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BMC Pulm Med. 2010 Aug 3;10:41. doi: 10.1186/1471-2466-10-41.

Singing teaching as a therapy for chronic respiratory disease--a randomised controlled trial and qualitative evaluation.

Author information

1
Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite optimal pharmacological therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation, patients with COPD continue to be breathless. There is a need to develop additional strategies to alleviate symptoms. Learning to sing requires control of breathing and posture and might have benefits that translate into daily life.

METHODS:

To test this hypothesis we performed a randomised controlled trial, comparing a six week course of twice weekly singing classes to usual care, in 28 COPD patients. The experience of singing was assessed in a qualitative fashion, through interviews with a psychologist. In addition, we surveyed patients with chronic respiratory conditions who participated in a series of open singing workshops.

RESULTS:

In the RCT, the physical component score of the SF36 improved in the singers (n = 15) compared to the controls (n = 13); +7.5(14.6) vs. -3.8(8.4) p = 0.02. Singers also had a significant fall in HAD anxiety score; -1.1(2.7) vs. +0.8(1.7) p = 0.03. Singing did not improve single breath counting, breath hold time or shuttle walk distance. In the qualitative element, 8 patients from the singing group were interviewed. Positive effects on physical sensation, general well-being, community/social support and achievement/efficacy emerged as common themes. 150 participants in open workshops completed a questionnaire. 96% rated the workshops as "very enjoyable" and 98% thought the workshop had taught them something about breathing in a different way. 81% of attendees felt a "marked physical difference" after the workshop.

CONCLUSION:

Singing classes can improve quality of life measures and anxiety and are viewed as a very positive experience by patients with respiratory disease; no adverse consequences of participation were observed.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

Current Controlled Trials--ISRCTN17544114.

PMID:
20682030
PMCID:
PMC2920262
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2466-10-41
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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