Joining us today is the founder of the Singing for Health Network who has worked in music for wellbeing and music education for over 20 years. She is the director of the charity Music for Good and holds a masters degree in vocal pedagogy through the Voice Study Centre, where she is now a senior lecturer. Emily Foulkes joins Alexa this week on Singing Teachers Talk about the Singing for Health Network.
- The Singing for Health Network is a UK-based membership network for anyone interested or involved in Singing for Health, including singing practitioners, researchers, and health and healthcare professionals. Their aim is to bridge research and practice and provide a platform for sharing practice and opportunities.
- The Singing for Health Network model is a work-in-progress representation of the different levels of singing groups, showing where they most commonly fit within the health system. It is intended to help practitioners from both arts and health sectors to understand which types of groups suit different conditions and needs.
- Emily’s research took her in the direction of looking at trauma, mental health, and pain management. She ran a pilot research project for people with chronic pain while also training to be a trauma and mental health practitioner.
- There is research that leans towards the idea that singing can improve mental health, especially singing in groups can help us connect with other people and build relationships which is beneficial to mental health.
- Chronic pain is pain that lasts for more than three months and can’t be treated. Chronic pain is associated with depression and other mental health issues.
‘We’re hard wired to sing, we were singing before we were speaking’
‘We can see the connectivity of singing together’
‘If I could do this every day, I think I could manage my pain so much better’
- (Instagram) @thesingingforhealthnetwork
- (Instagram) @em.foulkes
- (Facebook) Singing for Health Network Forum
- (Twitter) @NetworkSinging
- (Twitter) @EmilyFoulkes1
Relevant Links & Mentions:
- The British Lung Foundation: lunguk.org
- Phoene Cave & The Musical Breath: themusicalbreath.com
- Dr Stephen Clift; Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University
- Bjorn Vickhoff et al; Choral Singing Has a Soothing Effect on Heart Rate: culturecase.org/research/2014/05/choral-singing-has-a-soothing-effect-on-heart-rate
- (For trauma awareness) Peter Levine; The Body Holds the Score by Bessel van Der Kolk; Stephen Porges Polyvagal Theory
- Singing for Health Network Partners: Sound Sense; Sing Up & Sing Up Foundation; Making Music; Natural Voice Network
- Sing Up: singup.org
ABOUT THE GUEST
Emily has worked in Music for Well-being and Music Education for over 20 years, from the national level at Youth Music, managing grant funding and networks to working as a practitioner. Since 2008, Emily has lived in Cornwall where she is the Director of Music for Good, a charity providing and supporting music for well-being in a range of settings.
After receiving a bursary to complete MA studies, Emily gained a Distinction in her MA in Voice Pedagogy with a specialism in Singing for Health and Well-being. Her research and specialist work has led to winning commissions from the NHS and being awarded funding. Her research into Online Mindfulness and Singing for people with Anxiety and/or Depression is published in the International Journal for Community Music. Emily is a Trauma and Mental Health Practitioner and Trainer and is working with the Sing Up Foundation to further develop and roll out training for Singing Practitioners.
Emily has presented her research at numerous conferences and has trained more than 100 singing practitioners in Trauma and Mental Health informed practice. She set up the Singing for Health Network in 2021 with the vision to bridge research and practice and support the singing for health movement. The aspiration is to bring together researchers, practitioners, and healthcare professionals and to provide a useful platform for sharing and supporting the field. Emily is a Senior Lecturer with the Voice Study Centre supporting students on the MA in Voice Pedagogy.