Scotland's Singing for Health Network: Royal Musical Association Seminar with University of Glasgow, October 2023

Engagement activity: External performance, talk or presentationTalk for a mainly academic audience (e.g. at an academic conference)

Brianna Robertson-Kirkland (Speaker), 4 Oct 2023

The Power of Singing for Health and Wellbeing: Scotland’s Singing for Health Network

Scotland’s Singing for Health Network (SSfHN), launched in March 2021, after being awarded a 2-year networking grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh to support a range of activities that would bring Singing for Health practitioners together with medical practitioners and researchers. The decision to form a network, which is run by Dr Brianna Robertson-Kirkland (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and University of Glasgow) and Dr Sophie Boyd (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) emerged after the 2020 Spheres of Singing conference, where singing for health practitioners from across Scotland came to discuss and promote the power of singing for health. Many highlighted the frustration of working in isolation, with little access to up-to-date research, or even the opportunity to share their experiences with other practitioners working in the same field.

Much of SSfHN’s activities is in response to these concerns, as well as forming connections and promoting existing singing for health projects in Scotland. Specifically, we have mapped Singing for Health groups in Scotland and have provided links to research evidencing the potential impacts singing can have on individuals, patients, service users, and singers. We hope that the map will be useful to those searching for a Singing for Health group in their area and to health professionals such as nurses, GPs, and link workers who might want to recommend a Singing for Health group.

This work has led to much larger discussions regarding social prescription models and community referral programmes, and where singing for health fits into these initiatives. Evidence shows that singing, specifically singing in a group can benefit a person’s health, but can it be offered, in a formal way, as a form of social prescription? What training is offered to singing for health practitioners so that both they and the people they are working with are appropriately safeguarded? In this presentation, I will reflect on what SSfHN has achieved in the last two years and the key questions we are still investigating in relation to Singing for Health in Scotland.

More information on Scotland’s Singing for Health Network is below.
Our website is:
Our contact email is:
Follow on Twitter @ScotSingHealth

Brianna E. Robertson-Kirkland
Brianna E. Robertson-Kirkland is a Lecturer in Historically Musicology at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has a particular interest in the history of singing practice and education, historically informed performance, and singing for health. Her recently published monograph Venanzio Rauzzini and the Birth of a New Style in English Singing Scandalous Lessons investigated eighteenth century vocal education and the relationship between the master and pupil. She is also the Music Research Associate for the AHRC-funded project 'The Edited Collection of Allan Ramsay' at the University of Glasgow and, alongside Murray Pittock, is co-editor of Ramsay’s Tea-Table Miscellany. She is the PI for the Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded network, Scotland’s Singing for Health Network (SSfHN).

External organisation (University)

NameUniversity of Glasgow
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom