History of Singing for Breathing

2007 – First S4B group Brighton – Udita Everitt, a music therapist. Funded by NHS in Brighton.

2008 – Arts manager at Royal Brompton Hospital heard of a project in Oldham, teaching children with asthma to play brass instruments (‘Bronchial Boogie’) and decided to try it with singing.

The original vocal coach, Ian Adam, was a patient, who subsequently died of lung disease. But before he died he raised £48,000 which funded two Randomised Controlled Trials at the Royal Brompton.

2010 –  Professor Stephen Clift of the Sydney de Hann Research Centre for Arts and Health is the other hero of the story: he first observed Phoene Cave leading the class at the Royal Brompton in 2010
Subsequently the Sydney de Haan research institute has been at the forefront of evidence based research into the benefits of singing for lung health.

2012/13 – The singing work came to the attention of the BLF. (Heather McKee) observed Phoene Cave working at the Whittington Hospital and asked her to train S4B leaders for the BLF.


Research has shown clear benefits of singing for people with breathing difficulties, and data will be collected from the 12 original members of the Cambridge group every 3 months to enable research to continue into this exciting field. In this way the Cambridge group will be at the cutting edge of this new and exciting work.


Breathing better, improved speaking voice, feeling more confident to go out and/or tackle everyday tasks, improved mood, better posture, feeling less isolated, having fun, feeling part of something good.


Clift, S. M., Hancox, G., Staricoff, R., Whitmore, C., with Morrison, I. and Raisbeck, M. (2008), Singing and Health: A Systematic Mapping and Review of Non-Clinical Studies, Canterbury: Canterbury Christ Church University.
Available from: www.canterbury.ac.uk/research/centres/SDHR

Clift, S., Nicols, J., Raisbeck, M., Whitmore, C. and Morrison, I. (2011) Group singing, wellbeing and health: A systematic mapping of research evidence, The UNESCO Journal, 2, 1.
Available from: www.abp.unimelb.edu.au/unesco/ejournal

Fraser, J., Page, S., and Skingley, Ann (2011) Drawing Breath: promoting meaning and self-management in COPD, British Journal of Community Nursing, 16, 2, 58-64

Lord V. M., Cave, P., Hume, V. et al. (2010) Singing teaching as a therapy for chronic respiratory disease – randomised controlled trial and qualitative evaluation, BMC Pulmonary Medicine, 10, 41,
Available from: www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2466/10/41