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1 March 2021
Following a pilot, the English National Opera (ENO) recently rolled out ENO Breathe: a partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust that combines musical and medical expertise to provide support to people suffering from long-COVID symptoms. In six weekly online group sessions, participants are guided by an ENO vocal specialist to retrain their breathing, with lullabies as a starting point.
In addition to learning practical tools for improving posture and breath control, the use of lullabies is aimed at helping people calm and soothe themselves. As explained by ENO, the breathing and singing exercises "use an approach that mirrors techniques employed by opera singers, who achieve the physical coordination required for singing via emotional connection and imagery, rather than by giving their bodies explicit physiological instructions."
ENO commissioned an independent evaluation to assess the program's efficacy, and 90% of participants reported positive improvement in their breathlessness; 91% of participants felt their levels of anxiety had dropped. There is no cost to take part in the program.
By helping those recovering from COVID-19 breathe more easily, ENO is demonstrating it has something to offer beyond staged operas. Which unique strengths could your organization employ for social good?