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For Village Managers & Owners

Why do you think I need your a singing programme?

Singing programmes bring a different ethos to a village. The singing activity attracts 'fans' who come to listen and then slowly join in. Singers leave the session singing, which makes others smile. The singing sessions, over time, can develop into a choir, and perform in other sections of your village, or you can consider the 8-80 choir model and link with a local primary school choir. It is a cost effective way of introducing singing, with all of its physical health, mental health, and emotional health benefits.

We already have a singing programme.

Congratulations. You have already understood the benefits of singing to your residents. Does your singing programme reach all sectors of your village? For instance, do you now have a hospital or dementia unit where your singing programme is not in effect? Have a look at our "singing for dependent singers" programme. Does your programme run for independent people? What about dependent but sentient residents?

How can you compare singing programmes to exercise programmes?

In visiting villages throughout New Zealand, I have observed exercise sessions with 3-10 participants (maximum). At two sites where the proposed singing programme was run, the participant numbers grew to over 30. (In one large village there were 50 in the singing programme). One participant responded via a survey that 'I always feel like I have had a workout when I come to singing'. Singing is a very physical activity. It gives all the benefits of exercise, except fall prevention.

How do I find out what is working for other villages in the sector?

You will receive trends in the email updates that are sent to the villages and companies that have that as part of their programme. The more granular your programme choice, the more information you will receive. This allows you to implement new ideas regularly based on the lastest research from a trusted source.

Why not the old songs?

They have sung them over and over. Learning new songs gives a challenge that can be satisfying when mastered. It stimulates memory and brain function. Given the choice of new songs and better known older songs, one group who had experienced both programmes voted 100% in their preference for newer songs. For dementia sites, the old songs are what are being used, but the settings are completely different. The main programme stimulates those who are still sentient.

Why no overhead charges?

The package that you choose is all inclusive. We're also using the lastest cloud based IT technology to run our business and keep our costs low, to lower the barriers for villages to adopt our product because we believe in the power of singing and healthcare. We're only offering the $5 / week model until 1st July at which point we'll see if the model is sustainable. Take advantage of it now to lock the low fee in for 12 months.

Is the invoicing weekly?

Fees are payable in NZ$ and are billed every two months in advance. For the group model we offer a one bill model which decreases the administration cost to run the programme. All programmes can be cancelled at anytime, The group model does have a termination fee if the service is cancelled prior to the completion of a pilot programme.

How do I upgrade to the next level of support & service?

Send an email to  and you will receive a new contract. We are very pleased that you are enjoying the programme, and see the benefits of fuller support and information.

What are the costs?

There is a cost per week per village. Basic rates start at $5 per week, but that option comes with no ongoing support. Refer elsewhere on the website for the programmes, their costs and what is provided. By using Singing for Seniors you should be able to reduce your costs as costs reduce because less entertainers are required. At the same time the amount of singing in your village will increase.

What makes you a global leader?

Worked in, researched, and blogged about the sector for over 7 years. Musician for over 50 years. Consulted to The Sidney De Haan Centre in England, gained a scholarship to survey retirement choirs in the USA and report on them.  Masters paper on Ageing and Society at Waikato University. Established & led singing groups in two New Zealand villages. Set up singing programmes in 5 other New Zealand Villages. Presented at two RVA conferences. Published in Insite. Run 8-80 concert for the Hamilton Gardens Summer arts festival for four years. Musical director of the Bay Audiology RVA Festival of Choirs, occurring September 24/25 2013 in Wellington. PhD, MMus, BMus F.T.C.L. in singing, L.R.S.M. in piano, Dip Tch, Dip Theol. A.I.R.M.T.. Chairperson Waikato/Bay of Plenty Choral Federation branch, Council member for NEWZATS, (New Zealand Association for Teachers of Singing.) Musical Director of the Hamilton Chorale, The Pathways Choir (mental health service users and staff) and studio singing teacher 35 years. You have heard Dr Julie speak (and sing) at the RVA conferences in New Zealand over the last few years.

Are you affiliated with related organisations?

We are a member of The Retirement Villages Association of New Zealand Inc and have provided our resources to them for musical direction for the Bay Audiology Retirement Village Choirs’ Festival in 2013.

For Vocational Therapists

How does singing influence right & left brain function?

Because singing is both intellectual & emotional, & physical. in the seminar series you will find out more about this. It is not possible to sing without engaging the emotions, and using more breath. It is also why singing is so good for people with strokes, it sets up new neural pathways.

How do I recruit people to come and sing at the first session?

Find a time in your programme that the venue is available, that has minimal other events competing with it, and advertise. It would be good to find someone who is keen (your first respondent) and get them to 'talk it up'. Go into the first session having listened to the discs, and with lyrics prepared for participants, and a positive attitude. The music will do the rest.

