From October 2020 - April of 2021 researchers at UL contacted 2,736 stakeholders with links to singing for health and wellbeing, collecting data on singing groups and choirs across the country. The results, presented here, form a national and international public resource for singers, referrers, policymakers, carers, and other stakeholders invested in singing for health and wellbeing. Several gaps in provision have been identified and it is hoped that data contained here will encourage more people to try singing for health and wellbeing, provide compelling evidence for investment in new services and encourage stakeholders to establish groups in areas of low provision.
The evidence to date supports singing for health and wellbeing as a
potentially cost-effective intervention, including increased feelings of
social connection and enhanced memory and coping skills for individuals
with dementia and their carers; positive experiences of group singing
for individuals with cancer; respiratory wellbeing for people with
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and improvements in vocal
quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Social,
psychological, and physical benefits are documented for the general
public, homeless and marginalized individuals, adults with a chronic
mental health condition and/or an intellectual or physical disability,
and staff workplace choirs. While there is a growing body of evidence
around the health and wellbeing benefits of group singing, there is a
paucity of national maps of this nature. This resource is the first-ever
national mapping of group singing for health and wellbeing in the ROI
and one of few internationally. It serves as a roadmap for people
wishing to sing for their health, establish or improve service
provision, and network with others. We hope that this map encourages
high-quality practice and investment as well as providing a useful
resource for all living in Ireland.
Dr Hilary Moss, Senior Lecturer of Music Therapy, Chair of the Arts and Health Research Network, University of Limerick.