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P-11 The therapeutic choir: Building community through song
  1. Ray Travasso1
  1. 1East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice (EACH), Ipswich, UK
  2. 2St Elizabeth Hospice, UK
  3. 3Suffolk Music Therapy Services, UK

Abstract

Introduction This paper presents an innovative service development initiative aimed at creating community through song and building a sense of belonging and resilience in users and staff in a children’s hospice service in the East of England.

Aims This paper aims to examine and present the health and well-being benefits of singing in a therapeutic choir that consists primarily of mothers whose children are receiving care, as well as bereaved mothers, extended family, hospice staff and volunteers. The paper will also include audio and video footage of the Choir.

Methods The Choir is run by the music therapist at the hospice and open to all service users, staff and volunteers. The Choir provides families using the hospice a unique and innovative form of music therapy. A creative and therapeutic approach underpins the facilitation, leadership and vision of the choir. The Choir has become a significant element of care experienced by families at the children’s hospice. The Choir model has challenged traditional approaches to parental support and music therapy and thus led to a spectrum of health and wellbeing outcomes.

Results The Choir has been evaluated by the service users and staff through video-interview techniques and written feedback. Research findings from Canadian Music Professor, Dr Jane Gosine’s study into the Choir will also be presented. Participation in the choir has provided a positive experience in which members refer to a sense of belonging, fulfilment, increased confidence and being uplifted. Significant relationships have developed within the choir, leading to greatly improved support, connexion, renewed purpose and fulfilment.

Conclusion The paper will conclude by summarising the organisational, health and well-being benefits of the choir for the individual members, group and wider organisation.

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