Singing for health
I’m very interested in the research linking singing and health. I feel privileged to have been working with two amazing organisations, Live Music Now (since 2004) and Breathe Arts and Health Research (since 2011). Through LMN, I’ve been providing live music performances and singing workshops in different community settings such as schools for special needs, homes for the elderly, hospices and day care centres. I currently work for LMN as a trainer and mentor. BAHR provides performances at wards and outpatient areas in Guys and St Thomas Hospital. I’m starting work for the Sydney De Haan Institute, providing singing workshops for patients with COPD. In the area of mental health, I have also worked with the Harrow Community Choir (sufferers from diverse mental health conditions), the Choir With No Name (homeless people) and The Forum (refugees).
Outreach and Training
Collective music-making is an activity that involves the whole person, co-ordinating the brain, the body and the emotions. It challenges and develops the intellect, is physically stretching and is often the most powerful stimulus for creativity. Singing together makes you move, breathe, think and feel!
A singing workshop can be a quick icebreaker or an uplifting, fun team-building exercise.
Anyone can join regardless of their musical or vocal abilities and previous history. My aim is to help create a good ‘container’ – a relaxed, safe environment for participants to develop skills while having fun. Good breathing, posture and healthy use of the voice are essential tools for improving everybody’s confidence, ability to interact with others and presentation skills.
As barriers break and self-consciousness dissipates, new ways of relating emerge, and with them a sense of exhilaration and empowerment.
Benefits include improved communication and teamwork, a sense of collective achievement and increased vitality through the release of tensions. Singing can also be a great creativity booster and leveler.
Singing in the Workplace
I have facilitated numerous singing workshops and ice-breaking activities for large numbers of amateur singers, in the context of a teambuilding event (DIAGEO), a national conference of a voluntary sector organisation (HomeStart UK) and for a professional body (the British Psychological Society). The attendees’ feedback suggested great improvement in confidence levels, general wellbeing and group cohesion.
A singing workshop is an ideal way of bringing people together and increasing the individual’s awareness and self- confidence in a group setting. Team-building and stress relief are the main benefits, apart from enhancing listening skills, creativity and communication.
Workshops bring a sense of collective achievement and increased vitality through the release of tensions. Singing is also a great leveler as it allows participants to express themselves together regardless of hierarchy. Making music with other people involves engaging with them to a degree which is uncommon in everyday life.... it builds on strengths but also stretches boundaries and challenges preconceptions of self and of others.
Breath-work and gentle stretches, vocal exercises and games as a buildup to collective song are the tools utilized. As barriers break and self-consciousness dissipates, new ways of relating emerge, and with them a sense of exhilaration and empowerment.
Workshops provide a relaxed, safe environment for participants to have fun while developing skills regardless of their musical or vocal abilities and previous history. Good breathing, posture and healthy use of the voice are energizing, relaxing and empowering. They are essential tools for developing leadership, the ability to interact with others and presentation skills.