The 2014 International Travel Bursary for Music was presented to

Marie Claire Breen

to allow her to travel to New York to work with a classically trained singer who has the genetic condition, Cystic Fibrosis.

Read Marie Claire's full proposal HERE


From Marie Claire after her travels

The Saltire Society Bursary allowed me to travel to New York to meet and work with a classically trained singer who has the genetic condition, Cystic Fibrosis. I have a particular interest in this disease as I work closely with other sufferers of CF delivering one to one singing lessons on project called Breath Cycle. Our pilot run, which was medically researched, showed promising results that classical singing lessons had a positive impact on the health of Cystic Fibrosis lungs.

The project is ongoing and we are looking to expand the scheme into hospitals around Scotland and the north of England and we have hopes to have centres in Toronto and New York also. As the lead vocal instructor of this project I am responsible for developing and delivering a series of vocal exercises and techniques which are aimed at this particular group.

Casandra Jo Caminiti contacted me following the publication of Breath Cycle results and we struck up an email conversation about her condition and how she has managed to integrate singing into her life so well whilst living with Cystic Fibrosis. Being able to meet with her and work with her one to one was invaluable. Casandra has to perform up to 4 hours of airway clearance every day to keep her lungs in good condition, so I was keen to discuss which vocal exercises mirror those of the physio therapy exercises she performs on herself. We tried singing different exercises and breathing techniques and developed a couple of exercises together. Having her input to this project is extremely unique and useful as, of course, she is on both sides of the project. Understanding what physically happens to the lungs when singing with CF is vital for me and knowing how certain things feel when making sounds will make me a better teacher for this project and inspires me to develop new techniques to support and encourage and hopefully help our next generation of Cystic Fibrosis singers.


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