Singing at Five Valleys Music Centre

Singing’s secret power: The Ice-breaker Effect

A new research study by the University of Oxford, published in the Royal Society’s Open Science journal, has provided the first evidence for an ‘ice-breaker effect’ of singing in bringing strangers closer together.

The research was led by Dr Eiluned Pearce, from Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology. The seven-month study followed participants in weekly singing and non-singing (crafts or creative writing) adult education classes, organised by the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education. Attendees were given surveys before and after individual sessions in the first month, in the third month and at the end of the seven-month course. They were asked to rate how close they felt to their classmates.

According to Dr Pearce, ‘We had expected the singing classes to feel closer to each other than the other classes at the end of the seven months. However, we found something different. For every class, people felt closer to each other at the end of each two-hour session than they did at the start. At the end of the seven months, all the classes were reporting similar levels of closeness.

‘The difference between the singers and the non-singers appeared right at the start of the study. In the first month, people in the singing classes became much closer to each other over the course of a single class than those in the other classes did. Singing broke the ice better than the other activities, getting the group together faster by giving a boost to how close classmates felt towards each other right at the start of the course.’

SOURCES:
University of Oxford: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2015-10-28-singing%E2%80%99s-secret-power-ice-breaker-effect-1
The Royal Society: http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/10/150221
MusicStage: http://musicstage.co/Musicstage-GB/731aedfc428941be94d8fc7222fe64dd-Oxford-University-research-shows-singing-as-social-ice-breaker/WebViewer

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: SOCIAL BONDING
TARGET GROUP: ADULTS
AGE: 18-83 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: SINGING
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 135
PERIOD OF STUDY: 7 MONTHS
DATE: 2015
PLACE: UK

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