SingWell’s one-day symposium featured a variety of research presentations, a workshop focused on knowledge mobilization fundamentals for researchers, and a special keynote presentation by
Dr. Stephen Clift.
The full list of speakers can be found below.
“Singing, wellbeing and health: the need for robust critique in evidence reviews”
Keynote presented by Dr. Stephen Clift (video)
In his thought provoking keynote, Dr. Clift examined the work of Gene Cohen (2006) on singing and wellbeing and the way in which it is treated in evidence reviews published between 2010 and 2022. He demonstrates that evidence reviews generally take the findings reported by Cohen at face value and are insufficiently critical of this study.
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“Adapting to online group singing in support of wellbeing”
Research presentation by Dr. Jane Gosine (video)
From presentation abstract: Studies show that group singing has the potential to improve the health and quality of life of participants living with respiratory illness. Group singing online as a result of the pandemic has meant rethinking what it means to be part of a choir and how the benefits from group singing can be maintained in a modified online environment. While the rapid move to online choir delivery was forced upon us at the beginning of the pandemic, it has subsequently provided choirs with opportunities to reconsider their mode of delivery and explore new approaches to group singing in order potentially to serve a wider population, including those in remote locations, those with mobility issues and those who are immune-compromised or are anxious singing in in-person group settings. Using the Better Breathing Choir as a model, we will share our experience of running a choir online since March 2020 from lock-down to today and share data collected from choir members before and during the pandemic.
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“Why are health choir members motivated to join and continue their participation?”
Research presentation by Timothy Brennan (video)
Mr. Brennan examined why individuals continue participating in choir activities, specifically when the choir has been designed to address specific health concerns (“health choirs”). The study explored which factors were the driving motivators for participants, and whether the factors were the same for all participants or if it was dependant on the individual.
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“Effects of an online and in-person (hybrid) group-singing program for older adults with breathing disorders on lung health, functional capacity, cognition, quality of life, communication skills, and social inclusion”
Research presentation by Dr. Louise Drouin (video)
Dr. Drouin shared details of her upcoming SingWell study.
From presentation abstract: We will experiment with an online and in-person (hybrid) group-singing program for pulmonary disease (GSP) for older adults with lung disease. This pilot study will compare two groups: group 1, a local hybrid GSP, and group 2, 140 km+ distant participants in a combination of online only GPS and hybrid pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) group. Our main goal is to ascertain the feasibility of hybrid GSP to improve well-being, either as an alternative or complementary intervention, in partnership with organizations dedicated to serving older adults with pulmonary disease in an economical, practical, efficient, pleasurable, and sustainable way. We will evaluate attendance, satisfaction, perceived and measured effects, and desire to keep going on with the program. Our study will build on our experience with in-person better breathing group singing program to better support a population often isolated by losses in former social status and mobility, as well as shortness of breath affecting their communication skills.
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Knowledge Mobilization Fundamentals for Research
Workshop presented by Taylor Maclean, Creative Lead at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Centre for Communicating
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“How important is the ‘group’ in group singing? An unbiased investigation of group singing benefits for well-being”
Research presentation by Dr. Dawn Merrett (video)
Dr. Merrett shared details of her upcoming SingWell study.
From presentation abstract: The aims of our research project are to compare group and solo singing in an unbiased way and to evaluate the role of group bonding and other putative mechanisms in the health and well-being benefits attributed to group singing. A longitudinal singing study with healthy adults in three different groups: (1) singing alone, (2) singing in a group that is different every week, or (3) singing in a group that is the same every week, will allow us to disentangle the effects of “group singing” versus “group bonding”. We can also address some important but as yet unanswered questions, including: How do singing effects on mood and well-being evolve over time? Is singing in a group that is unfamiliar still better than singing alone? Does a choir need to “bond” over time to effectively improve mood and well-being? Do singers synchronize better with familiar individuals and does synchrony correlate with feelings of connectedness?
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“Singing skills in persons with Parkinson’s Disease”
Research presentation by Dr. Annabel J. Cohen (video)
From presentation abstract: Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a degenerative neurological disorder that impacts gross and fine motor co-ordination often including speech production. We examined vocal performance of four persons with PD on several online vocal tasks. The test was administered twice, at an interval of approximately one-week, to test for stability of results.
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“Exploring a multi-site hearing loss study for older adults with hearing loss”
Research presentation by Dr. Chi Lo (video)
Dr. Lo shared the plans for an upcoming multi-site SingWell study which will include collaborators from Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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“The (bio)psychosocial benefits of virtual group singing using low-latency technology”
Research presentation by Alexander Pachete
and Dr. Arla Good (video)
Mr. Pachete and Dr. Good presented preliminary findings from their 2022 study which explored the use of low-latency technology to improve the virtual choir experience for participants.
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“Assessing the benefits of chanting for individuals with
Research presentation by Dr. Gemma Perry (video)
From presentation abstract: Chanting is a form of repetitive, rhythmic vocalization that is practiced in almost every tradition around the world. Chanting has been used throughout history as a form of worship, healing, ritual, strengthening community and overcoming psychological challenges. Our research has demonstrated chanting can increase social connection, reduce stress and lead to altered states of consciousness characterized by a sense of unity and peace. This presentation will outline the current research on chanting, propose a model of the active mechanisms, and describe the current investigation that will assess benefits of chanting as a therapeutic intervention for individuals with breathing and communication problems including asthma, COPD, and long-COVID.
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