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Singing for Health and Wellbeing: Lessons learnt from practice and research

Saturday 23rd April 2022: 10:00 - 17:00 GMT

BVA@home event presented online via Zoom

Whether as performance or therapy, alone or in a choir, singing is known to improve health and wellbeing, bringing about increased engagement, agency and confidence. But do we understand why and how? This interdisciplinary study day brings together leading voice researchers, therapists and vocal practitioners. From their diverse corners in the arts and sciences, our presenters share what has been learnt from innovative projects and specific interventions to improve singing and speech outcomes, and to employ voice work to promote physical and mental integration and wellbeing.



10.00-10.10 INTRODUCTION Louise Gibbs
10.10-10.40 The Larynx and Covid-19: dispelling the myths Natalie Watson
10.40-11.10 Singing for Lung Health: Where are we now? Rachel Goldenberg
11.10-11.30 Natalie & Rachel in Conversation, Q&A
11.30-11.45 BREAK
11.45-12.30 Live Music Now (LMN) Sessions:
Artist Journey: Beatboxing and Tourettes Dean Yhnell
Beatboxing for Muscular Dystrophy and Cystic Fibrosis Sophie Dunn & Dean Yhnell
The Lullaby Project: Songwriting for Perinatal Mental Health (LMN with Carnegie Hall) Georgina Aasgaard
12.30-13.00 Speakers Forum, Q&A
13.00-14.00 LUNCH
14.00-14.45 The Therapeutic Application of Osteopathy to Singing Ann Coxhead
14.45-15.30 The Longevity of the Mature Female Voice Rebecca Moseley-Morgan
15.30-15.45 BREAK
15.45-16.30 Singing for Health Network: Bridging Research and Practice Emily Foulkes
16.30-17.00 Final Forum, Q&A




Georgina Aasgaard, NIHR Pre-Doctoral Fellow & Musician, Live Music Now

'The Lullaby Project: Songwriting for Perinatal Mental Health'

This session reports on a Live Music Now initiative (with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute) that invites parents to create and sing personal lullabies for their babies with the help of musicians. Since launching the project in October 2021 with NHS partners, Live Music Now has worked with over 50 mothers in England and Wales, including those experiencing peri-natal mental health difficulties. Evidence shows that creating, singing and sharing lullabies promotes maternal health, child development and parent-child bonding.

Georgina is a cellist and music and health practitioner with a passion for bringing music from the concert hall to challenging and more intimate environments. She has 20 years of experience in a broad range of social and health settings as well as well as performing with many leading orchestras. Her experience in the creative and interactive use of music includes long-term partnerships with NHS Foundation Trusts, Live Music Now, DadaFest and Drake Music. Georgina has been awarded research fellowship to explore the role of musicians in mental health care and identify musicians’ training needs. She won the Merseyside Woman of the Year 2019 award (Arts, Culture and Media) as well as the NHS Positive Achievement Award in Mental Health.


Ann Coxhead

'The Therapeutic Application of Osteopathy to Singing: How trauma and a dysfunctional breath pattern can challenge the larynx'

In this session Ann offers an anatomical and physiological approach using breathwork and Osteopathy to explore dysfunctional breathing patterns hindering the mechanics of the larynx.

Ann has been a practicing osteopath since 1981 training at the BSO In London. She extended her interests into working with performing artists and trained as an IB breathwork facilitator in 2015. This method of analysing stress-related dysfunctional breath patterns was combined with studying laryngeal manipulation with Jacob Lieberman in Hamburg. Ann has qualifications in clinical Hypnotherapy. She is also a Zena Rommett Floor-barre certificated teacher working with dancers. She pulls together these multidisciplinary mind and body skills to treat voice users, dancers and musicians. She holds private clinics in London and Brighton, and supports the Harewood Artists at English National Opera.


Sophie Dunn, Director, Live Music Now South West

'Beatboxing for Muscular Dystrophy and Cystic Fibrosis (with Dean Yhnell)'

This session introduces a project initiated during the early Covid lockdown which has proved hugely beneficial to a group of secondary school students. Weekly online beatboxing sessions with students with complex needs (often non-verbal), have developed motor control of mouth and tongue muscles leading to significant outcomes for speech, communication and eating.

