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There is a growing body of neurological, cognitive, and social psychological research to suggest the possibility of positive transfer effects from structured musical engagement. In particular, there is evidence to suggest that engagement in musical activities may impact on social inclusion (sense of self and of being socially integrated). Tackling social exclusion and promoting social inclusion are common concerns internationally, such as in the UK and the EC, and there are many diverse Government ministries and agencies globally that see the arts in general and music in particular as a key means by which social needs can be addressed. As part of a wider evaluation of a national, Government-sponsored music education initiative for Primary-aged children in England ("Sing Up"), opportunity was taken by the authors, at the request of the funders, to assess any possible relationship between (a) children's developing singing behavior and development and (b) their social inclusion (sense of self and of being socially integrated). Subsequently, it was possible to match data from n = 6087 participants, drawn from the final 3 years of data collection (2008-2011), in terms of each child's individually assessed singing ability (based on their singing behavior of two well-known songs to create a "normalized singing score") and their written responses to a specially-designed questionnaire that included a set of statements related to children's sense of being socially included to which the children indicated their level of agreement on a seven-point Likert scale. Data analyses suggested that the higher the normalized singing development rating, the more positive the child's self-concept and sense of being socially included, irrespective of singer age, sex and ethnicity.
Content may be subject to copyright.
published: 29 July 2014
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00803
Singing and social inclusion
Graham F. Welch1*, Evangelos Himonides1, Jo Saunders 1, Ioulia Papageorgi2and Marc Sarazin3
1Department of Culture, Communication and Media, International Music Education Research Centre, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK
2Department of Social Sciences, University of Nicosia, Nicosia, Cyprus
3Department of Education, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Edited by:
Matthew A. Wyon, University of
Wolverhampton, UK
Reviewed by:
Imogen Aujla, University of
Bedfordshire, UK
Antoinette Van Staden, Self, South
Graham F. Welch, Department of
Culture, Communication and Media,
Institute of Education, International
Music Education Research Centre,
University of London, 20 Bedford
Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK
There is a growing body of neurological, cognitive, and social psychological research to
suggest the possibility of positive transfer effects from structured musical engagement. In
particular, there is evidence to suggest that engagement in musical activities may impact
on social inclusion (sense of self and of being socially integrated). Tackling social exclusion
and promoting social inclusion are common concerns internationally, such as in the UK
and the EC, and there are many diverse Government ministries and agencies globally that
see the arts in general and music in particular as a key means by which social needs can
be addressed. As part of a wider evaluation of a national, Government-sponsored music
education initiative for Primary-aged children in England (“Sing Up”), opportunity was
taken by the authors, at the request of the funders, to assess any possible relationship
between (a) childrens developing singing behavior and development and (b) their social
inclusion (sense of self and of being socially integrated). Subsequently, it was possible
to match data from n=6087 participants, drawn from the final 3 years of data collection
(2008–2011), in terms of each child’s individually assessed singing ability (based on their
singing behavior of two well-known songs to create a “normalized singing score”) and
their written responses to a specially-designed questionnaire that included a set of
statements related to childrens sense of being socially included to which the children
indicated their level of agreement on a seven-point Likert scale. Data analyses suggested
that the higher the normalized singing development rating, the more positive the child’s
self-concept and sense of being socially included, irrespective of singer age, sex and
Keywords: singing, development, Sing Up, self-concept, social inclusion, children
According to their published policies, one of the major con-
cerns of many contemporary Governments and international
organizations is social cohesion. The United Nations’ policy on
“sustainable development,” for example, has social inclusion as
a prime objective for the “wellbeing of individuals and soci-
eties” (UN General Assembly, 2013,p.12).InAustralia,aSocial
Inclusion Board was appointed during the period 2008–2013 to
generate regular reports on the Government’s stated commit-
ment to supporting increased social inclusion (Australian Social
Inclusion Board, 2010).IntheEuropeanUnion(EU),theSocial
Protection Committee of the European Commission continues to be
an advisory policy committee that monitors social conditions in
the EU and produces annual reports. Recently, this EC Committee
commented that “the social situation in the EU is worsening” in
2012, with nearly one quarter of the population “at risk of poverty
or social exclusion in the EU” (2013, p. 8). This equates to 120
million people (Agilis, 2012) and includes 27% of all children in
Europe and 20.5% of those over 65.
In a related policy initiative, EC Member States established
an EU Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion to
evaluate each country’s social aspects of their official National
Reform Programmes (NRPs). The EU Network’s initial report
(Frazer and Marlier, 2011, pp. 5–7) suggested that “in many
instances, the social inclusion measures proposed in the NRPs
are imprecise or aspirational in nature... Many Member States
still need to develop better targeted social inclusion mea-
sures and to develop specific strategies to reach the most
Social exclusion is defined as “... a process whereby certain
individuals are pushed to the edge of society and prevented from
participating fully by virtue of their poverty, or lack of basic com-
petencies and lifelong learning opportunities, or as a result of
discrimination” (EC, 2009). In contrast, social inclusion is “...
a process which ensures that those at risk of poverty and social
exclusion gain the opportunities and resources necessary to par-
ticipate fully in economic, social, and cultural life and to enjoy
a standard of living and wellbeing that is considered normal in
the society in which they live” (EC, op.cit.). In the UK, for exam-
ple, 26% of the total child population in 2006 were considered
to be at risk of poverty (Eurostat—EU-SILC, 2006), based on
data provided by the UK Government and with the implication
that such risk would impact negatively on health, education and
life expectancy. By 2012, 18% of UK children were reported to
be living in households with relatively low income, associated
with limited access to household materials, joblessness and social
deprivation (EC, 2013), and with 120,000 families experiencing
multiple problems (DWP, 2012). July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |1
Welch et al. Singing and social inclusion
In terms of schooling, social inclusion is seen as important in
an educational context because schools are expected to facilitate
the process whereby all children are able to access and be success-
ful in terms of the education programme being offered and also
to use this as a basis for their current and future full engagement
with the wider social culture (Rosenberg, 1989; Frederickson
and Furnham, 2001; Alexiadou, 2002; Mannion, 2003). From
a sociological perspective, therefore, poverty should be consid-
ered to be an important potential contributor to an individual’s
sense of social exclusion. Also implicated are the social structures
and values inherent in society’s systems of relative social power
(Allman, 2013), such as embedded in educational policies and
organizational behaviors.
Despite such challenges, there is also a range of research
evidence to suggest that social disadvantage can be overcome,
especially where the home and school environments are nur-
turing. For example, academic progress up to the first years of
secondary school that defies the odds of disadvantage is stimu-
lated in homes where parenting is a process of “active cultivation
(Siraj-Blatchford et al., 2011, p. 70). This facilitates and nur-
tures children’s cognitive and social skills, thus allowing children
to benefit from what the educational system has to offer, such
as provided in good or excellent quality pre-school settings, a
combination that promotes resilience in the face of adversity (cf.
O’Dougherty Wright et al., 2013).
Given the political emphasis on fostering social inclusion, it is
not surprising that there have been a number of related initiatives
to address this concern, including one strand that has focused
on intervention through engagement in the arts. In the U.S., for
example, the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration
with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recently
commissioned a report into “the arts and human development”
(Hanna et al., 2011). This followed a “national showcasing” in
Washington of U.S. programmes that were reported to provide
evidence of positive cognitive, social, and behavioral outcomes
from arts interventions for different age groups, such as chil-
dren in low-income and “at risk” families (Brown et al., 2010),
adolescents (Catterall, 2009) and older adults (Noice and Noice,
A similar research-based public advocacy-related document
emerged from evaluative research in New South Wales, Australia
(Vaughan et al., 2011). The investigation included both a system-
atic review of previous research studies, as well as the collection
and synthesis of new evaluative data on underserved communi-
ties. The summative findings illustrated the association of arts
and music programmes on a wide range of behaviors, includ-
ing academic achievement (English, mathematics, science and
technology) and social-emotional wellbeing. In England, the
Government’s “National Plan for Music Education” (DFE, 2011)
cites evidence of the social value of music as part of its rationale
for promoting the national provision of systematic and high qual-
ity music education in the lives of all children and young people.
Elsewhere, other studies have reported positive impacts of musical
activities on social development, such as an enhanced self-concept
for pupils in lower socio-economic settings (cf. Catterall et al.,
1999), and increased positive social-emotional capacities, such as
empathy (Rabinowitch et al., 2013).
Music’s social benefits are also reported as an outcome of var-
ious adult music programmes, such as in the study of choral
activity with a group of homeless men in Canada (Bailey and
Davidson, 2002), the social bonding of male singers in Iceland
(Faulkner and Davidson, 2006), and in a New Zealand-based
cross-cultural study of the apparent universality of the social
bonding function of music, such as through shared music pref-
erences (Boer, 2009).Thereisalsoanextensiveresearch-based
literature emerging into the impact of music participation on
wellbeing and health in the elderly (e.g., Teater and Baldwin,
2014;seeClift and Hancox, 2010; Creech et al., 2013b for
reviews). Self-reported benefits are evidenced in a Korean study
of undergraduate non-vocalists (Chong, 2010). Almost all (98%)
of the participants enjoyed singing (although 8% preferred to
do this when alone). The reasons cited for their enjoyment of
singing included self-expression, esthetic experience, interper-
sonal relation- ships, stress reduction/mood change, spirituality,
empowerment/identity, and self-actualization.
Additionally, there is also emerging evidence from the field
of neuroscience concerning social behavior, such as related to
mapping the underlying neural mechanisms that support social
behaviors and attachment (e.g., Nelson et al., 2005; Bartz and
Hollander, 2006; Cirelli et al., 2013). Related literature reviews
propose a neurobiological role for music in fostering integration
through communal music activity (Freeman, 2000)andinthe
psychology of well-being (Croom, 2012), believed to be related
to what is currently known concerning the underlying neuro-
chemistry of music (Chanda and Levitin, 2013). A concept of
“empathic creativity” has been used to highlight the psychologi-
cal power of successful music making with others where empathy
and creativity are core attributes (Cross et al., 2012).
Concerning the younger generation, one global international
organization whose stated mission emphasizes social inclusion
through a raft of diverse music programmes is Jeunesses Musicales
International, with member organizations in 45 countries (JMI,
2010). Another, slightly more recent and widespread global ini-
tiative with social inclusion at its core relates to the accrual of
social benefits emerging from children’s and young people’s col-
lective instrumental learning, both within and inspired by the El
Sistema programme in Venezuela. “A core aim of El Sistema is to
effect social change through the provision of musical and intel-
lectual opportunities for young people from poor and vulnerable
communities who would not otherwise access such experiences.
(Creech et al., 2013a, p. 17). This recent review estimated that
there are at least 277 Sistema and Sistema-type programmes
across 58 countries, with widespread reports that this particular
approach to instrumental music learning supports social, emo-
tional, and cognitive wellbeing through, inter alia, the acquisition
of social capital and the development of interpersonal relation-
ships, linked to a sense of collective and shared purpose—the
orchestra as a community. One example is the Orchestra of the
Americas for Social Inclusion (known as OASIS Caribbean), an
orchestra programme for young people considered to be “at risk”
in the Caribbean region (Harvey and McNeilly, 2012).
The use of the lens of social capital theory is also evidenced in
its application in other studies of the social impact of arts partic-
ipation. This theory considers, inter alia, intra- and inter-familial
Frontiers in Psychology | Cognitive Science July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |2
Welch et al. Singing and social inclusion
relationships, as well as their communal interactions, and the
possible influences on health and wellbeing. A recent system-
atic review of twenty-two peer-reviewed studies concluded that,
after poverty, social capital (e.g., within the family and commu-
nity) was one of the best predictors of children’s welfare, having
an impact on mental and physical health, educational attain-
ment and labor-market participation (Ferguson, 2006). However,
another study argued that not all participants gain equally from
arts participation in terms of social inclusion. This smaller scale,
short-term longitudinal study examined of a group of children
participating communally in a UK Government flagship singing
programme (Sing Up) in NE England (Hampshire and Matthijsse,
2010). The authors report that most of the children benefited
from the experience, with participation being instrumental in
improving emotional and social wellbeing, and providing oppor-
tunities to develop social capital. For a minority, however, being
members of a communal music programme outside their imme-
diate peer and friendship groups posed risks to their established
social networks.
Other research that reports findings of particular social ben-
efits accruing through participation in music includes evidence
that sustained, formal piano lessons can support the development
of children’s self-esteem (Costa-Giomi, 2004). Similar findings
were reported in an intervention study with controls of spe-
cialized school-based music classes in Australia (Rickard et al.,
2013)andIsrael(Portowitz et al., 2009). Music is also reported to
have beneficial impacts on health and psychosocial wellbeing in a
wide range of other, non-school contexts and across the lifespan
(cf. MacDonald et al., 2012; MacDonald, 2013). These include
hospitals (Preti and Welch, 2011; Preti, 2013), prisons (Henley
et al., 2012), young offender institutions (Smeijesters et al., 2011;
Barrett and Baker, 2012) and choral settings (Langston and
Barrett, 2008; Dingle et al., 2013).
One novel approach was evidenced in an EC-funded study
across four countries (Finland, England, Switzerland and Greece)
that investigated how to use the attractiveness and power of new
mobile phone technology and children’s widespread interest in
music to create a new tool that would enable children to have
fun making music, whilst improving their knowledge and skills,
and fostering their sense of social inclusion (Fredrikson et al.,
2009; Myllykoski and Paananen, 2009). The research was targeted
at particular groups of children at risk of social exclusion, par-
ticularly those with moderate learning difficulties or who were
newly immigrant to their host communities. As part of the eval-
uation phase of the project’s social inclusion research tools, data
emerged from participants (n=110) drawn from four schools
(two in England and two in Finland) to indicate that the higher
the number of days per week that the children either played a
musical instrument or sang with their friends, the more likely they
were to report themselves as socially included (Rinta et al., 2011a).
One integral facet of an individual’s sense of being socially
included (or not) is that this perception is interwoven with their
overall self-concept, such as how they view themselves (self-
esteem, e.g., Rosenberg, 1989), their personal sense of agency
in getting things done (self-efficacy, e.g., Bandura, 1997)andof
their self-regulation and communication skills (e.g., Frederickson
and Furnham, 2001). Links between self-concept and social
inclusion are also theorized as integral to Ryan and Deci’s (2000)
self-motivation theory, based on three basic categories of psy-
chological needs: competence, a sense of relatedness to others
self has a musical correlate as part of an individual’s self-view.
For example, self-efficacy is important to both persistence and
achievement in music (Eccles et al., 1993; Schmidt et al., 2006;
Ritchie and Williamon, 2011), whilst McPherson and McCormick
(2006) also report direct links between self-efficacy and measures
related to the study of music, such as time spent in formal and
informal practice, self-regulation in practice, and overall music
achievement level. Furthermore, social interaction during music
making activities is reported to play an essential role in facili-
tating social and musical development (Young, 2003; Wiggins,
2007). Such interaction is a common feature of early childhood,
where musical games and music-based rituals between caregivers
and infants are a major source of building up supportive and
healthy social attachments, as well as for stimulating language
and intellectual development (e.g., Papousek, 1996; Dissanayake,
2008; Trevarthen, 2008).
As can be seen from the various studies reported above, there
have been considerable national and international policy initia-
tives to foster social inclusion, as well as a wide range of related
studies investigating the potential and actual social benefits of
arts and music-based interventions. In an associated policy ini-
tiative, the (then) UK Government initiated a “Music Manifesto”
in 2004, sponsored by the Ministries for Education (DCSF) and
Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to campaign “to ensure that
all children and young people have access to high quality music
education1.” Under the umbrella of the “Music Manifesto” in
England (Music Manifesto, 2006), one major initiative focused
on Primary school-aged children’s singing. A four-year, £40 m
National Singing Programme Sing Up was officially launched
in November 2007 with the intention of ensuring that singing
became part of Early Years and Primary education for all chil-
dren in England by 20122
, a cultural programme initiative that was
designed to link, in part, to wider preparations for the London-
based Olympic Games. Prior to the official launch, a team from
the Institute of Education, University of London, led by the first
author, was appointed to undertake a research evaluation of key
elements of the Sing Up Programme. The agreed research focus
was primarily on whether the various strands of the Sing Up
programme in combination (which included, for example, work-
force development for teachers and community musicians, the
development of a web-based song bank resource, an awards pro-
gramme for schools, as well as initiatives involving school-based
collaboration with singing specialists) were impacting positively
on (a) the singing behavior and development of the participant
children and (b) the children’s attitudes toward singing (an aspect
of the research that is not reported here in this article because of
its length requirements). In subsequent discussions, the funders
also requested an additional focus. This concerned (c) a mea-
sure of children’s self-concept and sense of being socially included
1See originally
retrieved 21 August 2009.
2See originally retrieved 2 September 2009. The
incoming coalition Government subsequently extended the programme for
one further year (2011–2012) at an additional cost of £4 m. July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |3
Welch et al. Singing and social inclusion
in order to seek a possible indicator of a specific “wider bene-
fit” that might arise from being involved in the National Singing
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that children’s
singing behavior is subject to developmental processes that are
mediated by maturation, experience and socio-cultural context
(e.g., Welch, 1986, 2006, 2009; Welch et al., 1997). In general,
older children tend to be more skilled in their singing behaviors,
such that only a small minority continue have difficulty in singing
in-tune by the age of eleven. Progress in singing competency is
observable through significant changes in singing behavior and
these changes can be mapped on the basis of published devel-
opmental frameworks of children’s singing, grounded in empir-
ical data (cf. Rutkowski, 1997; Welch, 1998; Mang, 2006). Such
research-based studies recognize that a child that can become
significantly more accomplished in their singing in a socially
nurturing singing environment.
A review of the literature on social inclusion (Rinta et al.,
2011b) reported that social inclusion is a multifaceted concept
that embraces an interconnection between sociological and psy-
chological factors (e.g., Atkinson et al., 2002; Micklewright, 2002;
Baumeister et al., 2005; Twenge et al., 2007). Accordingly, the cur-
rent study drew on this multifaceted conception to investigate
aspects of social inclusion by drawing on related aspects of chil-
dren’s social self-concept. These embraced statements related to
self-esteem (drawing on the work of Fitts, 1964; Rosenberg, 1989;
Thornberry et al., 1994), self-efficacy (Nowicki and Strickland,
1973; Nowicki and Walker, 1973; Vispoel, 1994) and children’s
sense of being socially integrated (Fitts, 1964; Haeberlin et al.,
1989; Achenbach, 1991), i.e., a broad pedagogical definition of
pupils’ sense of being socially included that embraced a personal
self-view in the context of others. For the purposes of the current
article, the term social inclusion is being treated as one concept
that draws on sense of self and of being socially integrated.
This additional research focus was woven into the design of
the participant children’s attitudinal data collection to explore its
possible relationship with their assessed singing behavior. Overall,
the key research question that is the focus for this paper was: Is
there any wider attitudinal benefit in terms of the children’s self-
concept and sense of being socially included being evidenced in
relation to data on the same children’s individually assessed song
singing behavior and development?
Across the four years of Sing Up (2007–2011), the Institute of
Education research team visited 184 schools nationally and col-
lected individual singing data from 11,258 children. Some of
nal focus, resulting in a total of 13,096 assessments of individual
children’s singing being made. Schools were selected on the basis
of being located in major cities and adjacent populations areas,
supplemented by schools in other urban, suburban and rural set-
tings. Choice was guided through professional contacts with Local
Authority music advisors and university music education col-
leagues who were asked for advice on possible participant schools,
diverse range of school singing “cultures” were accessed, that is,
schools with a known history of good singing and those without.
There were also a number of Cathedral Choir Schools that were
contacted directly.
In terms of ethical procedures, all participants (headteachers,
teachers and pupils) had the purpose of the assessment explained
in advance and this was in writing to the school using a spe-
cially prepared leaflet that was designed to use language in an
age-appropriate way for the children. Each child was provided
with a copy of the leaflet prior to participation for themselves and
their parents and the school also took responsibility for explain-
ing the research purpose and process, in line with English law
where headteachers are empowered to act on behalf of the chil-
dren’s parents, a responsibility that is normally confirmed in
writing by the parents/carers at the beginning of each school year.
Under our ethical guidelines (based on BERA, 2004)weguaran-
teed anonymity to all participants and told them that they were
allowed to withdraw from the assessment process at any time that
they felt uncomfortable, for any or no reason. Participation was
invited and not compulsory and children could ask to opt out if
they did not wish to have their singing assessed.
Children’s singing behavior and development were assessed
individually by the application of a specially designed protocol.
As well as aspects of children’s spoken pitch and vocal range, the
protocol required a member of the research team to assess each
individual child’s performance of two well-known songs against
two established rating scales of singing development (Rutkowski,
1997; Welch, 1998—see Mang, 2006; Welch et al., 2012a for
more detail) and combining the resultant data into a “normalized
singing score” out of 100 to facilitate easy comparison between
children. In essence, a normalized singing score of 95+indi-
cated that a child was able to sing the two focus songs in-tune,
with accurate rhythm, pitch and lyrics across an extended singing
range. Singing development was assessed by noting any changes
in singing ability (as measured) principally by comparison with
children of the same and different ages.
Data were collected from approximately equal numbers of
girls (52%) and boys (48%), with 1:4 children coming from eth-
nic minority groups (i.e., in line with the proportions in official
DCSF/DCMS statistics data for the population demographics of
English Primary schools). Overall, as an intended part of the
research design, 95% of the assessed children were aged from the
age range 7+to 10+years. If the class teacher felt that support was
needed with reading and understanding in the questionnaire task
(see below), help was provided by the teacher and/or the child’s
usual teaching assistants.
The research process embraced two main sub-categories of
participants within the overall data set, i.e., (i) children with expe-
rience of Sing Up initiatives at the time of their singing assessment
(equating to 69% of the final dataset)3and (ii) children without
3Children’s experience of Sing Up could be in one or more of several strands
within the programme, such as (a) their teachers (class teachers or community
musicians) participating in the national Sing Up “workforce development”
programme to improve the teaching of singing in schools and community set-
tings; and/or (b) using a new specially designed on-line resource to support
singing teaching and learning—the Song Bank; and/or having sustained spe-
cialist singing teaching input in their school—such as provided by the Choir
School Association’s Chorister Outreach Programme or Ex Cathedra’s Singing
Playgrounds initiative.
Frontiers in Psychology | Cognitive Science July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |4
Welch et al. Singing and social inclusion
any Sing Up experience at the time of their assessment (31% of
the final dataset)4.
Children were visited at their schools and their singing behav-
iors were assessed individually in a quiet, familiar space identified
by the school’s headteacher and/or music coordinator. Each child
was taken through the assessment protocol, normally being tested
individually within a small group of between 2 and 4 children
that was drawn from the class. This allowed the other members of
shown previously to be an appropriate method of accessing bet-
ter quality responses than individual testing alone (cf. Plumridge,
1972). Children tended to be less nervous and, if shy, able to
understand more clearly what was expected of them by listening
no starting pitch was given for the song items and, although the
member of the research team provided verbal encouragement to
the child, they did not offer any sung prompt (cf. as advised by
Mang, 2006). All children completed the assessments and none
were excluded from the study.
The large numbers of participants necessitated a team-based
approach to the data collection. Consequently, at the beginning of
the research process, initial fieldwork was designed to allow mod-
eration of team members’ judgments. Members of the research
team underwent initial training on sampled items in the assess-
ment protocol, then completed a school visit in pairs prior to
making visits on their own. The validity and ease of use of the
assessment protocol was established through a short piloting pro-
cess prior to commencement of the main data collection. The
piloting process involved two members of the research team vis-
iting a local Primary school and using the draft protocol to make
digital audio recordings of individual children of different ages.
The resultant vocal products were then put online, duplicated and
randomized and then rated by both themselves and other mem-
bers of the team according to the two assessment scales for singing
behavior and development (Rutkowski, 1997; Welch, 1998). The
rating results were compared statistically and this revealed a close
agreement amongst the team members [Kendall’s Coefficient of
Concordance, W(5,19) =0.91, p<0.0001].
In addition to the individual singing assessment, all partici-
pant children were also asked to complete a specially designed
questionnaire that explored their attitudes to various aspects of
singing5(Tabl e 1 ). From the second year of data collection (2008–
2009), the questionnaire was revised at the funder’s request to
include an additional measure of possible other-than-musical
(=“wider”) benefit. The research team sought to measure any
4This bias in the size of the two groupings was a product of the way that
the national programme was rolled out across the country. With each suc-
cessive year of data collection, more and more schools joined the programme.
years of the research process. It was estimated that over 95% of state Primary
schools in England were participating in the Sing Up programme by March
2011 (Sing Up, 2011).
5The six themes in the children’s questionnaire were: (1) Identity as a singer
(focusing on emotional connection with singing); (2) Identity as a singer
(related to self-efficacy); (3) Singing at home; (4) Singing at school; (5)
Singing in informal settings; and (from the second year of data collection
onwards); (6) Self-concept and sense of social inclusion.
possible relationship in participants’ social self-concept (sense of
self and of being socially included) and their singing ability, not-
ing that published commentaries on the “benefits” of singing
include reports on positive social outcomes of choral activi-
ties on the individual (cf. Chorus America, 2003; Faulkner and
Davidson, 2006; Clift et al., 2008). Accordingly, interwoven with
45 statements concerning children’s attitudes to singing were 15
statements that related to aspects of children’s social inclusion
(sense of self and of being socially integrated). The 15 state-
ments were based on a variety of sources to investigate different
facets of children’s social self-concept. These embraced statements
related to self-esteem (Fitts, 1964; Rosenberg, 1989; Thornberry
et al., 1994), self-efficacy (Nowicki and Strickland, 1973; Nowicki
and Walker, 1973; Vispoel, 1994), as well as statements con-
cerning children’s sense of being socially integrated (Fitts, 1964;
Haeberlin et al., 1989; Achenbach, 1991). Collectively, these 15
statements are interpreted as being related to children’s social
concept, hence the labeling here as sense of self and of being
socially included.
The questionnaire was completed in the children’s school class
as part of a normal working day. The researcher led the session
and the children’s class teacher and teaching assistants provided
support as necessary to ensure that the children worked on their
own and were not copying anyone else. Children worked through
the statements at their own speed and indicated their agreement
with the statement using a seven-point Likert-type smiley face
log scale to measure pain (e.g., Wong and Baker, 1988; Chapman
and Kirby-Turner, 2002) and also anxiety and stress (e.g., Kindler
et al., 2000; Preti, 2009). The initial research methods piloting
revealed that this form of visual analog scale worked very well
with young children, irrespective of academic ability, ethnicity,
and language group. Individuals were supported in reading the
text if this was required. For the youngest children, one page of
the questionnaire was completed at a time (six questions), with
the class teacher and teaching assistants supporting individual
children as needed. Using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (α)asa
measure of the internal reliability of children’s answers, the over-
all questionnaire consistency for the instrument (60 items) was
α=0.87. The subset of n=15 items for social inclusion (sense
of self and of being socially integrated) responses was α=0.68,
which we recognize is not as high as the overall level, but still
within the acceptable level, given the demographic and nature of
the investigation.
A comparison of the two strands of collected data [i.e., individ-
ual normalized singing assessment data and the same children’s
mean questionnaire answers on their sense of social inclusion
(sense of self and of being socially integrated)] enabled paired
data to be matched for n=6087 participants.
Initially, a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was
computed to assess the relationship between the children’s mean
responses to the 15 questions concerning their social inclusion
(sense of self and of being socially integrated) and the same chil-
dren’s individually assessed normalized singing scores. There was
a small but significant correlation between the two variables, r= July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |5
Welch et al. Singing and social inclusion
Table 1 | National Singing Programme Sing Up Questionnaire with
themes, 60 Questions.
S No. Question text Theme
1 I sing at school Singing at school
2 Singing at school will make me a
better singer
Singing at school
3 I think that we should sing more
at school
Singing at school
4 I feel good about myself Social inclusion
5 I have sung in a performance at
Singing at school
6 The boys in my class are better
singers than the girls
Singing at school
7 I like the songs that I sing at
Singing at school
8 The songs we sing at school are
Singing at school
9 The songs that I sing outside
school are very different to the
songs that I sing in school
Singing at school
10 I have control over my future Social inclusion
11 I would like to sing a solo at school Singing at school
12 My teacher taught me to sing Singing at school
13 I like making music Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
14 Singing is fun Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
15 I think that hard work is more
important than good luck
Social inclusion
16 Making music is fun Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
17 I like listening to music Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
18 School music is boring Singing at school
19 I can learn to be a better singer at
Singing at home
20 I feel that I am equal to everyone
Social inclusion
21 I have many friends Social inclusion
22 I learn songs at home Singing at home
23 Members of my family tell me I
am a good singer
Singing at home
24 I sing songs when I am in my
Singing at home
25 I sing with my family Singing at home
26 I am unable to do things as well
as most other people
Social inclusion
27 I sing songs at home Singing at home
28 My mother taught me to sing Singing at home
29 My friends teach me songs Singing in informal settings
30 I like singing with my friends Singing in informal settings
31 Every time I try to get ahead
something or somebody stops me
Social inclusion
32 I like singing in the playground Singing in informal settings
Table 1 | Continued
S No. Question text Theme
33 Most of the songs I know I have
learnt from the radio
Singing in informal settings
34 Most of the songs I know I have
learnt from a CD
Singing in informal settings
35 I find singing easy Identity as a singer (self)
36 My plans hardly ever work out Social inclusion
37 I have a good singing voice Identity as a singer (self)
38 I am the best singer in the class Identity as a singer (self)
39 I can’t sing Identity as a singer (self)
40 Someone has told me that I can’t
Identity as a singer (self)
41 I feel connected to my classmates Social inclusion
42 On the whole, I am satisfied with
Social inclusion
43 I know I sing “out of tune” Identity as a singer (self)
44 I know how my voice works Identity as a singer (self)
45 I find it easier to learn a song
when I see the notes written
Identity as a singer (self)
46 I feel confident singing one voice
of a two-voice song (in harmony)
Identity as a singer (self)
47 I feel useless at times Social inclusion
48 Singing is a talent Identity as a singer (self)
49 Singing is something that
everyone can do
Identity as a singer (self)
50 I sing to express how I feel Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
51 I sing when I am happy Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
52 Sometimes I think I am no good at
Social inclusion
53 I sing when I am sad Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
54 Singing makes me feel happy Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
55 Singing is something that I really
enjoy doing
Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
56 I prefer to sing when I am on my
Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
57 When I make plans, I think that I
can make them work
Social inclusion
58 I don’t like singing Identity as a singer
(emotional connection
with singing)
59 Chance and luck are very
important for what happens in my
Social inclusion
60 I know how to be with other
Social inclusion
Frontiers in Psychology | Cognitive Science July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |6
Welch et al. Singing and social inclusion
0.089, n=6.087, p<0.0001 (two-tailed). Overall, there was a
positive correlation between singing development rating and chil-
dren’s sense of being socially included. Increases in rated singing
ability were correlated with increases in social inclusion. The rela-
tionship was also illustrated in a one-way ANOVA examining
the connection between social inclusion scores, organized into
quartiles, and measured singing ability, F(3,6083) =5503.91, p<
0.0001 (see Figure 1). Children clustered within the highest quar-
tile for their mean social inclusion scores had a mean normalized
singing score of 82.48, in contrast to those in the lowest social
inclusion quartile who had a mean normalized singing score of
74.62. Post-hoc Tukey analysis confirmed differences between each
social inclusion quartile at p<0.05 level of significance.
Subsequently, a series of regression analyses were undertaken.
The results of the OLS regressions show that social inclusion
(sense of self and of being socially integrated) score signifi-
cantly predicted students’ normalized singing score [β=1.562,
t(6073) =6.482, p<0.001]. Thus, a 1-point increase in social
inclusion score (on a 7-point scale) predicted a 1.562-point
increase in singing score. These effects remained statistically sig-
nificant and did not change substantially when controlling for
gender, year group, and ethnicity. This was the case even though
these demographic variables explained a significant proportion
of variance in singing scores, and though each independent vari-
able individually significantly predicted normalized singing scores
[R2=0.147, F(11,6085) =94.952, p<0.001]6.
When dividing the social inclusion scale into quartiles,
regression results showed that being in the lowest quartile for
FIGURE 1 | A linear relationship is evidenced between participants’
mean social inclusion (sense of self and of being socially integrated)
responses in quartiles matched against the same individuals’
normalized singing score (rated out of 100, where 100 equates to
skilled in-tune singing and 50 is much less developmentally able,
such as significant vocal pitch errors against the target melodies) for
n=6087 matched pairs.
6Separate analyses of children’s normalized singing scores revealed that girls
tend to be more advanced in their singing than boys, Black and White chil-
dren tend to be more advanced in their singing than Asian children, older
children tend to be more advanced in their singing than younger children,
and that, overall, children with experience of Sing Up were more advanced in
their singing than children outside the programme (Welch et al., 2012b;Welch
et al., under review).
social inclusion predicted a 6.291-point decrease in singing
score compared to being in the highest quartile [β=6.291,
t(6073) =−2033, p<0.05]. Likewise, the regressions results
showed that social inclusion scores explained a significant, albeit
relatively low, proportion of variance in singing scores [R2=
0.008, F(1,6085) =48.69, p<0.001].
The regression results also showed that intervention type sig-
nificantly predicted students’ normalized singing scores [β=
6.108, t(6073) =13.022, p<0.001], even when demographic vari-
ables were controlled for. Thus, the results showed that being in
aSing Up school predicted an increase in singing scores of 6.108
points. Results also indicated that intervention type explained a
significant proportion of variance in singing scores [R2=0.017,
F(1,6085) =104.363, p<0.001].
In addition, as mentioned above, within the overall dataset,
there were two main sub-groups. One sub-group consisted of
children who were not participating in the Sing Up programme
at the time of their assessment, but who completed both the atti-
tudinal questionnaire and also undertook an individual singing
assessment. This sub-group were termed Non-Sing Up in the data
collection and subsequent analyses in order that they could be
compared to the other sub-group of children who (at the time of
their assessments) had had experience of the national singing pro-
gramme (i.e., having been exposed to one or more of the Sing Up
umbrella of activities). This second sub-group were labeled Sing
Up. Consequently, additional analyses were undertaken of the n=
6087 matched pairs to examine if the overall correlation reported
above was also evidenced for each of these two sub-groups. Two
Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were computed
to assess the relationship between the children’s responses to the
questions concerning social inclusion (sense of self and of being
socially integrated) and the same children’s individual normal-
ized singing score, sub-divided into Non-Sing Up (n=1505) and
Sing Up (n=4582) participants. In each case, there was a small
but identical significant positive correlation between the two vari-
ables, i.e., Non-Sing Up r =0.093, n=1505, p<0.0001 and Sing
Up r =0.093, n=4.582, p<0.0001. Overall, a positive corre-
lation was evidenced between children’s sense of being socially
included and their singing ability for each sub-group. There is
evidence of a positive relationship between increased singing skill
and a greater sense of self and of being socially included, whether
or not children had participated in the Sing Up programme. This
evidence of a relationship between measures for both groups con-
firms the interpretation that the development of singing expertise
of itself, irrespective of Sing Up participation, appears to be related
positively to self-concept (i.e., Sing Up participants were not being
uniquely primed to be more positive about themselves through
One further correlational analysis was undertaken. This was
for children (irrespective of Non-Sing Up/Sing Up sub-group
membership) for whom longitudinal matched pairs data were
available. These particular children had completed the attitudinal
questionnaire and had had their singing ability assessed at two
different intervals during the final 3 years of the research team’s
main overall evaluation of the Sing Up programme (2008–2011).
For these children (n=666) it was possible to determine gain
scores, being the difference between their original assessment data July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |7
Welch et al. Singing and social inclusion
and their second assessment approximately 1 year later. A Pearson
product-moment correlation coefficient was computed to assess
the relationship between the children’s gain scores related to any
changes in their responses to questions concerning social inclu-
sion (sense of self and of being socially integrated) compared to
any changes over the same time period in the same children’s
individually assessed normalized singing scores. In line with the
other findings reported above, there was a small but significant
correlation between the two variables, r=0.117, n=666, p=
0.003, i.e., there was a tendency for increases in perceived social
inclusion (sense of self and of being socially integrated) over time
to be correlated longitudinally in these pupils with increases in
ratings of singing ability.
The design and implementation of the National Singing
Programme Sing Up in England was driven by a political con-
cern at that time to ensure that all children of Primary school
age experienced regular and successful singing experiences each
week. In addition, underpinning this policy initiative, there was
an official belief in the potential for music participation to gen-
erate wider benefits, as illustrated in such official statements as
...thepower ofmusicasanagentfor personal, socialand educa-
tional development” (Music Manifesto, 2006,p.4),“Thechance
for our most vulnerable and marginalized children to change their
lives through music” (op.cit. p24) and “Singing is a fast route
to participative music making for every child and helps to build
communities” (op.cit. p34). Notwithstanding the rhetorical style
of such music advocacy, the data analyses arising from this exter-
nal evaluation of Sing Up (as reported above) suggest that there
is, at least, some empirical evidence of social as well as musi-
cal benefit from active participation in successful music making.
Indeed, the regression results suggests that children with more
advanced singing abilities were also more socially included. They
also suggest that participation in the Sing Up programme was
associated with a significant increase in singing scores. Together,
these results suggest that contexts such as those offered by the
Sing Up programme, i.e., where singing is fostered in a collective
setting, can increase children’s sense of social inclusion. In such
contexts, many children acquire singing competence through
participation in a group where learning is collaborative, satisfy-
ing, and significant, and where learning may be supported by
group motivational processes, such as shared goals, the holding
of positive outcome expectations, with the attribution of success
associated with factors such as ability and effort [cf. drawing on
Dweck’s (1999) “incremental” perspective of development, rather
than a fixed “entity” view of ability], as well as feeling effica-
cious about performing together. Additionally, social interactions
between learners include the observation of peers and significant
others who offer more competent and/or contrasting competency
models. These are all strong motivational processes affecting self-
efficacy and self-esteem (cf. Bandura’s social cognitive theory
nize and execute the courses of action required to produce given
attainments,Bandura, 1997, p. 3). Whilst caution is needed in
the interpretation of the correlation and regression data, and in
the pitfalls of ascription of causal effects between measures, the
inference is that successful singing is likely to be associated with a
more positive sense of self because of perceived competence and
singing self-efficacy which supports general self-esteem and the
feeling of being social included. This social-psychological (includ-
ing emotional) impact (where positive) also relates to the physical
act of singing, its embodiment (cf. a key feature of music ensem-
ble experience, McCaleb, 2014), that derives from early social
experiences in the home and, subsequently, as part of collec-
tive experience in a communal (parent and toddler, then school)
Such an inference is supported by other research evidence,
both arising as part of this national evaluation and elsewhere.
For example, one strand of the national Sing Up programme,
the Chorister Outreach Programme (COP), was led by the Choir
Schools Association. Their members were given the opportunity
to bid for funds to initiate singing development activities (such
as workshops and concerts) in their local Primary schools, often
through the organization of visits by their choristers to act as
singing role models, and usually with a senior member of the
Cathedral music staff leading the school children’s singing activi-
ties. A common outcome arising from the sequenced programme
of weekly COP activities was a concert-type performance in the
local Cathedral in which all the participant school children and
choristers, together with parents and carers, came together. A
research evaluation of the impact of this strand, using the same
assessment tools and protocol outlined above, found that these
COP-experienced Primary school children (n=943) had the
highest mean positive attitudes toward their sense of social inclu-
sion (sense of self and of being socially integrated), the highest
mean social inclusion scores compared to other sub-groupings
within the dataset and amongst the highest mean singing assess-
ment scores (Saunders et al., 2012). Furthermore, when the
research team were asked to undertake a related evaluation for
the Italian Ministry of Education of the social impact of their
specially-funded choral programme in schools across the Emilia-
Romagna region, similar findings emerged. Italian children who
had experienced the previous year’s choral programme (n=98)
had significantly higher mean social inclusion (sense of self and
of being socially integrated) self-ratings compared to their peers
(n=92) who had not participated in the programme (Welch
et al., 2010).
Drawing on the literature cited earlier and elsewhere, it is pos-
sible to speculate as to why children’s successful engagement in
singing might be associated in some way with an enhanced sense
of self. For example, children have tended to learn to sing in
large group settings within the English Primary school system.
Singing is frequently experienced as a member of a whole class
or within a group of classes, such as in a school assembly. As
a result of the children’s and their teachers’ involvement in the
national Sing Up programme, with its emphasis on group-based
pedagogy, many children experienced growing mastery in their
singing behavior and were developmentally in advance in their
singing behaviors compared with children of the same age out-
side the programme (see Welch et al., 2012b, for an overview of
the gendered impact). This is not to say that learning to sing as a
member of a group automatically fosters individual development,
but it seems that the design of the national programme, which
Frontiers in Psychology | Cognitive Science July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |8
Welch et al. Singing and social inclusion
sought to accommodate its group teaching bias by providing a
rich range of on-line and paper resources, allowed for differen-
tiated singing tasks that supported opportunities for successful
teaching to be observed (Saunders et al., 2011).
In addition, other psychological research suggests that acting
in synchrony with others can increase cooperation by strengthen-
ing social attachment among group members (Wiltermuth and
Heath, 2009). This finding accords with evidence from adult
studies concerning the important psychophysiological, socio-
psychological, and well-being benefits that can accrue from choir
membership (Bailey and Davidson, 2002; Faulkner and Davidson,
2006; Clift and Hancox, 2010; Clift et al., 2010), including evi-
dence of an increase in positive affect (mood enhancement)
and participants’ immune response (Kreutz et al., 2004;seealso
Chanda and Levitin, 2013, for a review). Similarly, research evi-
dence from adolescent engagement in other arts areas, such as
dance, and also sport suggests that peer relationships can be
a powerful factor in nurturing (or hindering) successful par-
ticipation and ongoing engagement (Patrick et al., 1999; Aujla
et al., 2013), a finding related to social benefit that is also evi-
denced in adolescent music activity, both in school and elsewhere
(Saunders and Welch, 2012). Similarly, narrative based research
enquiry into adolescent boys’ motivation to continue singing
activities is reported to relate to their self-perceptions of musi-
cal autonomy and vocal skills that are nurtured within a network
of peer social support (Freer, 2009). The finding on the power
of synchrony can be seen also to provide the foundation for
the experience of “empathic creativity” in music making with
others (Cross et al., 2012), whereby social interaction through
music is possible, not least because music can be seen as a social
behavior. Similarly, complementary neuroscientific dual-fMRI-
based evidence indicates that singing with another person, such
as in a duet, involves a distributed network of brain areas that
are responsible for coordinating interactive entrainment (Parsons
et al., 2009). Consequently, where children experience success in
the context of their collective singing, with associated feelings
related to emotional and social well-being as part of an underly-
ing distributed neural network, it is not surprising that they might
report a stronger sense of group membership, of belonging and of
being social included.
In conclusion, the three separate, yet complementary strands
of correlational data within the emergent analyses from the two
strands of assessment (singing behavior and social inclusion i.e.,
sense of self and of being socially integrated) undertaken with
this large participant group of children aged 7+to 10+appear to
support previous evidence that singing can be beneficial in build-
ing a sense of community. Children with more developed singing
ability (irrespective of whether or not they had any experience of
Sing Up) tended to have a more positive sense of self and of being
socially integrated. Where children had experience of the Sing Up
programme, they were statistically more likely to be advanced
in their singing development compared to those children out-
side the programme. By inference, therefore, the programme was
also indirectly providing social benefit (i.e., as defined by this
research instrument). Whilst singing is not being proposed here
as a panacea for the many families “at risk” in our societies, the
public’s interest in singing (as judged by current television media
programmes, music sales across a wide range of platforms, and
membership of choirs) opens up the possibility for this form of
personal yet social music making to have a positive contribution
to children’s self-concept and wellbeing.
The research team are pleased to acknowledge the overwhelm-
ing support provided by the many stakeholders in this external
research-based evaluation of the Sing Up programme. We are
especially grateful to all the participant children, teachers, schools,
parents and carers, as well as academic and local authority col-
leagues across the country. The funders for the research, led by
Youth Music in a consortium with The Sage Gateshead, Faber
Music and AMV BBDO, also provided excellent support and
guidance throughout the research process.
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Conflict of Interest Statement: The authors declare that the research was
conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could
be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Received: 27 February 2014; accepted: 07 July 2014; published online: 29 July 2014.
Citation: Welch GF, Himonides E, Saunders J, Papageorgi I and Sarazin M (2014)
Singing and social inclusion. Front. Psychol. 5:803. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00803
This article was submitted to Cognitive Science, a section of the journal Frontiers in
Copyright © 2014 Welch, Himonides, Saunders, Papageorgi and Sarazin. This is an
open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permit-
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No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these
Frontiers in Psychology | Cognitive Science July 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 803 |12
... The school / Adult centre as an educational institution aims to enable all students / trainees to have equal and effective access to education, as students / trainees will use this as the basis for future participation in society (Welch et al. 2018). As a result, inclusive education systems are becoming increasingly vital (Grigore et al. 2019) and are being used by schools around the world. ...
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This desk research was carried out within the ERASMUS+ Cooperation partnerships in adult education, Empower Adult Educators to Support Digital Social Inclusion [DigIN], Project number 2022-1-PL01-KA220-ADU-000088404, coordinated by Instytut Badan I Innowacji w Edukacji - Poland. The primary goal of Cooperation Partnerships is to allow partner organizations to increase the quality and relevance of their activities, to develop and reinforce their national / international networks, to increase their capacity to operate jointly at transnational level, boosting internationalization of their activities and through exchanging or developing new practices and methods as well as sharing and confronting ideas. (ERASMUS+, n.d.) -------------- This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflect s the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
... Il s'agit de discuter les postulats, les questions posées par les chercheurs, la rigueur méthodologique, ou encore les résultats qui peuvent conclure à un effet comme à une absence d'effet (Rickard, Bambrick et Gill, 2012), en lien avec la description et la compréhension de ces projets menés dans des contextes scolaire ou extrascolaire. Aux projets orchestraux s'ajoute le chant en choeur interrogé et à interroger de la même manière (Welch, Himonides, Saunders, Papageorgi et Sarazin, 2014). ...
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Ce numéro est consacré aux recherches sur les pratiques musicales collectives — en particulier orchestrales — à destination de jeunes publics issus des milieux défavorisés, dont l’objectif affiché est une meilleure intégration dans la société. Appartenant à un mouvement né au Vénézuela (El Sistema) qui a connu un développement planétaire sous le nom de Social Action Through Music, les différents dispositifs partent du postulat que l’apprentissage d’une pratique musicale collective améliore les résultats scolaires et favorise l’acquisition de compétences sociales. La thématique est traitée à travers deux articles de recherche et deux témoignages. Les premiers sont respectivement consacrés à des projets s’inscrivant dans le cadre d’Orchestre à l’école et de Démos, observés sous l’angle d’une étude d’impact pour l’un et d’une recherche participante pour l’autre. Les deux témoignages illustrent les difficultés rencontrées par les chercheurs venus du monde académique à poser un regard sur des initiatives dont le but déclaré s’inscrit dans la lutte contre les inégalités sociales. Enfin, la recension d’un ouvrage récent sur le projet Démos vient compléter ce dossier.
... Tanto la revolución tecnológica como los grandes movimientos migratorios implican cambios sociales que desde el sistema educativo se deben gestionar para que supongan un enriquecimiento y un aprendizaje en las relaciones y el conocimiento de otras culturas (Cabedo, 2014). Son necesarias nuevas acciones pedagógicas para que todas las personas tengan la oportunidad y los recursos necesarios para participar en las diferentes esferas de la vida humana (Welch et al., 2014). Igualmente, se hace necesario formar ciudadanos conscientes de las diferencias y capaces de trabajar de manera conjunta en el progreso y en la construcción de una sociedad justa, equitativa, igualitaria y plural es cada vez mayor (Walsh, 2009). ...
This research explores the benefits of community music in the Etorkizuna Musikatan project during its first year, through a methodology that combines qualitative and quantitative approaches. For this purpose, the ESCODAD questionnaire was used with 75 students from 2nd to 6th grade of Compulsory Primary Education from one of the two public schools in Bilbao participating in the project at the time this research was carried out. In addition, testimonies have been collected through seven semi-structured interviews addressed to mothers, participants, teachers and project organizers. The results determine how through the project they have experienced social, personal and academic benefits that relate the experience of community music to inclusion, interculturality and integration of diversity.
... Primary school children who participated in a group singing session of a song they created themselves showed enhanced cooperative behavior when compared to a group art condition, consisting of the children preparing together a mural or playing competitive games together [29]. Primary school children with more advanced singing abilities, such as being able to sing two songs in-tune, with accurate rhythm, pitch and lyrics across an extended singing range, were also found to be more socially included than children with lower singing abilities [117]. Group music lessons at this age, such as a long term (10 months) program for learning ukulele facilitated sympathy and prosocial skills [118], and a long-term (9 months) musical interaction program for primary school children, who played music games that included improvisation and free musical exploration in small groups was found to enhance emotional empathy compared to drama and control conditions [11]. ...
Joint engagement in music often facilitates positive social interaction, effectively shifting participants' perspective from the individual to the collective. The result is tight coordination and uniformity between participants, but at the same time, also remarkable flexibility and creativity. How does music achieve such a fine balance between the strict alignment necessary for coordination, and the substantial latitude necessary for experimentation? To address this question, I propose to analyze joint music engagement within the tight-loose theoretical framework broadly used in the social sciences. Tight-loose theory was originally developed for distinguishing between two archetypical cultural tendencies. On the one hand, tightness, which denotes stringent adherence to social norms, and on the other hand, looseness, which refers to a more flexible and less restrictive attitude towards norms. I posit that the flexible form of collaboration characteristic of musical interaction is due to a coexistence of tightness and looseness within joint engagement in music. I argue that the tight aspects of music can be attributed to its rhythmic structure, which requires continuous and precise temporal alignment between participants. Indeed, when experienced on its own, outside of a musical context, interpersonal synchrony has been repeatedly shown to enhance diverse positive social capacities such as bonding, collaboration and affiliation between interacting individuals, but at the expense of increasing conformity, blind obedience and even hostility towards non-group members. These effects are consistent with synchrony driving a tight interaction, inducing a sense of common group membership (CGM), which can endow music with necessary rigor and order. In contrast, the loose side of music may pertain to the ambiguity in meaning and intention expressed by music, which leaves ample room for interpretation and improvisation. I thus propose that the combined tight-loose nature of music, can simultaneously enhance positive social behaviors and reduce negative ones, leading to a tolerant form of group membership (TGM).
... In order to really sing together, you need to anticipate the sounds produced by others, divide attention between yourself and others and constantly adjust your timing to that of the group (Keller, 2008). This social attentiveness and adaptation increases group cohesion and accordingly, group singing even promotes feelings of social inclusion (Welch et al., 2014). ...
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TIIVISTELMÄ: Tämän tutkimuksen tavoitteena on lisätä ymmärrystä varhaiskasvatuksen ammattilaisen laulamisen situaatioista suomalaisessa formaalissa varhaiskasvatuksessa. Tutkimus kohdentuu formaalin varhaiskasvatuksen toimintakulttuuriin laulamisen mahdollistajana, Rauhalan holistiseen ihmiskäsitykseen, laulamisen hyvinvointivaikutuksiin ja YK:n lapsen oikeuksiin. Sekä varhaiskasvatuksen ammattiin valmistavissa koulutuksissa, että varhaiskasvatuksessa on todettu vaihtelua laulamisen määrässä ja kehittämisessä. Vokaalinen minäkuva, eli tietoinen käsitys itsestä laulajana, syntyy siinä ympäristössä, missä ihminen elää. Vokaalinen minäkuva on suhteessa omaan itseen, tuntemuksiin, aikaan, tilaan, kehoon ja merkittävään Toiseen. Varhaiskasvatuksen ammattilaisen käsitys työssä laulamisestaan syntyy varhaiskasvatuksen toimintakulttuurissa. Tutkimusaineisto kerättiin kyselyllä, johon osallistui 312 varhaiskasvatuksen ammattilaista. Hermeneuttis-fenomenologisella tutkimusmenetelmällä tutkijoiden esiymmärryksen ja teoriataustan vuoropuheluna muodostettiin työssä laulamisen situationaalisuuden viisi teemaa. Tulokset osoittivat, että varhaiskasvatuksen toimintakulttuurin lapsilähtöisen päivän rakentuminen, kokemus laulutaidosta ja muiden kannustus ovat mahdollistamassa varhaiskasvatuksen ammattilaisen laulamista. Työssä laulamisen esteinä näyttäytyvät kokemus laulutaidon puutteesta, laulamisesta aiheutuvat epäsuotuisat tuntemukset ja toisten aikuisten negatiivinen suhtautuminen. Asiasanat: laulaminen, formaali varhaiskasvatus, situationaalisuus, YK:n lapsen oikeudet
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Imagine a world without music—no summer concerts, no holiday sing-alongs, no dramatic orchestra music in movies leading to epic battle scenes. Would not that be terrible? Musicians train for a long time to create and play music. Playing music brings us pleasure and connects us to one another. Research shows that playing music also contributes to our overall health and wellbeing and helps our thinking and planning skills. In this article, we will first talk about how various parts of the brain are engaged to make music playing possible. We will also discuss benefits of music learning for the brain, including our thinking abilities and social skills. We hope that this article provides examples and evidence that making music is not only fun, but it can also benefit our overall wellbeing.
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The chapter provides an overview of the physical basis of solo singing. Skilled vocal performance requires a multifaceted coordination of the singer’s anatomy and physiology, which is conceived as a tripartite system of energy source, vibrator, and resonators. The vocal instrument embraces (a) the respiratory apparatus, which compresses air upwards through the larynx; this (b) sets the vocal folds in vibration and converts an airstream to sound; and (c) filters the sound of the resultant pulsating airflow to be radiated from the vocal tract. Each of these components is discussed in detail, as well as their interconnectedness, with implications drawn in the concluding section for how this information is important to the soloist in understanding how their voice works in performance.
Conference Paper
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JamMo is a new musical education software. An inter-disciplinary team from 5 different EU countries developed the software as part of an EU-funded project. The software was developed to facilitate feelings of social inclusion and musical collaboration amongst children aged 3-12. A pilot study was conducted with a version of the game aimed at 3-6 years. Twenty-eight children aged eight participated in the pilot study. Five sessions were delivered with JamMo over the period of eight weeks at a primary school in London, each focussing on a different JamMo game (composition, singing or improvisation). The games were played on mobile phones and on a desktop computer. Prior and subsequent to the sessions, a questionnaire on the children's musical and IT backgrounds was administered, as well as an instrument for assessing social inclusion. Observations and video recording were conducted during the sessions. Statistical analysis was carried out. The results showed that children who were classified as socially excluded prior to the sessions felt significantly more socially included subsequent to them. Observation and video data illustrated that such children were completely immersed in the sessions and willing to collaborate with their peers. The participant children's musical ability and their attitudes towards music and IT activities had considerably improved during the sessions. Thus, JamMo 3-6 could be used by educators, parents and other professionals working with young children in order to facilitate musical learning, collaboration and feelings of social inclusion in children.
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An ability to sing ‘in-tune’ has often been regarded (whether appropriately or not) as a characteristic indicator of general musical ability. As such, this particular musical behaviour has long been of interest to music educators and researchers. Previous research studies have reported significant differences between children in relation to the age and sex of sample populations. In general, (i) the relative proportion of ‘in-tune’ singers has been found to increase as a function of age and (ii) fewer boys than girls are reported as being able to sing ‘in-tune’ for each sampled age group. The established research literature, however, is characterised by an absence of longitudinal data. Such data could enable a comparison to be made of how the singing abilities of the same sample develop and/or remain stable over time. Accordingly, as part of a larger study of singing development in early childhood, a longitudinal sample (n=184) were assessed on a variety of vocal pitch matching tasks during each year of their first three years in school, i.e. at age five, six and seven years. The assessment protocol embraced a specially constructed test battery of pitch glides, pitch patterns and single pitches as well as two sample songs, with vocal pitch accuracy being assessed by a team of judges. The results suggest that (i) vocal pitch accuracy is task-specific, (ii) there is a greater homogeneity in vocal pitch matching abilities between girls and boys than previously reported and (iii) it is only at the age of seven years that the previously reported sex difference in favour of girls emerges, and this is only in relation to the sample song material, not in relation to other more elemental forms of vocal pitch matching.
This report presents findings from research carried out with seven Chorister Outreach Projects from Cathedrals across England as part of the Choir School Association's Chorister Outreach Programme (COP). In total, data were collected from fifteen Primary Schools working with these Chorister Outreach Projects. This data set was supplemented by similar teaching and learning of singing data from an additional five (non-COP) Primary Schools who were working with aspects of the SingUp Programme. In total, 48 singing sessions were observed, of which 28 (58.3%) were in COP schools and 20 (41.7%) in non-COP schools. Overall, the observation data on learning and teaching of singing within and outside the COP school sessions demonstrate that high 'quality' experiences can be found in any school context, whether urban or rural, with older or younger children, ethnically diverse or not, and whether led by musical specialists or generalists.
Intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivation have been widely studied, and the distinction between them has shed important light on both developmental and educational practices. In this review we revisit the classic definitions of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in light of contemporary research and theory. Intrinsic motivation remains an important construct, reflecting the natural human propensity to learn and assimilate. However, extrinsic motivation is argued to vary considerably in its relative autonomy and thus can either reflect external control or true self-regulation. The relations of both classes of motives to basic human needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are discussed.