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Singing for Health Conference - Thursday 7th June 2018

Singing for Health
A conference examining the benefits of singing to physical health 

Below are videos from the conference:

"Since singing is so good a thing, I wish all men would learn to sing."

So wrote William Byrd in the preface to the first great English songbook (Psalms, Sonnets and Songs) published in 1588. His eight reasons to "persuade everyone to learn to sing" were given over 400 years ago, and include benefits to health and wellbeing. Only in the last 20 years, however, has scientific research offered evidence to support his important ideas. OIn Thursday 7 June, we explored new insights provided by contemporary research into the health and wellbeing benefits of singing. This event was run in partnership between the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury Christchurch University, University of York, University of Kent and the National Centre for Early Music. 

Delegates described the day in the following words:

Event schedule:
09.30 Registration and networking
10.00 Welcome (Delma Tomlin & Stephen Clift)
10.15 Starting the day with singing! (Vivien Ellis)
10.30 Byrd, singing and health (Stephen Clift & Robert Hollingworth)
11.00 Performance: Byrd music for voice (Robert Hollingworth & The 24, University of York)
11.30 Singing, health and the heart (Stephen Clift & Rickard Åström)
12.30 Lunch and networking
13.30 Waking up after lunch! (Vivien Ellis)
13.45 Singing and the lungs (Stephen Clift & John Dickinson)
15.00 More singing! (Vivien Ellis & The 24, University of York)
15.30 Summing up (Stephen Clift)
16.00 Event end

Resource list:
A full list of the research referred to during the day can be downloaded here

Presenters' biographies:
Stephen Clift (BA, PhD, PFRSPH) is Professor of Health Education in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Canterbury Christ Church University; Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, and a Professorial Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). He has worked in the field of health promotion and public health for over twenty-five years, and his current interests relate to arts and health and particularly the potential value of group singing for health and wellbeing. The De Haan Research Centre was established in 2005 and since then has made original contributions to research on the value of singing for people with enduring mental health challenges and older people with chronic respiratory illness. The Centre conducted the first ever community-based randomised controlled trial on the value of singing for older people, with funding from the National Institute for Health Research. Stephen is one of the founding editors of the journal Arts & Health: an international journal for research, policy and practice. He was the founding Chair of the RSPH Special Interest Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing. He is also co-editor with Professor Paul Camic of the Oxford Public Health Textbook on Creative Arts, Health and Wellbeing published in November 2015.

Vivien Ellis is a Grammy-nominated singer specialising in early and folk music. She sings with The Carnival Band and her own duo Alva. Vivien leads free, drop-in singing & songwriting groups every Monday at The Dragon Café, a unique creative space in the crypt of St George the Martyr Church in the London Borough of Southwark, providing arts for mental wellbeing in a relaxed social setting. In 2013 her research on the impact of singing on mood at the Café resulted in a commission from Imperial College to design and deliver GP training in Arts for Health. Since then she has developed the training in conjunction with Professor Stephen Clift, as an Associate of The Sidney De Haan Centre, working with several groups of GP trainees and trainers.

Robert Hollingworth has spent 35 years directing vocal groups, notably I Fagiolini which he founded at university in 1986. The group's innovative productions include The Full Monteverdi (Lincoln Center, New York), Tallis in Wonderland, the South African collaboration Simunye, the contemporary circus piece How Like An Angel and the Gesualdo project Betrayal - a polyphonic crime drama. He has released 30 CDs and DVDs including the multi-award winning Striggio 40-part mass, 'Amuse-Bouche', 'Martin Peerson - Grave Chamber Music' and in 2017 'Monteverdi - The Other Vespers' which also featured York Music Department's choir, The 24. He writes for Radio 3 and joined the University of York Music Department in 2012.

Educated at the Music Conservatory in Gothenburg Sweden, musician and composer Rickard Åström has served as Musical Director, composer and pianist at the Gothenburg Opera, and received two Grammies with Groupa. Since 2010, Åström has been involved in research exploring our emotional and physiological reactions to music. His research team released a publication (Music structure determines heart rate variability of singers) about the synchronization of the heart rates of choir singers, featured in CNN, BBC, and Times Magazine. The research also led to the development the Music for Moods app, which shows how your heart reacts to music especially designed to relax. Rickard has lectured at RCM London, the University of Missouri, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, many Choir and Music festivals, Ted talks, and recently at the "Musicandthemind" symposium in Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

John Dickinson is currently a Reader within the School of Sport and Exercise Science and the Head of the Exercise and Respiratory Clinic which provides consultancy services to athletes with exercise respiratory issues. Through this clinic he has supported Olympic, professional and recreational athletes. He has conducted respiratory assessments on over 1,000 elite athletes, helping to overcome respiratory issues that have limited their performance. John's current research investigates 1) how to diagnose and treat exercise related respiratory issues, 2) ergogenic action of asthma medication in athletes with and 3) novel methods to measure breathing patterns in athletes and patients with respiratory disease. He has recently obtained funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency, British Council, Asthma UK and A2 Milk to support his research.