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SingFit: Social Prescribing of Music Programmes for Older Adults

About This PhD Project

Project Description

SCEBE-19-029 Cassidy

Social prescribing of music interventions for Older Adults is growing in support and adoption, with initial evidence purporting potential to keep us happier and healthier for longer, reducing pharmacological intervention, saving the NHS money, and increasing wellbeing for individuals, carers and families. A tool to ’tackle ageing, loneliness, mental health and other long-term conditions’, government ministers have recently argued that the prescribing of arts and culture should become an ’indispensable tool’ for doctors, addressing people’s needs in a holistic way, and supporting people to take greater control of their own health.

However, there is a dearth of robust evaluation evidencing the impact of Social Prescribing of Music Interventions in general and specifically for Older Adults, in line with practice and policy, and in consideration of social, economic and environmental factors.

Phase 1 of this body of work aims to develop better theoretical and practical understanding of Social Prescribing of Music Programmes for Older Adults. This will culminate in creation a “Framework for Evaluating the Social Prescribing of Music Programmes” through a series of action research approaches to:
(1) Identify and Map processes and practices of Social Prescribing of Music Programmes and the requirements of contexts for older adult user;
(2) The opportunities, outcomes and impact of engagement in such programmes in consideration of social, economic and environmental factors;
(3) A logic model of appropriate evaluation approaches across related disciplines;
(4) Identification of barriers and constraints of use for a range of stakeholders from individual to families and carers and wider care system, in line with practice and policy.

Phase 2 will apply this Framework to a series of studies with SingFit PRIME™, a potential music social prescribing tool for older adults. SingFit PRIME™ is a music therapist designed, app facilitated, cognitive and physical stimulation program that incorporates groups and individual singing, movement, trivia and reminiscence for a fully engaging mind/body workout. SingFit PRIME™ is powered by SingFit, a first-of-its-kind iOS mobile app that digitizes the evidence-based music therapy practice of lyric cuing. SingFit’s patented Lyric Coach track makes it possible for practically everyone, including people with dementia, vision impairments and cognitive delays, to sing, record (and share) their favorite songs. While research with SingFit to date show that implementing a SingFit PRIME™ program can produce improvements in user moods, anxiety levels, cognition and memory, there is a need for robust evaluation of engagement and impact in consideration of social, economic and physiological parameters.

Phase 2 of this programme of work will support better theoretical and practical understanding of: (1)the potential of SingFit to align with the growing UK movement of Social Prescribing; (2) the impact of the SingFit PRIME and the new SingFit STUDIO (one-on-one interaction) on parameters of social, emotional and physical health for older adults in care homes and the community; and (3) the requirements and constraints of design and delivery in line with Scottish and Wider UK culture, practice and policy. The student will:
(1) Explore the power of SingFit as a tool for Social prescription in line with practice and policy, and in consideration of the wider prescription recommendations for the arts, social, economic and environmental factors;
(2) Identify stakeholders’ perceived opportunities and outcomes for SingFit to enable increased access to better health and wellness for older adults, including helping make progress towards the Dementia 2020 Strategy;
(3) Design and conduct a series of mixed-method evaluations of the impact of SingFit PRIME/STUDIO on health and wellbeing parameters of older adults in care homes and the community.

How to apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme.

Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. Applicants should complete the online GCU Research Application Form, stating the Project Title and Reference Number (listed above).

Please also attach to the online application, copies of academic qualifications (including IELTS if required), 2 references and any other relevant documentation.

Please send any enquiries regarding your application to: Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

For more information on How to apply and the online application form please go to


Reid, A. G. Rakhilin, M., Patel, A.D., Urry, H. L., and Thomas A. K. (2017). New Technology for Studying the Impact of Regular Singing and Song Learning on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Feasibility Study. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 27, 132-144.

Wan CY, Rüber T, Hohmann A, Schlaug G. The Therapeutic Effects of Singing in Neurological Disorders. Music Percept. 2010;27(4):287-295.

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