Singing with the Bushlarks

Who are the Bushlarks?

In April we started our new voice and singing activity for people with Parkinson’s, their carers and friends.  We call ourselves the Bushlarks, singing in the Bush Capital.   Come and join us!   It’s fun, it's therapeutic, it’s social,  and

there’s no audition needed … just come along and give it a try! They say laughter is the best medicine, but singing is just as good!


Why sing?

What's the problem?


People with Parkinson's commonly experience weakness in the various muscles used in speaking, whether respiration, voice production or lip and tongue control.  This can lead to difficulty with articulation, slurred speech, reduced volume and pitch, and breathy voice.  Difficulty in swallowing is also common: it uses some of these same muscles.


Speech and swallowing difficulties affect quality of life


Communication is more difficult, and people with Parkinson's often avoid situations which involve eating or drinking in public.  Swallowing difficulties slow your eating, and conversation while eating can be difficult.


Singing is therapeutic


Singing is a form of exercise directed at these weakened muscles.  It aims not only to improve speech and communication, but also to protect against some of the complications of swallowing by working the muscles involved with swallowing and respiratory control.

(Note: PACT is looking to involve a speech therapist to advise on exercises to complement the singing itself.)

Singing improves quality of life


Improved breathing, communication and swallowing facilitate the socialising which is so important to quality of life. Singing is in itself a social activity, of course, so it helps new friendship groups to form.


Singing is inclusive


Everyone can join in:  people with Parkinson's, partners, carers, family and friends. It has everything: it's fun, it's therapeutic, everyone can participate, group size is no problem, and it helps you get to know other members of PACT.  The more the merrier!

How one Bushlark described it ...

One of the Bushlarks put it like this.

How do we join in?

The Bushlarks are being instructed and led by well-known Canberra musician Chrissie Shaw  If you would like more information please contact Chrissie and leave your name, phone number and email address. Chrissie will reply with more details!

WHERE:                 St. Simon's Anglican Church,  Georgina Crescent, Kaleen

WHEN:                   Monday mornings (except public holidays) between 10am and 12 noon

                                (Also listed on our calendar).

COST:                     $10 per session (free for carers / partners).

CONTACT:             Chrissie Shaw: mobile 0407 079 748 or email:

Videos and references

Parkinson's singing groups are a popular activity around the world.

For example see:

a recent ABC 7:30 report on a Newcastle group: Shake, Rattle and Roll and a group from Snape Maltings in the UK..




If you would like to read on the topic we recommend this Parkinson's NSW flyer Shout or you'll be without

and a few articles for starters ...

Photo Gallery and Reports

A selection of photos and reports are here.