World renowned health experts will present overwhelming evidence that singing has a profound effect on health and wellbeing. Their findings could one day pave the way for 'singing on prescription.'

These leading authorities on music and health will present their research at a two-day conference to promote the positive impact of singing in a bid to encourage other healthcare professionals to recognise music as a crucial form of treatment.

The conference will particularly focus on how music has been used to support the ageing population (including those suffering with dementia); those with brain injuries; and mental health service users. The media are invited to attend and report on the event - which is a UK first.

The conference, entitled 'Music and Health: Current Developments in Research and Practice' has been organised by Canterbury Christ Church University's Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health in conjunction with the Royal Society for Public Health.

The conference will take place on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th September at the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, which is situated at the University Centre Folkestone, Mill Bay, Folkestone (full conference programme in notes to editors section).

Professor Stephen Clift, Head of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, said: "This conference aims to encourage the NHS to recognise the power of music as a crucial form of treatment and health promotion. We are delighted to welcome a wealth of experts from across the globe who will provide groundbreaking insights into the enormous value of music and singing on health and well being."

Richard Parish, the CEO of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: "The evidence shows that the contribution of arts and health is grossly underestimated by many healthcare professionals. The Royal Society for Public Health encourages all organisations involved in healthcare to invest in these evidence-based interventions. This conference will hopefully raise awareness about the health outcomes possible and, in particular, the contribution singing makes to health improvement."

Speaking on behalf of the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, the charitable organisation which has provided funding and support for this research project, Roger De Haan said: "The work of the Sidney De Haan Centre could provide some important pointers as to how we can use the arts to improve the quality of life right across our community. I am very pleased that my family Trust is continuing to support the research that is taking place and I hope that this conference will help to generate much greater awareness of the potential benefits of involvement with the arts."

Keynote speaker, Professor Gene Cohen, of the Centre of Aging, Health and Humanities at George Washington University, will explore the positive impact of singing in later life. Professor Cohen said: "An active engagement with music can be good for an older person's overall physical and mental health. I will particularly focus on the positive effects of singing on the mind and the immune system, and how music and art can have positive influences on the course of illness with aging."

Ann Sutton, Chief Executive of Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust (PCT), the organisation that funds healthcare and strives to improve lives for local people, said: "I believe singing for health brings huge benefits to certain people. Last spring, the PCT held a health and well being event in Folkestone. A singing workshop engaged participants for a fun filled half hour that made everyone feel great afterwards, I have never seen such a gathering of smiling faces. The PCT is committed to supporting this Sidney De Haan research programme and I wish the conference every success."


Music and Health: Current Developments in Research and Practice

Conference aims:

To provide an overview of current developments in research and practice in the field of music and health, with particular reference to:

- Music in health and social care settings;
- Music in public health promotion and community development;
- The role and value of established community music activity for wellbeing and health.

Papers and workshops

Tuesday 9 September

Music and Singing as Therapy and Care
Music, Wellbeing and Health Singing, Wellbeing and Health
11.30 - 13.30 Dr Norman Alm and Philippa Riley
Music composition and people with dementia*

Dr Liz Johnson and Maggie Banks
Using the Soundbeam in Stratford Care Homes

Mariko Hara
Rethinking music therapy practice for the elderly in Japan

Trish Vella-Burrows
The role of staff in making music in residential care settings* Prof. Norma Daykin
Discourses of creativity and responses to music making in two different settings: findings from qualitative research

Susan J. S. Trythall
Music in Hospitals: concert or therapy? A case study of blurred boundaries*

Dr Kari Bjerke Batt-Rawden
Findings from a participatory music CD project*

Prof. Gunter Kreutz
Psycho-physiological feedback of singing in groups: A window on the evolution of music? Prof. Jane Davidson
The proxemics of singing: understanding the singing and health link

Dr. Terrence Hays
Beyond the Score: The Australian National Seniors' Choral Festival

Prof. Donald E. Stewart and Dr. Jing Sun
Choral singing and wellbeing: Findings from a survey of Australian choirs*

Prof. Mary Cohen
A safe haven in prison: Empowerment through choral singing

14.30 - 15.10 Participatory music and singing workshops

Chrissie Parsons-West - Sing Your Heart Out

Matthew Raisbeck and Stuart Brown - Sing For Your Life

15.20 - 16.00 Principles and practice in music therapy

Prof. Donna Chadwick - New directions in music and health care: 'The Advance Music Directive'

Prof. Karen D. Goodman - Critical and integrative thinking strategy for students of music therapy

Sarah Wilson - Community music therapy for people with long-term mental health needs*

16.30 - 18.00 Tracy Morefield
Findings from an evaluation of the 'Sing Your Heart Out' project

Alison Kamsika
Music therapy and learning disabilities*

Iain Spink
Music therapy in a drug and alcohol misuse service*
Harris N, Leveritt M, Stewart A, and Stewart D
The benefits of a participatory music/dance with young people

Jenevora Williams
The English cathedral chorister, vocal health and development: one boy's journey

Dr. Ava Numminen
Teaching poor pitch singers to sing
Prof. Jukka Louhivuori
Choir singing enhancing social capital and subjective feeling of wellbeing - A cross-cultural approach

Dr. Maria Sandgren and Dr. Elisabeth Borg
Exploring the well-being effects of choral singing: What is felt and by whom

Karen Mackenzie
Music and singing in families with young children: Findings from the MusicStart project

Wednesday 10 September

Music and Singing as Therapy and Care
Music, Wellbeing and Health Singing, Wellbeing and Health
11.30 - 13.30 Wendy L. Magee
Sing for Joy: making the best of chronic and degenerative illnesses
through voice work and becoming part of a new singing community

Annette Rolls and Sue Wright
Introducing the Moor Green Singers: Evaluation of a singing group for adults with acquired brain injury

Christina Grape
A comparison between choir singing and group discussion with IBS patients over one year
Metaxia Pavlakou
An evaluation of group singing with eating disorders patients*
Prof. Jane Davidson and Dr. Robert Faulkner
The impact of music community activities on undergraduate music students' perceptions and values relating to music and health

Dr. Jane Ginsborg, Prof. Gunter Kreutz, Mike Thomas and Prof. Aaron Williamon
Music students and health promoting behaviours*

Dr. Suvi Saarikallio
Adolescent wellbeing and emotional self-regulation through music
Prof. Andre de Quadros
Music in community: An instrument of community health in India Dr. Jing Sun and Prof. Donald Stewart
Pathways from choral singing to psychological, physical, social and environmental domains of health

Prof. Töres Theorell
Possible mechanisms behind health promoting effects of singing

Ken Scott
Modelling the costs and benefits of singing groups for older people

Dr. Robert Faulkner
Subjective task value and wellbeing in group singing in Australia and Iceland
Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health is part of Canterbury Christ Church University and is situated at the University Centre Folkestone. The primary aim of the Research Centre is to promote the value of music and the arts for the wellbeing and health of individuals and communities.

Established in 2004, with funding from the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, the Centre is located in the rapidly developing Creative Quarter in Folkestone, Kent. It is a joint initiative of the faculties of Health and Social Care, and Arts and Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University.

During the first year of its operation, the Centre worked with Making Music South East to established a number of Silver Song Clubs in East Kent, enabling musicians and volunteers to come together with groups of elderly people to participate in singing and music making.

Following the successful launch of the Silver Songs Clubs project, an independent charitable company was established - Sing For Your Life - to undertake the management and development of this initiative. There are now clubs operating in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire. The aim is to have a network of Silver Songs Clubs operating across the South East of England.

Canterbury Christ Church University