You may have noticed a proliferation of group sing-alongs by people who are under strict stay at home orders all over the world. We see entire communities of people are singing on their balconies or through open windows. We hear about online music sessions with people who know or don’t know each other. These gatherings are more than ways to entertain, post on social media or pass the time.
According to Neuroscience News, the highly developed social nature of human beings is driving this need to join others in song. Singing with others can activate oxytocin pathways which, among other things, provides a sense of safety.
Ocytocin is a brain hormone linked to the way humans socialize with one another. It’s released when people are synchronized and face-to-face. In a lockdown, like the one we’re now experiencing, singing plays an important role in making needed connections – no matter what type of music you’re singing or playing together.
Because the social part of our brains appears to be so highly developed, we crave this kind of connection – particularly during a crisis.
For many, singing with others is more satisfying and healing than phone calls or video chats. Many evolutionary theories about the origin of music emphasize its social role and its ability to strengthen group cohesion and signal shared values.
Music is part of the very essence of humanity because it creates needed social bonding. From lullabies sung to an infant, to mass online jam sessions, experiencing music with others can help us maintain our sanity, hope and empathy toward one another, especially during times of isolation like this one.