The RHN Staff Choir

The RHN Staff Choir

Aims & Objectives

The staff choir aims to promote the social, emotional and physical health of its’ members. It aims to maintain positive rapport and morale within the workplace setting. The primary goals of the project are to:  

 

  • Promote creativity and self-expression in choir members’ (delete)within the workplace setting.
  • Prevent physical sickness by improving circulation and heart health.
  • To promote bonding between team members.
  • To promote a sense of community within the workplace setting.  

The project commenced at a time of organisational change and disruption. This change presented many challenges for all staff, existing teams and therefore, the patients whom they work with. The project aims to also have a broader impact on workplace morale for staff within the choir, and also for staff and patients who prefer to listen to the choir perform.  
 
Contact Details

Bernice Chu, Music Therapist bchu@rhn.org.uk  Royal Hospital for Neuro-disabilty (RHN) www.rhn.org.uk

Funding Sources

The choir is run by a music therapist; music therapists at the hospital are funded by the RHN Charity.

Intervention Timescale  The choir commenced in September 2014. The idea proposal was approved by the senior managers. A ‘query for interest’ email was sent to all staff; members of the choir volunteer to join. Choir members may not necessarily have a musical background or any previous performing experience. Choir members meet for rehearsal once per week for 45 minutes (1230-1315). Two main performances take place per year – once in the summer and once in the winter. The choir is on-going.

Location and Setting

Choir rehearsals take place in the ‘Art Room’ within the hospital; a spacious room providing good acoustics. All choir members work within the hospital grounds.

Type of arts intervention

Singing – live music rehearsal and performance.

Description of the arts activity

Rehearsals are conducted promptly. They commence with a vocal warm-up followed by coaching and rehearsing relevant repertoire. Repertoire is selected with choir members and choir director. Parts are rehearsed separately and put together within each session. Two or three part arrangements are used. Choir members are offered a variety of performance opportunities e.g. internally, busking and/or external venue. Performances are decided by the group as a whole. All proceeds from busking are returned to the charity to be used for patient care. 

Details of the project participants

Members range in age 18+ and range in musical skill and background. Members range in professional expertise, including:

  • senior managers
  • speech and language therapists
  • physiotherapists
  • occupational therapists
  • music therapists
  • psychologists
  • dietitians
  • therapy assistants
  • medical consultants and nurses

An open policy is employed and members join and leave as they find convenient with their working schedules. Recruitment is made by all choir members as they encourage their colleagues to join when possible.

Project management

Members of the group are encouraged to attend with their personal volition. They are responsible for bringing their music and folders are provided by the workplace. There is no cost to group members.


Ethics and consent

Performances made by the choir are recorded and disseminated to the members. Recordings are shared with all staff only when verbal consent is obtained by all choir members’. The communications team has previously shared recordings with the public via social media. Specific names of choir members are not shared unless verbal consent has been obtained.Evaluation methods and findings

Evaluation methods and findings

A non-intrusive qualitative tool is most appropriate for this project. The possibility of using the arts observational tool (ArtsObs) is being explored. Qualitative evidence of members’ experience of a project is most valuable. Some members have verbally reported that they feel ‘uplifted’ or ‘less stressed’ after rehearsals. One member reluctant to join at the beginning of the project took on a solo performance 18 months later. This demonstrates an increase in confidence in their singing ability. Other members who have joined verbally report that they would like to talk to other staff about ‘something positive and other than work’. Some members’ have gone to seek singing opportunities within their own community and have more confidence in their creative ability.

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England