Singing for a Better Life: Choral Singing and Public Health

  • Anne Haugland Balsnes


How can choral singing promote public health? This question is discussed on the basis of choir members’ stories about choral singing drawn from various qualitative studies where participant observation and qualitative research interviews were used as collection techniques. The selected “cases” are very different; the singers in question have varied backgrounds and current life situations, and the choirs they sing with are quite different with regard to purpose, level, repertoire and methods. Nevertheless, the singers explain that participation in choral singing has contributed to bettering their lives and thus improving their health. Their stories are analysed on the basis of questions such as: What is the meaning of the singing for the participants? What is it with choral singing that allows for a beneficial impact connected to health? What conditions must be present? And what characterises the benefits that choral singing provides? The main objective of the article is to discuss how choral singing can be a resource in public health work. Theoretical perspectives from music therapy and sociology of music will illuminate the discussion, especially Ruud’s categories concerning the relationship between music and quality of life and Stige’s concept of health musicking.


Choral singing Public health Health musicking 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ansgar University CollegeKristiansandNorway

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