Conference to study why singing is music to the ears in mental health

Snape Maltings Picture: SIMON PARKER

Snape Maltings Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

Singing and how it can help mental health will be the theme of a special event featuring experts from around the UK in Suffolk.

Studies have found that singing can stimulate good mental health and wellbeing Picture: GETTY IMAGE

Studies have found that singing can stimulate good mental health and wellbeing Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than 60 music practitioners, arts and health researchers and health policy makers will gather at Snape Maltings to explore the value of singing in supporting mental health.

The event takes place on January 8 is part of Snape's Creative Campus programme of thinktanks and networking events aimed at exploring and promoting the role of music in society.

It is one of eight UK 'sandpit' projects - which bring together different experts - that received an award from the MARCH Network Plus fund, which supports research in how social and cultural engagement, including the arts, can help mental health. Phillipa Reive, director of the Creative Campus, said: "Music practitioners instinctively feel strongly that participating in singing can be hugely beneficial for mental health.

"There is no doubt that more evidence is needed and one of the key goals of the event is to develop new research frameworks that will help fill that gap.

"We couldn't be happier to be at the start of that journey."

A paper by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing published in 2016 said there were positive mental health benefits in singing and other musical activities.

As well as enhancing mental wellbeing, it could also help prevent mental health problems in older people and vulnerable groups.

Dr Dave Camlin from the Royal College of Music who is co-chairing the event, said: "This promises to be a very exciting day of surprises, with representatives from a range of practice and research backgrounds coming together to explore singing and mental health.

"We're hoping it will lead to some new approaches to researching practice in this field, which recognises the importance of harnessing both practical and theoretical understanding in the development of singing as an effective way of addressing mental health challenges.

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"Snape is the perfect place to do this, a space very much outside the everyday but parallel to it, somewhere that inspires people to think differently."

Dr Daisy Fancourt, head of the MARCH Network, said: "This event has enormous promise for developing strong research proposals that will help to take our understanding of the impact of singing on mental health to a new level."

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