SingFit: Music Therapy for a Healthier and Happier Lifestyle
SingFit marries music and fitness into a fun and collaborative therapy program directed towards seniors. The SingFit concept was initially conceived by Lou Tubman in the 1960s. With the emergence of the iPod and soon following, the app infrastructure, recent advances in technology gave SingFit a broader distribution channel than Lou could have initially hoped for. SingFit co-founder and CEO, Rachel Francine, is a digital pioneer who, starting in 1996, helped lay the tracks of the Internet as a member of the CitySearch New Markets team. SingFit’s co-founder and Chief of Therapeutics and Music, Andy Tubman, is an internationally recognized, board-certified music therapist, and a noted authority and popular speaker on the subject of music and health. More than their separate parts, Andy and Rachel are Lou’s children. Lou instilled in his children a passion for changing the world through music and technology that continues to drive the business every day.
Rachel Francine walks us through how SingFit is changing lives and bringing happiness to seniors nationwide.
What is the science behind singing and health?
RF: SingFit leverages a rapidly growing body of science out of top labs that proves regular singing benefits many of our most critical health systems. These studies show regular singing is a whole-brain, cross-hemispheric workout, which experts agree is key to maintaining good neurological health as we age. Research also reveals that singing releases endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine to elevate mood, decrease anxiety and reduce pain, all without side effects or negative drug interactions. Singing also, in a manner similar to traditional physical exercise and mind/body practices including yoga and meditation, helps to positively regulate cortisol, respiration and heart-rate variability for better cardiovascular health and stress reduction!
How is SingFit designed to best fit the elderly demographic?
RF: We took established, evidence-based practices that music therapists have been using with seniors for decades to create turnkey programming that, in combination with our SingFit app and training, can be facilitated by in-house staff at senior-living communities with no previous musical training. These evidence-based practices that we turned into programming include themed playlists to help with focus, trivia to exercise semantic memory, movements to create cross-hemispheric brain activity and musical props such as shakers and scarves. Of course, all of the music is age- and era-appropriate and features songs familiar to seniors, including “Blue Moon,” “Hound Dog,” “Embraceable You,” and “Over the Rainbow.”
Are more people using SingFit individually or in group sessions?
RF: Thus far we have focused on our group programming, so most people use it in that environment. However, we are launching a new product with our partners at CDW that will allow seniors at Independent Living communities to use SingFit on their own to improve brain fitness.
I haven’t seen many competitors in the space. How have customers reacted?
RF: The most common question we get is “how much does it cost,” because once potential customers see a demo of SingFit PRIME with their residents, they immediately see and understand the benefits.
Are there other products or services SingFit has in the works?
RF: Within the senior sector we will be releasing a training program for the 8.9 million family members and friends who care for someone with dementia so they can use SingFit on a one-to-one basis. We are also looking at releasing a non-senior product in 2016 that we will be announcing later this year.