What are the webinars about?

The first five will be about the basics of singing: posture, breathing, resonance, singer's mouth, the whole package, and how to keep that's natural and with no effort. The next 6 will be abut developing the singing programme further, with topics such as men and women singing differently, part songs via rounds. The topics will come out of the interaction that Dr Julie will have with the participants during the first 5 sessions.

Do I need to know about music to run this programme?

No you do not. You just need to be able to read. Instructions will come with the first pack, as to how to take the first session. After that, you are welcome (depending on your choice of product) to get in touch and ask what to do next :-)

What is the difference between the sing-along programme and the dependent senior programme?

The Singing for Seniors sing-a-long programme is for people who still have good brain function. It entertains, stretches, and gives seniors a stimulating experience, learning newer songs. For the dependent residents (dementia) it is the old songs that ring in their brain, and they are more likely to get enjoyment from the old songs that they knew & sang. They also get just singalong, not a karaoke disc. Hearing the dependant singing disc regularly will give them chance to remember and join in.

I can't sing.

Firstly you probably can, but if someone with authority (or a spouse) told you that you can't, that can be highly consequential. To run the programme, this does not matter. You can play the discs, and simply listen. If you would like to find out that yes, you can sing, get in touch with Dr Julie, who teaches singing via Skype. The first session is free, so you have nothing to lose.

How can the residents run the sessions after the first session?

They will understand the difference between the singalong and karaoke discs. They will have the lyric sheets for all of the songs. They can decide which song to learn next, take the discs and practise themselves. I would encourage you to be the main coordinator, but giving responsibility to two or three others who can fill in if you are busy, can be empowering.

Why are the songs recorded lower and slower?

Because, on the whole, senior voices do not have as wide a vocal range. Recording the songs slower allows for good vocal tone to be developed, and the resultant enjoyment of the singing experience. The vibration of singing long vowel sounds has a very positive effect on the brain. (Find out more in the first seminar series)

What can I expect from the Seminar series?

The first seminar will be a more in-depth look at the benefits of singing, including seeing the effects of singing on the brain. Research will be brought in from other institutions looking at singing and health, and there will be space for questions, comments and some discussion.
The seminars are designed to inform rather than up-skill. That will happen in the Monthly Monday sessions.
Future topics will include:
1. The ageing voice, what it looks like and how it functions.
2. What programmes are running elsewhere for seniors and singing. We know about young@heart, and a Song for Marion, but what is happening under the radar? More than you think :-)
3. A view of the aged care in New Zealand and how Harmonic Health is helping keep people healthy through singing.

In this first seminar series you will discover what other villages are doing with singing programmes.

For Residents

What is Choirs for Seniors?

In working with village choirs, we found that they wanted to improve their singing, wanted to improve their breathing and posture, and wanted to increase their vocal range. Initially we surmised that the therapeutic benefits of singing would be enough. But some of these people wanted much more. The chance to put on concerts in their own facility was exciting. (see our YouTube channel). But there was even more excitement and thrill to go offsite to perform. One village choir from Hamilton went to Auckland to perform at a sister village, and there was great hilarity on the trip there & back. Both villages have had the privilege of singing as part of the 8 to 80 concert as part of the Hamilton Gardens Summer Arts Festival. (Joining with a primary school choir and performing separately & together) We helped establish choirs at the Edmund Hillary village in Auckland, the Richmond Villas and Tararu Village in Thames, and the Althorp village in Tauranga. The programme has come about because it is not easy to get the expertise available, at a time appropriate to the village, to train a choir. With the discs, people can take them home/ to their room and learn the songs. You are no longer tied to someone else's timetable. If you sing in a choir outside of the facility you can use this to organise your friends in the facility. This product is for you to run yourself.

Can I be involved if I have a disability?

Yes you can. Wheelchair bound people have been involved, blind people have been involved, Parkinson's people have been involved. Being seated is the default position to sing in.

Can I be involved if I have asthma?

Learning how to relax and take a low breath is basic to singing. You will haves chance to retrain your breathing, even if it is not something that you can, at first, sustain outside of singing.

Can I be involved if I have had a stroke?

Singing is ideal for people who have had strokes. Singing is part of the therapy that is used in hospitals, as it sets up new neural pathways to access speech, and cognitive activity.

Can I suggest songs that we can get on our next disc?

If your village is on the programme that allows for this then you are encouraged to do so. If you are not, then I am sorry but it is not possible, unless your village upgrades their programme. If you need to know which programme you are on, email us at and tell me the name of your village.

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Have More Questions? call us on +64 9 390 4564 anytime,
or click the blue envelope to send us an email.
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