Parkinson’s Choir: Singing away symptoms

Health & Fitness

Author: Geoffrey ChangPublished: 3 July 2015

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Parkinson's Choir

A choir in Belfast is helping people with Parkinson’s regain their voice

Music is often said to be good for the soul. But a special choir is going one step further and using singing to improve physical symptoms in people with Parkinson’s.

The choir – made up of people with Parkinson’s, their carers and families – was started in April and meets every Saturday in Belfast, Northern Island.

Run by a group of volunteers from Parkinson’s UK, it’s open to anyone regardless of singing experience – and its members are finding the effects very beneficial.

Jennifer Spence, who sings in the choir with her husband, has noticed a big difference in her husband’s ability to cope with his condition.

She said: “Everyone who comes to the choir seems to really enjoy it. They have fun and the exercises help in several ways ­– some members have even said that they feel their voices are stronger.”

Rebecca Carey, a speech and language therapist who volunteers for the group, told the Belfast Telegraph newspaper: “Straight away I could see that the group would be really beneficial from a social and emotional wellbeing point of view.”

“There is a lot of recent research suggesting that the physical act of singing can have similar effects to more traditional voice treatment, which aims to increase vocal loudness, intonation and voice quality,” added Rebecca.

“Singing also helps promote facial, throat and chest mobility, respiratory control and improved posture – all of which impact positively on speech.”

Nicola Moore, Northern Ireland country director with Parkinson’s UK, said: “We want it to be a fun, social experience which will also give therapeutic benefits to people with Parkinson’s through breathing techniques and voice strengthening.”

If you’d like to get involved with the choir or volunteer with Parkinson’s UK, email:

Photo credit: Parkinson’s UK

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