us on earth? Hebrews 1:14; 12:22.
  • Describe the music and the musicians in heaven, and the way they can inspire our anthems of praise. Luke 2:13, 14; I Corinthians 14:40; Revelation 5:11–13.

Note: “I have been shown the order, the perfect order, of heaven, and have been enraptured as I listened to the perfect music there. After coming out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant. I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, everyone having a harp of gold. … It cannot be described. It is melody, heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beams the image of Jesus, shining with glory unspeakable.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 146.

  • Describe the experience of the redeemed who will be singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 7:14, 15; 15:2, 3. How can we daily prepare to sing that song that has never been sung in heaven before?

Note: “Those who in heaven join with the angelic choir in their anthem of praise must learn on earth the song of heaven, the keynote of which is thanksgiving.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 244.


1 What are the potent benefits of Christian song?

2 When is it especially helpful for us to sing praises to God?

3 What factors are important in planning music for worship services?

4 How can we keep prayer and the study of God’s word above music?

5 How does our daily speech affect our preparation to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb?

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Children’s Story – Saved from a Panther

Did you know that some wild beasts will not attack a person who is singing? That is really a fact, as you will find by reading this true story. The story tells how God heard the prayer of two little girls, and protected them from a panther when they were walking home through the woods one evening in Pennsylvania.

Near the summit of a mountain in Pennsylvania was a small place called Honeyville. It consisted of two log houses, two shanties, a rickety old barn, and a small shed, surrounded by a few acres of cleared land. In one of these houses lived a family of seven—father, mother, three boys, and two girls. The mother and her two little girls, Nina and Dot, were Christians, and their voices were often lifted in praise to God as they sang from an old hymn book which they dearly loved.

One morning in the late autumn, the mother sent Nina and Dot on an errand to their sister’s home three and one-half miles away. The first two miles took them through dense woods, while the rest of the way led past houses and through small clearings. She told them to start on their return home in time to arrive before dark, as many wild beasts—bears, catamounts [mountain lions/cougars], and sometimes even panthers—were prowling around. These animals were hungry at this time of the year, for they were getting ready to “hole up,” or lie down in some cozy cave or hole for their long winter’s nap.

The girls started off, merrily chasing each other along the way. They arrived at their sister’s in good time, and had a jolly romp with the baby. After dinner, the sister was so busy and the children were so happy in their play that the time passed unheeded until the clock struck four. Then the girls hurriedly started for home, in the hope that they might arrive there before it became very dark. The older sister watched until they disappeared up the road, anxiously wishing someone were there to go with them.

The girls made good time until they entered the long stretch of woods.

“Oh, I know where there is such a large patch of wintergreen berries, right by the road!” said Nina. “Let’s pick some for mamma.” So they climbed over a few stones and logs, and, sure enough, the berries were plentiful. They picked and talked, sometimes playing hide and seek among the bushes.

When they started on again, the sun was sinking low in the west, and the trees were casting long, heavy shadows over the road. When about half the distance was covered, Dot began to feel tired and afraid. Nina tried to cheer her.

“Over one more long hill, and we shall be home,” she said.

But now they could see the sun shining only on the tops of the trees on the hill, and in the woods it was already twilight. …

Suddenly a large panther stepped out of the bushes. He turned his head first one way and then another. Then, as if seeing the girls for the first time, he crouched down, and, crawling, sneaking along, like a cat after a bird, he moved toward them. The girls stopped and looked at each other. Then Dot began to cry.

“O Nina! Let’s run!” she said, in a half-smothered whisper.

But Nina thought of the long, dark, lonely road behind, and knew that running was useless. Then she thought of what she had heard her father say about showing fear.

“No, let’s pass it,” she said as she seized her little sister’s hand, “God will help us.” And she started up the road toward the panther.

When the children moved, the panther stopped, straightened himself up, then crouching again, he moved slowly, uneasily, toward them. When they had nearly reached him, and Nina, who was nearer, saw his body almost rising for the spring, there flashed through her mind the memory of hearing it said that a wild beast would not attack anyone who was singing. What should she sing? In vain she tried to recall some song. Her mind seemed a blank. In despair, she looked up and breathed a little prayer for help. Then she caught a glimpse of the last rays of the setting sun touching the tops of the trees on the hill, and she began to sing:

“There is sunlight on the hilltop,
There is sunlight on the sea.”

Her sister joined in. At last their voices were faint and trembling, but by the time the children were opposite the panther, the words of the song rang out sweet and clear on the evening air.

The panther stopped, and straightened himself to his full height. His tail, which had been lashing and switching, became quiet, as he seemed to listen. The girls passed on, hand in hand, never looking behind them.

“Oh, the sunlight! beautiful sunlight!
Oh, the sunlight in the heart!”

How sweet the words sounded as they echoed and reechoed through the woods. As the children neared the top of the hill, the rumbling of a wagon fell upon their ears, so they knew that help was near. But still they sang. When they had reached the top, there was the wagon. Then for the first time they turned and looked back just in time to catch a last glimpse of the panther as he disappeared into the woods.

The mother had looked often and anxiously down the road, and each time was disappointed in not seeing the children coming. Finally she could wait no longer, and started to meet them. When about halfway there, she heard the music:

“Oh, the sunlight! beautiful sunlight!
Oh, the sunlight in the heart!
Jesus’ smile can banish sadness;
It is sunlight in the heart.”

At first, a happy smile of relief passed over her face; but it faded as she listened. There was such an unearthly sweetness in the song, so strong and clear, that it seemed like the music of angels instead of her own little girls. The song stopped, and the children appeared over the hill. She saw their white faces, and hurried toward them. When they saw her, how their little feet flew! But it was some time before they could tell her what had happened.

What a joyful season of worship they had that night! and what a meaning that dear old hymn has had to them ever since!

The memory of that thrilling experience will never fade from the memory of the writer, who was one of the children.

True Education Reader, Fourth Grade, Nina Case Baierle (adapted), 281–286.