Name: Shelly CoyneShelly Coyne

PhD Title : Exploring the world of choirs and community singing groups with singers who have experienced homelessness

Departments: Music and Sociology

Supervisors: Prof. Raymond MacDonald, Dr Niamh Moore & Dr Katie Overy




Community Musician and Choir Leader Shelly has been working in local communities for over 15 years, leading community choirs and training other musicians, children and teachers in best practice. Her primary focus has been working with singers affected by issues associated with poverty and homelessness and has worked in prisons, setting up a choir in HMP Cornton Vale.   She completed her Masters in Music in the Community at Edinburgh University in 2009 then worked for Sing Up, the National Singing Programme at The Sage Gateshead. In 2010 she set up and managed the successful Community Music charity Givin’ it Laldie in Glasgow, seeking to address poverty, poor health and Sectarianism though community singing.

Shelly has undertaken a SGSAH funded internship with the International Arts and Homelessness Movement, conducting a National Review of Arts and Homelessness in Scotland with a team of co-researchers with lived experience of homelessness.


Research Interests

Shelly’s research interests are concerned with the experiences and perceptions of marginalised participants singing in choirs and community singing groups.

Her doctoral research focuses on exploring the role of choirs and singing groups for singers who have experienced homelessness and the role the groups play in the life of these singers. She travelled to Rio in July 2016 with With One Voice interviewing and meeting participants and choir leaders from 11 homeless choirs as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Previous research project was in Thethi in Albania, looking at the impact of learning a second language through singing entitled, What is the Effect of Using Music and Singing with Albanian Children Learning English as a Foreign Language.

Her research draws on Psychology of Music and Sociology and considers Community Music, Music Therapy, Community Music Therapy and Music Education. She is currently exploring themes of identity and Music Asylum (DeNora, 2013).


Musical Interests 

Shelly (mis)spent much for her 20’s and 30’s singing in various bands, performing around Lancashire and singing and arranging songs for her a capella group Cat’s Chorus. She plays the piano and accordion, was a member of the Edinburgh University Balkan Music project and continues to lead community choirs in Glasgow.



  • Teaching Foreign Languages through Songs
  • Teaching Music in Prisons

A credited contributor to two publications developed by the Institute for IMHSD in 2009.

  • Singing Well-being and Health: Context, Evidence and Practice.

Credited developer and contributor to three singing resources, produced by The Sidney de Haan Research Centre at Canterbury Christchurch University entitled,

  • Sing UpYoung Singing Leaders (2011), a co-writer of a training manual


Invited Lectures & Conference Presentations

July 2017 – Presented at the 2nd SIMM-posium, Social Impact of Music Making at the Guildhall of school of Music and Dance

June 2017 – Presented at the Reid School of Music PhD Student Symposium

June 2017 – Presented at the SGSAH 2nd Year Symposium event

April 2017 – Presented at Annual New Directions conference in the Sociology Department at Edinburgh University April 2017

October 2015 – Presented at Scottish Music and Health Network / SEMPRE, Glasgow

Sept 2011 – Presented at SEMPRE, Canterbury.


Funding Awarded

2017 – SGSAH Student Development Fund – £1115

Reid School of Music awards – £220

Edinburgh College of Art – £400

2016 – SEMPRE / The Gerry Farrell Travel Award – £2000

Gwen Clutterbuck Award – £1000

Principles Go Abroad Fund – £500

Edinburgh College of Art – £200

2015 – AHRC DTP Studentship 3 years funding

2009 – Edinburgh School of Music Travel Scholarship £800



2017 – Tutor at Edinburgh University on the Psychology of Music Undergraduate course

2017 – SGSAH Student Internship Mentor

2016 and 2017 – Guest lecturer at Edinburgh College. Lecture entitled. Singing and Homelessness : Community Choir Participation for Singers Who Have Experienced Homelessness.

2010 – Guest lecturer on the Folk and Traditional Music Degree at Newcastle University

2010 – present – Training community choir leaders

2001 – 2008 – Teaching national curriculum Music to primary and secondary school and GCSE students.



Manage the timetable and events for Professor MacDonald’s student research group.

Treasurer and Board member of the Glasgow charity, Hear My Music