Managed by Dr Graeme Wilson, SMHN has become a lynchpin for music and health research in Scotland, widely recognised as an authoritative community for researchers and practitioners.
To date, the Network has hosted a series of events with capacity audiences and its website has over 200 registered members.
Events to date - from papers to performances
SMHN events have brought together delegates from:
- international higher education organisations, including eleven in Scotland;
- a wide range of community music providers;
- healthcare professionals from Scottish NHS organisations including music therapists, nurses, consultants and GPs;
- representatives of patient organisations including Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, Pain Concern and three Clinical Research Networks;
- representatives of key funders including the Chief Scientist Office and Creative Scotland.
The first SMHN seminar, Mapping the Future for Music and Health Research in Scotland, highlighted Scottish research into musical interventions for stroke rehabilitation, pain management, improving quality of life with dementia and the amelioration of child trauma.
Performances from Limelight, Drake Music Scotland and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra illustrated how health benefits can arise from musical participation, even if not primarily a therapeutic activity.
A workshop saw delegates discuss research ideas with a panel including representatives from the Scottish Children’s Clinical Research Network, the CSO Patient Engagement Group and NHS research governance.
A second seminar, Developing Research on Music and Health, focused on innovative uses of music to benefit the health of adolescents, children in hospitals and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder or profound learning disabilities, with a performance by Edinburgh’s Cheyne Gang Choir for individuals with COPD demonstrating their innovative approach to offering a music activity as a referral for a specific condition.
A two-day international conference in Glasgow, with the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE), attracted 130 delegates and saw presentations from the UK, Philippines, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Australia and the USA on music applications targeting dementia care, ADHD, cancer, mental health and other conditions.
Most recently, the third SMHN seminar on Music as a Preventive Strategy for Public Health set out challenges to evaluating health impacts of community singing and instrumental music initiatives, with performances by Sing for Life Speyside and Sensatronic (SENSE Scotland) underlining the value of music for community health.