The Science of the Workplace Choir

Helen Astrid and the LBRuT choir
Photo appears by kind permission from LBRuT

Neurosurgeons use music to enhance concentration and armies use music to coordinate movements and increase cooperation. Athletes use music to increase stamina and motivation, while workers use music to improve attention and vigilance. It’s no surprise that singing is now being used in the workplace to increase health and well-being. This dramatically improves work output and physical and mental health.


In May 2016, Growing the Health and Well-Being Agenda from CIPD, outlined how the importance of employee health and well-being has risen sharply over the last 10 years. The steady increase in government-led initiatives has been accompanied by a growth in well-being practices. Many employers address the psychosocial, as well as the physical, aspects of working life.


We are a catalyst for connecting work colleagues


Together with Dr Gillian Tomlinson, MBChB, BSc, MRCP(UK), PhD, Honorary Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at University College London, we’ve come up with an answer. Integrate singing into the working week.


During the last 15 years facilitating singing workshops for organisations, I’ve had opportunities to trial many songs and styles. I’ve collated a wide database of song arrangements and choral pieces all with particular harmonic, melodic and rhythmic features. Each one specifically targets cognitive function. These in turn, improve co-ordination skills, listening abilities, our memory, productivity, collaboration skills, boosts our immune system, facilitates our language learning and significantly improves mood and general well-being. I like to think we’re a catalyst for connecting work colleagues. It’s so exciting and ground-breaking!


One way companies have addressed these issues is to introduce workplace choirs


These are weekly choirs taking place during lunchtime or after work. They are usually held close to the work premises say in a nearby hall or church. The choir should be open to all staff and no experience or ability to read music required.



A recent example is the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames workplace choir which I led. Hear us above singing the classic Lean on Me by Bill Withers. In just 12 weeks they gave two performances and learned 25 songs. There was an increase in wellbeing and renewed focus in the office. This strengthens working relationships and benefits personal lives.


Bringing people together during uncertain times such as mergers, re-structures and re-organisations is vital. It also helps address universal anxieties relating to political issues such as the recent referendum.


With special thanks and appreciation to Dr Gillian Sales, Department of Anatomy at Kings College, London. Her ongoing contribution and expertise in sourcing relevant research materials is invaluable.


For more information, do get in touch here

Posted in Our Reflections.

Helen Astrid

Helen trained at The Royal Academy of Music before achieving a highly successful career as an opera singer. Her wealth of knowledge and experience enables her to offer outstanding facilitation to organisations seeking to transform their staff