Choral singing therapy may lead to improved quality of life for stroke survivors
Singing in a choir can improve the feelings of social isolation and low mood experienced by stroke survivors with aphasia (communication difficulties) according to new research from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Reporting in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation, researchers found that people with stroke and Parkinson's disease perceived participating in choral singing therapy as improving mood, language, breathing and voice problems, and helped them to self-manage some of the consequences of their condition, including social isolation, low mood and communication difficulties.
Now lead researcher, UWE Bristol's Laura Fogg-Rogers is to launch a choir in Bristol this autumn.
The Bristol Neurological Choir, based at UWE Glenside Campus, is a new free singing and music group run by music therapists, speech language therapists and musicians from the Centre for Performing Arts at UWE Bristol for people with communication difficulties following a stroke. Singing experience is not needed and carers and families are welcome too.
Laura Fogg-Rogers (Science Communication Unit) explains, "People with aphasia can often still sing, even when they can't speak very well. Aphasia causes language problems, but the areas which control speech in the brain are different to those which control singing. It is really quite miraculous watching someone who can't speak burst into song when they possibly haven't been able to communicate for months or years."
Ian Holmes, Director of the Centre for Performing Arts, said, "We're delighted to be involved with this wonderful project, to be able to give something back to the community in Bristol. It's really uplifting to see the joy that people get from both the social and musical aspects of being involved in a choir and we're looking forward to making the Bristol Neurological Choir a really supportive, relaxing and sociable experience for all our new members, their carers and families."