Resent research by the Dept of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University demonstrates that participating in corporate singing can act as an ice breaker which then promotes cohesion between folks previously unfamiliar to one another. The researchers found that by singing together, folks quickly developed feelings of affinity toward the group as a whole, without having to know the individual members of the group more intimately. Through group singing, these feelings toward the group helped accelerate the bonding relationships which then developed between individuals in the group.
Such an effect may overcome time constraints on the creation of individual relationships to allow large human groups to coordinate effectively and quickly. In this regard, it is interesting that religion, another potential mechanism for connecting large numbers of individuals, often incorporates singing or chanting in groups.
The research was published simultaneously with the announcement of the development of a new online search tool to be available to help folks in the British Isles find choral evensong services in their vicinity. The online tool – www.choralevensong.org – was developed by former Trinity College Cambridge scholar, Guy Hayward, PhD. Dr Hayward was awarded his doctoral degree based on his research into the community building brought about by group singing.
The search tool officially launches on 22 November, which is the feast day of St Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. A choral worship service will inaugurate the search tool’s availability online and will include the blessing of a laptop computer with a web browser opened onscreen!
Read more about the research and the search tool at www.anglicannews.org
Main image is from St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Evanston IL