Press Release

29 January 2013

Findings from a first large scale study into the value of group singing for people with lung disease have been published.

Members of the COPD singing groups in Kent
Members of the COPD singing groups in Kent

The research was undertaken by Canterbury Christ church University’s Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, following a grant of £130,000 from The Dunhill Medical Trust.

Key findings from the ten month study include evidence of significant improvement in measures of lung function and health related quality of life for participants in the singing groups, as well as social, psychological and physical health benefits from taking part. The report also recommends singing groups as a cost-effective health promotion strategy for people with chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD).

Professor Stephen Clift, Research Director for the Centre, said: “Our project was the first large scale study in the community to test these ideas scientifically and we are very grateful to The Dunhill Medical Trust for the funding to make this study possible, and for the support we have received from NHS professionals in Kent.

“The evidence from this study shows that regular group singing can be beneficial for people with breathing difficulties, improving their lung function and breath control, as well as reaping the social benefits and enjoying peer support. The more regularly participants attended the singing groups, the more their health and wellbeing improved, with the participants wanting the groups to continue.

“We feel that group singing is a cost-effective health promotion strategy for people with COPD.”

Along with the help of Kent NHS professionals and GPs, the research centre recruited people with COPD to take part in the study. Over 100 people were recruited to take part in singing groups, with the aim of assessing the effects on older people with COPD, measuring breathing, health-related quality of life and mental and physical wellbeing.

The groups were be set up in Ashford, Canterbury, Deal, Dover, Ramsgate and Whitstable, and met once a week for ten months. The health and wellbeing of the singers was carefully monitored, with the researchers looking for signs of physical or emotional changes in the participants that can be attributed to the singing activity.

Anyone with COPD interested in joining the groups can contact Isobel Salisbury at the Centre on 01303 220870.  No previous experience of singing is needed and friends and partners are also welcome to join in.

The Summary Report can be found on the Centre's website. Hard copies of the report are also available by contacting Isobel Salisbury on 01303 220870.

Professor Stephen Clift is available for interviews, to arrange please call Canterbury Christ Church University’s press office on 01227 782391.


Notes to Editor

Notes to editors

  • COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • This report presents findings from independent research commissioned by The Dunhill Medical Trust (grant ref. R176/1110). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of The Dunhill Medical Trust.

Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health is internationally recognised for its commitment to researching the potential value of music, and other participative arts activities, in the promotion of well-being and health of individuals and communities.

The Folkestone-based Centre has recently completed a systematic review of research on singing and health, conducted a cross-national survey of choral singers in Australia, England and Germany, and undertaken a formative evaluation of the 'Silver Song Club Project' run by Sing For Your Life Ltd.

Currently, the Centre is undertaking further research on singing for the well-being and health of older people, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, and people with enduring mental health problems.

The Dunhill Medical Trust

The Dunhill Medical Trust is a UK based charity that supports the development of new and innovative projects, medical knowledge and research to support ageing and older people.  The Trust’s objectives are:

  • The furtherance of medical knowledge and research and the publication of the results arising from the research
  • Provision of medical care and facilities
  • Research into the care of older people
  • The provision of care and accommodation for older people.

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 recent UK undergraduates are in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2011 UCAS).
  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).

*2010/11 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey



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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:16:00