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Five Ways to Wellbeing

Engaging with music can be a useful tool in enhancing mental and physical wellbeing. Here are our top five ways to experience those feelgood musical moments with Opera North.

“We know how important music can be to people at all stages of their lives and how much it can help to forge connections, boost confidence and enhance wellbeing. With this range of activities, we’re looking to enable everyone to interact with music and performance in whichever way suits them best.”

– Jacqui Cameron, Education Director, Opera North

1. Learn a New Skill: From Couch to Chorus

From Wednesday 2 March, online

Achieving something new is a great way to boost self-esteem, so how about giving opera singing a go? This March, Opera North launches the latest in its pay-as-you-feel Couch to Chorus virtual singing sessions.

Over four weeks, would-be divas will master operatic repertoire from Bizet’s Carmen, Handel’s Alcina and Sullivan’s The Emerald Isle, all from the comfort of their own homes. It doesn’t matter if people have never sung a note before or have no idea how to read music, as they will be guided throughout by soprano and vocal animateur Marie Claire Breen.

Book now

The Basses singing during a Couch to Chorus session on Zoom.

2. Make New Friends: Sing ON

Mondays and Tuesdays, in Leeds and online

Sharing an enjoyable activity with others has been shown to build a sense of community and togetherness. When singing as a group, everyone’s breathing tends to fall into sync and there’s a general uplift in mood – and, of course, chatting with people afterwards is easier when you have a shared interest.

For people living in Leeds, the weekly Sing ON daytime choir sessions are a relaxed way to meet others who love to sing while tackling a range of musical styles from folk songs and show tunes to opera. Live further afield? The virtual version, Sing ONline, is held over Zoom and offers a similar opportunity to sing with others each week from a location of your choosing.

Book now

Sing ON Festive Get-together in the Howard Assembly Room © Tom Arber

3. Be Soothed by Singing: Enchanted Relaxed Concert

Sat 5 March at 4pm, Howard Assembly Room

Listening to classical music may be useful in helping to reduce stress and encouraging relaxation. Enchanted offers the chance to spend an hour in the company of two singers and a pianist enjoying some of opera’s most magical songs in an informal, friendly setting.

Designed particularly for children, neurodivergent adults and people with sensory or communication needs, low lighting will be left on throughout, there will be a choice of seating (including cushions and armchairs), and people will be free to move around as they wish.

Book now

A Little ONes session in the new Bramall Education Studio © Tom Arber

4. Remember the Good Times: Melodic Memories

Monthly with Peer Support Services, Howard Opera Centre

Research has shown that music can contribute to the wellbeing of those living with dementia by assisting in the retention of language skills, aiding memory recall, and facilitating communication in a creative, enjoyable way.

Opera North’s Melodic Memories sessions are held each month in the Bramall Education Studio. Participants enjoy refreshments and socialise together before taking part in a variety of activities led by professional musicians.

“The value of enabling people living with dementia to meet their peers in a friendly, welcoming setting and engage in meaningful activity in a relaxed and welcoming space can never be underestimated.”

– Deborah Marshall, Peer Support Service Coordinator

Enjoying a Melodic Memories session in the Bramall Education Studio at the Howard Opera Centre © Ernesto Rogata

5. Exercise to Music: ON After Hours

Friday 4 March at 6.30pm, Howard Assembly Room

After a tough day at work, an hour of yoga could be just the ticket. While previous After Hours sessions have focused on composition and performance, ON After Hours: Restorative yoga offers the chance to unwind with an hour of deeply relaxing poses led by Gerry Turvey and accompanied by John Ball playing the santoor, a North Indian stringed instrument.

“The link between the body and the mind is the breath and we will be focusing on self-care, well-being, staying present and finding inner joy.”

– Gerry Turvey, yoga teacher

With the original date selling out in days, another is already being planned later in the Spring.

ON After Hours: Restorative yoga in the Howard Assembly Room © Opera North

Opera North’s wellbeing work is generously supported by The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, The Emerald Foundation and The McLay Dementia Trust.


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