Sing for better health for BHWC runs every Saturday 12.30 to 1.30 via Zoom. Our group at the the BHWC is one of four groups Udita Everett has been running every week. We used to meet in the waiting room every Saturday -now we meet via Zoom. It is for older people in general, and for people of all ages with long-term health conditions – no singing ability is required. Many of our members are lonely and even more isolated now due to Covid, or have conditions like Asthma, stroke or heart conditions
A medical student conducted a research project into the benefits of singing on health and well-being, using our groups: https://www.singforbetterhealth.co.uk/research/, and in 2019 a psychology student wrote an MA: “Singing has given me my life back!” The impact of the “Sing for Better Health” Programme for Older Adults and Individuals with Long-Term Health Conditions”, with very positive results!
With the sudden lockdown last March, our group members were at a loss to start with. However, Zoom has been working extremely well for us, with four successful Zoom groups per week, including our Saturday class at 12.30. All online sessions are open to anyone from all the groups. This allows many of the members who were unable to travel, or are disabled to now take part in all the group sessions, with many of them joining in all four sessions per week. This has created a great sense of community, warmth and fun, with a lot of joking and laughter.
Prior to Covid we would have tea breaks in which everybody socialised; – we still make plenty of time for people to chat and laugh during our sessions.
At the beginning of each meeting I guide the singers through specific posture and breathing exercises – particularly important during this time of Covid.
We have a songbook of around 250 songs, which we have collected over the years from our members’ suggestions – our singers can read the texts via my Zoom screen share.
Pre-Covid we had recorded the accompaniment for all our songs; we now use these recordings in our sessions.
Our groups have always had a therapeutic aspect in the foreground, the improvement of health and wellbeing (https://www.singforbetterhealth.co.uk/benefits/). That’s why we choose to sing as one voice, without harmonies – “singing out of tune” doesn’t come into it – just with recorded piano accompaniment and singing of one of the groups.
Some of our testimonials from the last year, showing how much our members appreciate singing together during this difficult time!
“The therapeutic value not only from the singing itself, the initial exercises and breathing have woken my body up when it’s felt sluggish, the singing has given my vocal chords a chance to stretch themselves and to have people zooming into my lounge giving me a chance to chat and smile and be part of such a caring friendly group has lifted my spirits higher than I thought possible at what could have been a very deep, dark, depressing time.”
“It’s so up-lifting, ……joyous and heartwarming and a real pick me up tonic, just what is needed in these *surreal* times.”
“I can only truthfully say that I’ve no idea how I would have gone through the last months without our singing sessions and I fervently hope that this will continue for the foreseeable future.”
“I have been attending Udita’s zoom singing sessions with my mum, each week, throughout the lockdown period. It is incredible that Udita has managed to offer them throughout, and they have been an invaluable and consistent oasis of community, calm and brightness for my mum and me. We have enjoyed connecting with others through singing so much. The singing and chats have made us smile and laugh -sometimes the only time in very difficult weeks.”
Info: Udita Everett, firstname.lastname@example.org
SING FOR BETTER HEALTH group at the Brighton Health & Wellbeing Centre www.singforbetterhealth.co.uk