Sophie joined Live Music Now in 2017 and oversees the charity’s activities throughout the South West of England, bringing professional musicians to special schools, care homes, hospital wards, memory cafes and a wide range of other community settings. She gets most job satisfaction from hearing of the impact of musical encounters on individuals, from the non-verbal pupil discovering that they can use music to communicate with their teachers, to the hospice patient listening to a favourite song alongside their family. Sophie has worked in music education for over 25 years, initially as a secondary music teacher and subsequently with City of London Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia orchestras.


Emily Foulkes, MA

'Singing for Health Network: Bridging Research and Practice'

Emily is a Singing for Health practitioner, research and trainer, singer and choir leader. She has degrees in performing arts and in Voice Pedagogy with a specialism in singing for mental health, pain management and trauma informed practice. She is the Director of Music for Good, a music-for-wellbeing charity based in Cornwall. In 2021, Emily set up the National Singing for Health Network, which aims to bridge research and practice and support the Singing for Health movement. Emily is a Senior Lecturer with the Voice Study Centre, teaching on the MA pathway.


Rachel Goldenberg, EdD, EdM, MM

'Singing for Lung Health: Where are we now?'

The "Breathe, Sing, Move!" program, first held at Breathe Well Physio in Calgary, Canada combines traditional group singing lessons with physiotherapy to improve symptoms of lung disease. Mounting evidence touts the benefits of better breathing patterns for patients with obstructive and restrictive lung diseases. However, learning to sing may impact other systems. Reduced respiratory capacity is associated with dysphonia, and patients with lung disease are at higher risk for developing complications due to swallowing problems.

Singing can strengthen the muscles associated with phonation and swallowing, bring awareness to the oral motor mechanism, and assist in coordinating multiple physiological components critical to the management of lung disease. In this presentation, we will explore the current available research and theories about why singing is beneficial to people living with impairments in the respiratory system.


Rebecca Moseley-Morgan

'The Longevity of the Mature Female Voice: Implications for the health of the mature singer'

Rebecca is a former professional opera singer turned musicologist and researcher, and Chair of the BVA Education Working party. She has worked with the older voice for over 30 years and her PhD thesis has revealed some fascinating results on optimum ways to teach the older singer and the enormous health benefits that can be gained from maintaining the functionality of the voice from midlife and beyond. Rebecca is also involved in research on vibrational therapy for vocal fatigue and on old and new approaches to breath management. Her book, a teaching method for the mature, is due to be published next year.

In addition to her busy voice studio in Oxford, she gives workshops throughout the UK on the functionality of the voice and voice science, tips and techniques for choral singers, maintaining the mature voice and breathing.


Natalie Watson, MBBS, MSc

'The larynx and Covid-19, dispelling the myths'

Natalie is an ENT surgeon in the NHS with a passion for laryngology, singing and the Arts. She co-founded the PERFORM working group researching respirable particles emitted during singing, woodwind and brass instruments, exercise, speech and language exercises; funded by a EPSRC grant.

In 2021 Natalie was awarded the British Voice Association’s Van Lawrence Prize for her research presentation on comparing aerosol concentrations and particle size distributions generated by singing, speaking and breathing at rest. She has recently completed a post-CCT laryngology fellowship at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust and has a Masters in Clinical Education.


Dean Yhnell aka Beat Technique

After making the leap into professional beatboxing in 2010, Dean’s career and repertoire have blossomed. He has forged a unique performance style and stage presence, built in the beatbox battle scene and on the stages and events of Glastonbury, the O2, Royal Ascot and Silverstone to name a few.

Dean now spends the majority of his time teaching young people in schools and youth organisations the art of beatbox, rap, dj-ing and music production, improving their communication, literacy and confidence levels through his teaching style. He has achieved much success with young people who find school a challenge, enabling them to improve attendance, behaviour and motivation in all areas of the curriculum. Dean has been part of the Live Music Now since 2017.



Saturday 23rd April 2022

  • EARLY BIRD Member: £30 | After Friday April 1st: £35
  • EARLY BIRD Non-member: £45 | After Friday April 1st: £50
  • EARLY BIRD Full-time Student (Student ID required): £20  | After Friday April 1st: £25


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