Sing to Beat Parkinson’s® Seminar

Yesterday saw the launch of the Creative Ageing Research Cluster Seminar Series 18/19, which kicked off with Sing to Beat Parkinson’s® from Dr Yoon Irons (University of Derby). This took place on day 2 of Age of Creativity’s Festival 2018!

Sing to Beat Parkinson’s® (STBP®) is a community group singing programme for people with Parkinson’s (PwPs) and their carers, with sessions including breathing exercises, vocal warm-ups and singing participants’ preferred songs. Commencing in South East England 10 years ago, in 2017 STBP® was trialled internationally in Australia, UK, China and South Korea and aimed to assess the benefits of STBP® for quality of life and wellbeing for both PwPs and carers.

Dr Yoon Irons
Getting started with Sing to Beat Parkinson’s® – Dr Yoon Irons

One of the first things I learnt, was that this degenerative disorder is now commonly referred to as parkinson’s, rather than parkinson’s disease – good to know!

What about the singing?!

As my PhD is focussing on participatory arts, but excluding music and singing, it was fascinating to hear more about the benefits of singing…


  • is a physical and mental activity
  • stimulates brain activity
  • promotes neurochemicals

and for older people:

  • enhances quality of life
  • promotes better physical health
  • nurtures psychological/social health and wellbeing
  • improves cognitive function

Sing to Beat Parkinson’s®

This was a 6 month study, in Australia, which consisted of 1hr of singing per week for people with parkinson’s and their carers. The study was a pre-post design, meaning that a group of participants were tested before and after the singing programme, but there was no control group or comparator. Each session followed a standardised programme and participants were also given home practice (5 items, 3 times a week).

The tests included assessment of: quality of life; depression, anxiety & stress; and voice-related quality of life (a new one for me!).

The PDQ-39 questionnaire was used to assess how people with parkinson’s are affected by 8 dimensions of  daily living and the study showed that the largest improvement came around perceptions of stigma.

Other outcomes were:

  • enhanced self-esteem and confidence
  • increased positive mood

…benefit of peer support, having a positive outlook, enjoyment and satisfaction with the programme and facilitator.

But how did it feel…?


Of course, we couldn’t have a seminar on the benefits of singing, without some singing! So, having done some seated ‘action’ singing, we all stood up and had a go! We even managed a round – it sounded good and even better, it felt good!

Yay yay yay, yippee yay yay yay!

Want to find out more?

Why not try for yourself at Sing to Beat Parkinson’s® Event Derby Saturday 3rd Nov? Or read more about the study in the following news articles from Australia ABC News & ABC Radio National Breakfast:

Parkinson’s disease symptoms improve with singing, study finds


Could singing help people with Parkinson’s disease?

What’s next for #TalkCreativeAgeing?

The next seminar in our Creative Ageing Seminar Series is coming up on Tuesday 4th DecemberDancing with Shadows – with Dr Beatrice Jarvis (Kingston University, London). Click above link to register through eventbrite and/or see my previous blog with full seminar series programme.

Don’t forget to keep in the loop by following the hashtag #TalkCreativeAgeing on twitter – you can follow me @erbradfield .

I have been able to organise this seminar series through the University of Derby’s Creative Ageing Research Development Cluster (part of the Arts & Health Centre of Excellence). If you would like more information on the research cluster, please email me.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s