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Our Impact - Choirs Beating Time

Our Impact

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Word Cloud built with tagul.com using key words from responses to Goldsmiths’ initial qualitative evaluation 2016/17


We are passionate about ensuring our work is having an impact. With this in mind, we evaluate our work regularly, observing sessions, reviewing weekly feedback from our music directors, listening to prison governors and staff and most importantly communicating with our participants.

We are working currently with Psychology PhD student, Katie Rose Sanfilippo (supervisor Professor Lauren Stewart, Goldsmiths College, London) and with Professor Robin Dunbar’s team at Oxford University looking at mental health, social inclusion and group singing.

Katie Rose says, “Choral singing has been shown to improve emotional stability, perceptions of social competence, self-esteem and overall well-being in prison inmates (Cohen, 2009, 2012; Silber, 2007). Whilst such work promotes the therapeutic benefits of music in a prison setting, there is a marked absence of recent research on this within the prison population, particularly in the UK, that looks specifically at group singing.  Choirs Beating Time is a unique programme as it involves group singing combined with consistency of a weekly choir session. Through this evaluation we hope to investigate how Choirs Beating Time affects the overall well-being of prisoners compared to a matched group of prisoners who are not involved in choir”.

Responses to the first stage of the evaluation from the HMP Birmingham choir show:

  • 75% strongly agreed belonging to the choir improved their satisfaction with life
  • 62% strongly agreed belonging to choir increased their confidence
  • 87% felt being in choir improved their mental health
  • 75% said belonging to choir improved their family contact – performing for their families is  a big part of this
  • 75% felt choir improved their sense of belonging

We are always keen to support research into the benefits of regular singing. If you would like to talk to us about the work we do or involve us in your study please contact us.