Grant holder
Sarah Abiss, Ex Cathedra
Project status

The Froebel Trust awarded a grant for a project bringing songs and music to babies and children in Birmingham's Children's Hospital.

Project summary

Singing Medicine aimed to bring the many wellbeing benefits of singing play to poorly babies and children in Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Interactive singing games aid communication, enable children to make decisions, support and encourage movement (where appropriate), develop personal and social skills, are fun, calming or stimulating (depending on need), develop vocal and musicianship skills, and enable play between children and their family members and hospital staff.

Every Friday, a team of 8 Ex Cathedra Vocal Tutors (working in pairs) spend the day at Birmingham Children’s Hospital working with children in all in-patient areas across the hospital including in the Intensive Care Unit and with those who are isolated.

Ex Cathedra is a leading UK choir and Early Music ensemble based in the Midlands.

"Our interactive songs and singing games, many of which have been composed by the team, are completely inclusive with regards to capabilities, clinical needs, language and background, vocal skills and musicianship, and are also a lot of fun. Sessions take place in the most appropriate space for each child, for example at the bedside, in groups, or even whilst a procedure is being carried out to distract and soothe."

Every session follows a similar structure - an introductory activity, main game/s and finishing activity, such as a goodbye song. Each session lasts as long as is appropriate for each child, which is usually around 15 minutes.

Singing Medicine aimed to:

- Improve the well-being of children in hospital

- Give children a voice and enable them to make decisions in an environment where almost all decisions are made for them

- Support development of personal, social and education skills

- Support families and hospital staff to sing with children, reducing the isolation they may feel whilst they are in hospital away from home and their friends.

Research documents

Final Report Innovation Grant Ex Cathedra Signing Medicine