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Singing is the best medicine

Special Interest Programme / Partner story / Video

Photo provided by Ex Cathedra’s Singing Medicine

Everyone knows that singing is good for you, but young patients in Birmingham Children’s hospital realise this more than the average person. This is because Ex Cathedra, a leading UK choir, which works in partnership with the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, brings the benefits of singing to children who are undergoing treatment in the hospital.

Singing evokes feelings of wellbeing, and can stimulate or calm the body, reducing stress and increasing healing. The Singing Medicine programme works through positive and inclusive interactive songs and singing games. The team sing songs and share singing games they have created with the patients. The aim is to improve the wellbeing of children through positive and inclusive interactive songs and singing games. “Singing Medicine makes you feel better and helps you play,” says one six-year old patient.

“He really enjoys himself and can feel that bit brighter,” says the parent of one child who benefits from the sessions provided through Singing Medicine. “There’s a reason to get to the end of the week – because Singing Medicine is going to be there.”

Singing Medicine has had a presence at Birmingham Children’s Hospital since 2004, growing from strength to strength since then. The programme was awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Arts in Health’, and, at the beginning of 2021, won the ‘Community Project’ award at the Classical Music Digital Awards. Additionally, its sessions have been delivered at various other hospitals around the UK, as well as in Auckland, New Zealand, and Singapore. When physical visits were restricted during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Singing Medicine adapted to the situation and ensured its continued presence in patients’ lives. Among other activities, the team has created nearly 2,000 films including their special ‘Singing Medicine Postcards’, made on request for each child.

The benefits provided by Singing Medicine are boundless, as young people are helped through their treatment. It also enables participants to further develop their personal, social, musical, educational skills, and confidence. In addition, parents and families have the chance to be actively involved, giving them the opportunity to do something enjoyable and interactive with their children. Below you can see a video of their music tutors at work.

To find out more about Singing Medicine, check out its website. This grant falls under our Special Interest Progamme (SIP), which reflects the Trustees’ interests in making dynamic, diverse, large, innovative, and challenging grants. You can read more about the programme by clicking here.