Promoting health and wellbeing through participatory music

Music, health and wellbeing is the newest focus area for the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre. Established in 2015, our research recognises participatory music as a positive social determinant of health that promotes individual, community, cultural and social wellbeing, and contributes to social justice.

We explore the possibilities of non-invasive, creative activities associated with participatory music-making for people with chronic health conditions, such as persistent pain and neurological disorders as well as marginalised, culturally diverse populations. Our key projects include research into the health and wellbeing outcomes of participatory music programs with people with Parkinson’s and their carers, asylum seekers, youth with complex needs, people with disabilities and dementia, and the use of traditional media for health education in developing countries.

Focus area convenor

Professor Don Stewart

Professor Don Stewart's current research focus is twofold: reduction in parasitic diseases in poorer countries in our region (eg, Indonesia, Philippines) funded by UBS-Optimus Foundation and NHMRC Partnership/Project grants; and development in the music, health and well-being field (eg, chronic pain, Parkinson's, mental health).

Music, health and wellbeing

Music Health & Wellbeing at QCRC

Meet Professor Donald Stewart, Convenor of the Music Health & Wellbeing research focus area at Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre. Don discusses his experiences in music and health both as a practitioner and researcher and provides insight into this area of research at the QCRC. For more, Google QCRC Griffith.

Project highlights

Sing to Beat Parkinson’s

Recent research suggests that singing can be a beneficial adjunct therapy for people with Parkinson’s and community-based singing groups for people with Parkinson’s have been growing rapidly in a number of countries. Using a mixed-method approach to assess the health benefits of group singing, we are conducting surveys and in-depth interviews to explore physical, psychological, cognitive and social health benefits of participating in the program.

The project aims to:

  • assess the effects of the singing program on quality of life, wellbeing and communication parameters of people with Parkinson’s
  • compare data across four nations (Australia, China, UK and South Korea).

Team members: Don Stewart, Yoon Irons, Irene Bartlett, Melissa Forbes.

Partners: University of Southern Queensland.

Choir Facilitators: Clare Birchley, Elizabeth Lord, Elizabeth Savina.

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Shadow puppets and neglected diseases: evaluating a health promotion performance

Funded through the Australia-Indonesian Institute, this project evaluates the content and effectiveness of a new health promotion program for rural Indonesia, which uses traditional shadow puppetry (wayang kulit) with added modern instrumentation, to communicate the health benefits of effective latrine use and improved hygiene and sanitation practices.

Team members: Don Stewart, Dan Bendrups, Joko Susilo, Darren Gray.

Partners: La Trobe University and Otago University.

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