Press Release

12 September 2014

The Sidney De Haan Centre for Arts and Health has just held its most recent Symposium: Recent Advances in the Science of Singing, Wellbeing and Health, in partnership with the Royal College of Music and attended by over 200 people.

The Symposium, that took place at the Royal College on Wednesday 10 September, was opened by American composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre, who talked about the impact that choral music has had on his life.

Eric Whitacre opening the Symposium
Eric Whitacre opening the Symposium

Professor Stephen Clift, Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “The Symposium, organised jointly with Prof. Aaron Williamon at the Royal College of Music was a huge success.

“We brought together some of the internationally leading researchers in the field and discussed ways in which this area of research could advance to further support the establishment of singing on prescription for health and wellbeing benefits. This was a major landmark event for the Sidney De Haan Research Centre and the developing field of music and wellbeing.”

The Choir with No Name performing
The Choir with No Name performing

During the Symposium, music was performed by the Choir with No Name, a singing group for homeless people living in South London, as well as participants from ‘singing for breathing’ groups across the UK.

Rickard Åström, musician and composer from Sweden, explored the neuro-physiological, endocrine and pulmonary-cardiac mechanisms stimulated by group singing. This included exploring the rhythm of each individual’s heart beat and the idea that in group singing heart beats synchronise with each other, creating a bond between the individuals taking part. A selection of the choir members were wired up for a live demonstration of what happens to people’s heart rhythms when they sing together.

The Symposium also allowed findings from recent scientific research on the benefits of group singing on individuals for their health or wellbeing to be presented. Some of the research areas included; singing in work settings and singing for people affected by respiratory illness, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 30/06/2016 07:55:00