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The trial and its aims

People with aphasia often report poor psychosocial health, including reduced social participation, social isolation, and lower levels of overall wellbeing. Our project will pilot a new group singing intervention for improving psychosocial health in people with aphasia. The intervention will support individuals in developing the social skills and confidence needed to improve psychosocial outcomes.

We will undertake a pilot study that will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of procedures to inform the design and delivery of a definitive trial of Singing for Aphasia (SPA), which would assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of SPA for people with aphasia.

Listen to Jane talk about being part of a Singing with Aphasia group and her experience of being involved with the research project:


Who will be involved?

Participants in the trial will:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a diagnosis of aphasia after stroke
  • Be willing to be randomised to either control or SPA (and able to attend the singing venue)
  • Have been a conversational English speaker pre-morbidly
  • Have capacity to consent
  • Not currently receive any speech and language therapy
  • Not currently participate in any other singing groups of lifestyle interventions


What is the study about?

Half of our participants will be randomly assigned to the SPA group. They will receive an aphasia resource book and attend the singing programme. SPA is based in a community centre/facility with 10 weekly singing group sessions. Each session lasts 90 minutes, comprising 30 minutes of settling in/wrap-up and departure, and 60 minutes of group singing. Sessions will be led by a community music leader, co-facilitated by a person with aphasia ('music champion'), and involve the group singing songs from a songbook. Small auxiliary percussion instruments (e.g. shakers, tambourines) will be available for participants to play.

Half of the participants will be randomly allocated to the control group and receive only the aphasia resource book.


Benefits and risks of participating

People in the intervention group may experience improvements in confidence and wellbeing. People may find the singing groups a little tiring.


Where is the study taking place?

The study will be taking place in two sites:

  • Exeter
  • Plymouth
  • South Devon


When is study starting and how long is it expected to run for?

The study starts recruiting in June 2017 and the first singing group will aim to start in Plymouth in September 2017. The South Devon singing group will start in November 2017. The study will end in December 2018.

Participants will be recruited from local stroke groups, word-of mouth, and via clinical routes (e.g. community speech and language therapists).



The trial is funded by the Stroke Association.


Contact Details

The trial is being run from the University of Exeter Medical School. Please contact Raff or Mary for further information.

The Chief Investigator for the trial is Dr Mark Tarrant 

The Trial Manager is Dr Raff Calitri 

The Trial Researcher is Mary Carter.


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