The populations of interest for this study include populations living with or without communication disorders.
Aphasia is an impairment of language functions that affects over 100,000 Canadians. Because singing is often preserved in aphasia and experienced as highly pleasurable (Racette et al., 2006), many participate in singing choirs on a voluntary basis. One singing-based speech therapy, the Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), has been designed for non-fluent people with aphasia and has been used in subacute aphasia, that is soon after the stroke, with significant improvements in the patient’s daily life communication compared to a control group, which received other types of language rehabilitation (Van der Meulen et al., 2014).
Yet, MIT, is a one-on-one intervention that is costly in human resources and not as enjoyable as group singing. Group singing provides an attractive alternative intervention. In a blind randomized control pilot study (Zumbansen et al, 2017), choir participation was found to be effective in improving communication function. However, the study was highly limited in size (7 each in experimental and control conditions) and possibly administered too late in the process of recovery.
Breathing Disorders, inclusive of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and other chronic difficulties affects over three million Canadian adults. A number of studies including randomized-controlled trials (RCT) suggest that singing leads to improvements in the maintenance of lung functions (Bonilha et al., 2009; Gick & Nicol, 2015; Lewis et al., 2016).