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Conceptualizing how group singing may enhance quality of life with Parkinson's disease

Buetow, Stephen A.; Talmage, Alison; McCann, Clare; Fogg, Laura; Purdy, Suzanne


Stephen A. Buetow

Alison Talmage

Clare McCann

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Dr Laura Fogg Rogers
Associate Professor of Knowledge Exchange in Engineering

Suzanne Purdy


Purpose: Group singing could be a promising component of neurorehabilitative care. This article aims to conceptualize how group singing may enable people with Parkinson's disease (PD) to synchronize their movement patterns to musical rhythm and enhance quality of life. Method: Spanning the medical and social sciences, the article draws conceptually on literature on PD, group singing and rhythm in music; personal experience; and reasoning. Results: Conceptualizing PD in terms of disruptions to social and biological rhythms, we hypothesize how group singing may produce two socio-psychological states-connectedness and flow-that may entrain rhythm in people with PD. The states connect during group singing to elicit and enhance motor processes but may also reawaken after the group singing, through the recall and reactivation of the musical rhythms encoded during group singing. Conclusions: In people with PD, this continuity of flow is hypothesized to be conducive to rhythmic entrainment during and after group singing and in turn to reduced deficits in motor timing and emotional processing, and improvements in quality of life. Empirical studies are needed to test this hypothesis in people with movement disorders such as PD.Implications for RehabilitationMusical rhythm in group singing may enhance quality of life, and rehabilitation, in people with PD.Use group singing to produce two socio-psychological states-connectedness and flow-that may yield these health benefits.Include people with PD in singing groups to facilitate perceptual exposure to familiar music with melodic distinctiveness and a regular beat. © 2014 Informa UK Ltd. All rights reserved: reproduction in whole or part not permitted.


Buetow, S. A., Talmage, A., McCann, C., Fogg, L., & Purdy, S. (2014). Conceptualizing how group singing may enhance quality of life with Parkinson's disease. Disability and Rehabilitation, 36(5), 430-433.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Aug 27, 2013
Journal Disability and Rehabilitation
Print ISSN 0963-8288
Electronic ISSN 1464-5165
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 5
Pages 430-433
Keywords group singing, music therapy, Parkinson’s disease, participation, rehabilitation
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Additional Information Additional Information : Published online first 16 May 2013