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Participatory singing for older people: a perception of benefit

Sue Hillman (freelance Arts and Project Manager based in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1989 she set up the community arts project Call That Singing? – a year‐long programme designed to encourage participation in Glasgow’s celebrations for its reign as European Capital of Culture 1990)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 1 August 2002



A questionnaire survey was carried out in the Glasgow area in Scotland amongst people over the UK age of statutory retirement participating in the community arts project Call That Singing?, with a return rate of 75 per cent. The results demonstrate that participatory singing was perceived as providing worthwhile physical, emotional, social and cultural benefits. Participants reported no overall deterioration in their perception of health over the 12‐year period since the project started: this is despite the high recorded incidence of illness and bereavement during the same period to be expected of people of this age. Participants perceived statistically significant improvements to their general quality of life, emotional wellbeing (including a marginally significant shift in self‐confidence) and understanding of singing. They also reported improvements to their social well‐being, although these were not statistically significant. The research shows that participatory singing is making a contribution to the cultural economy and fabric of the city of Glasgow, illustrated by the increased number of visits to theatres, shows and museums and the increased level of active participation in cultural life.



Hillman, S. (2002), "Participatory singing for older people: a perception of benefit", Health Education, Vol. 102 No. 4, pp. 163-171.




Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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