Health Promotion: Community Singing as a Vehicle to Promote Health
Singing is a great vehicle for communal activity, but it has disappeared as part of adulthood in many communities. Yes the children sing in the kindergarten, but when do we as adults sing together? Singing has a wide range of personal benefits besides from learning about music and how to create it. As well as developing and improving healthy singing techniques and also being a thoroughly enjoyable experience it has also been shown to have multiple physiological and social benefits for the participants. Working with the voice has many physical benefits, such as improved posture and respiratory strength, increased energy levels and also stimulation for the mind. There are also many social and personal benefits, such as boosted self-esteem and confidence, improved communication and listening skills, raised self-awareness and awareness of others and developed team working skills. One area of communal activity that has received increasing attention is participative community singing, because it entails aerobic exercise, social interaction and promotion of sense of connectedness. We believe it may be a good avenue to increase sense of connectedness and to promote participation in exercise activities. In this special issue of the journal there is provided persuasive evidence to demonstrate the power of community singing in promoting social and emotional wellbeing, prevent depression, promoting healthy behaviours and promoting access to health services in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. In addition the health effect of Tai Chi as another form of arts is also explored. The research address social and health practices that advocate the use of community singing program to build a capacity for health promotion in individuals and communities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As a whole it exemplify community singing projects that share common features aligned with a social ecological view of health, education and social work systems. Academics have collaborated with practitioners to produce the study results, all of which are quantitative that report on the effects of community singing practices for a marginalised population in Australia. In the presentations the connection between community singing and Tai Chi program and health promotion are explicitly addressed by posing the following questions-Do community singing projects in build a measurable capacity for health promotion and prevention amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people? Can we replicate these projects' outcomes to develop a capacity for health promotion and prevention in diverse cultural groups? Does Tai Chi help with the prevention of health problems in old people in Australia? One of the main avenues for addressing health issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is to create opportunities for participation, social support and development of connectedness and a sense of belonging to the community and trust in community. Given their strong preference to participate in arts and cultural activities as indicated in the study, arts related program development focusing on a combination of festivals, story telling, music, singing and dancing arts forms may have implications to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in these activities. These activities can be used as avenues to develop their sense of community connectedness, participation in education, employment opportunities, and access to health services.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES