Project Summary


Statistics collated for a report on “Bronchial Boogie” show a definite improvement in the health of the participating children.

Bronchial Boogie is an innovative project devised and developed by Oldham’s Music Service and Health Service professionals, funded with a grant from The Children’s Fund.

The project offered a new approach using the teaching of wind instruments as a vehicle to bring children together to offer them health education and monitoring both general and respiratory specific.

A 20-year growth in the incidence of asthma diagnosed by General Practitioners peaked in the 1990s and is now 6 times higher in children than it was 25 years ago. 5.1 million people are currently being treated for asthma in the UK. 1,500 people die annually in the UK from asthma including 25 children. Confidential enquiries show sub-optimal care and poor adherence to medication can contribute to unnecessary death.

Oldham is the 38th most deprived local authority out of 354 authorities in England. Standard Mortality Ratio for respiratory disease is 36% higher in Oldham than the UK overall. Hospital admission rates for asthmatic children living in deprived wards are higher in comparison with more affluent wards. The wards targeted for this project showed above average hospital admission rates for children with asthma. These children lose significant time off school and suffer much morbidity.

The targeted asthmatic children were invited to come to an asthma club on one evening a week after school. After a being given a drink and fresh fruit they had a 30 minute group lesson on either flute clarinet or cornet which included breathing exercises and games. They also had a 30 minute group meeting with a School Health Advisor when respiratory health advice was provided through games and quizzes. Medication suitability and compliance was checked and parents were offered advice. During these sessions health statistics were gathered from weekly diaries kept by 30 children who completed the Bronchial Boogie pilot project.

The results show an impressive improvement in the children’s respiratory health.

Fewer children reported sleepless nights down from 90% to 47%, less frequent day symptoms down from 90% to 40% and children reported fewer activity symptoms down from 83% to 23%.

There was an increase in the number of children with a peak flow of >80% of predicted from 77% to 96% with 70% of children showing an improvement in peak flow rate and an improvement in average peak flow rate of 10%.

Initially 38% of children had some form of therapy change with 27% of children requiring inhaler device change due to poor technique.

This led to an increase in good inhaler technique from 67% to 100%, the number of children with good compliance increased from 70% to 90% and children using reliever medication less than once a day increased from 33% to 83%. The parents reported that symptoms had reduced: previous figures in brackets. Breathless now 30% (50%), coughing 40% (75%), sleep disturbance 40% (60%), school absence 5% (35%) and 15% (45%) difficulty taking part in sport.

The school teachers observed the children’s enjoyment of the sessions 

“Pupils attending the club regularly were enthusiastic and keen to improve musical skills alongside breathing techniques and asthma control.”

“The children involved have really enjoyed the sessions and are becoming proficient musicians.”

“They (the children) obviously enjoyed this judging by their keenness’ to take care of the instruments and none of them wanted to miss a session.” These outstanding results are encouraging us to continue beyond this initial pilot project phase. The Health Service PCT has expressed a willingness to fund the medical side of the project and the Music Service will continue to support the maintenance of the instruments. As were are issuing this report we have learned that the Children’s Fund will probably fund the cost of instrumental tuition fully for one more year and in part for a subsequent year.

A final quote from an asthmatic child

“I think the bronchial boogie was really good and made my asthma very better”.