Is singing in a choir 'Educational'?

CPDL topics that don't fit in the other categories
nolinesbarred
Posts: 78
Joined: 30 Sep 2008 01:35
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Is singing in a choir 'Educational'?

Postby nolinesbarred » 07 Nov 2016 03:58

Our local Community College is considering offering a choir as one of its activities, but they wonder how a choir fits in with their ideas about 'learning' and 'studying', I.e. 'Education'.

I would appreciate it if someone could suggest a few points that we could put to the college principal, who is not a musician, in order to try to persuade him that singing in a choir is, indeed, educational.

Thank you.

nolinesbarred

choralia
Site Admin
Posts: 2558
Joined: 05 Mar 2006 19:57
Location: Rome, Italy
Contact:

Re: Is singing in a choir 'Educational'?

Postby choralia » 07 Nov 2016 23:22

I think that 'education' is more than just 'learning' and 'studying'. Actually, the term 'education" originates from Latin ('ex ducere", i.e., to conduct outside), so it means to provide guidance to someone (especially young people) so that they can 'go outside' and have their life in the society, establish good relationships with others, make a living with their work, and so on. Learning and studying are tools for education, however they aren't the only tools for that, and, especially, they aren't the ultimate purpose, which is 'education' in its broadest sense.

From this perspective, singing in a choir is extremely educational, as it develops social and teamwork skills that are crucial for young people in order to realize that, in a social environment, collaboration is much more important than a 'soloist' attitude. In a choir one has to diligently sing his/her part, one has to study music before rehearsals, follow the conductor, listen to the choir mates to find the right pitch and prevent that the individual voice is too prominent or too weak, and so on. All these aspects have a corresponding counterpart in social life, for example when preparing a meeting, when attending a meeting conducted by someone else, when listening to the opinion of others and explaining one's own opinion, and so on. This is, in my opinion, the greatest educational value of choir singing.

Many years ago (1987 or 1988, I guess: I was a young engineer graduated since few years) I was interviewed for a job selection. I clearly remember the reaction of the interviewer when I said that I used to sing in a choir: she was clearly enthusiastic, and wrote plenty of positive remarks about that on her notebook, probably much more than everything she wrote about my degree or my previous job... The final evaluation for the job selection was very good :)

Then, of course, singing in a choir may also imply pure 'learning' and 'studying': music notation, sight-singing, differences between music styles and eras, composers and their respective music periods, theory of harmony, etc., are all knowledge components that may be acquired or improved through choir singing. However, again, I think that 'learning' and 'studying' do not represent the core educational value of choir singing.

Max

nolinesbarred
Posts: 78
Joined: 30 Sep 2008 01:35
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Re: Is singing in a choir 'Educational'?

Postby nolinesbarred » 08 Nov 2016 01:41

Many thanks for your informative reply Max. Your story about your job interview is interesting.... choral singing experience certainly teaches us a lot about teamwork doesn't it? I suspect it's something most people might not consider including on their CVs.... maybe they should!

serlo
Posts: 4
Joined: 15 Feb 2017 12:59

Re: Is singing in a choir 'Educational'?

Postby serlo » 20 Feb 2017 10:49

Interesting ! I always thought that there were two possible interpretations available from the Latin, both of which are powerful motivators to anyone actively involved in education in the widest sense.They are "educare," - to train or to mould (UK English) or mold (US English), and "educere," - to lead out. (I hadn't come across the "ex ducere" bit!) Different but all muscular in their own way.

I can wholeheartedly vouch for the positive impact of choral singing. I started singing at age 6, continued through adolescence (where a sensible teacher guided me gently through alto, tenor and bass - each experience building upon the vocal capital of the other) and finished up having a most wonderful life, coupling teaching with being a lay-clerk at Gloucester Cathedral for nearly 45 years and a fair amount of semi-professional solo concert and recital work. I benefitted from two other musical infuences - a fairly solid education in harmony and counterpoint, and the guidance of an first-rate singing teacher at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Ave Arthur Reckless !!!

Through all this experience, it has become clear to me that all the various positive legacies of involvement in choral singing are to be highly valued and should be recognised by a wider society - especially at a political level: teamwork; sensitivity to one's 'balanced' place within the team; a clear view of one's ego (!) and the need to submerge it within the idea of 'the team'; pitch and tuning, exposure to performance of a range of first-rate choral music in groupings from chamber music to large-scale concert performance (heard of the the Three Choirs Festival ?), and the enjoyment of unwinding over a drink in the company of other like yourself.

In my view, the inclusion of choral singing at all stages of education (and beyond) is an ingredient fundamental to a 'whole' person. But then.... I'm biased and would say that, wouldn't I ?

Bill Armiger
Gloucester UK

nolinesbarred
Posts: 78
Joined: 30 Sep 2008 01:35
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Re: Is singing in a choir 'Educational'?

Postby nolinesbarred » 04 Mar 2017 22:16

Thanks Bill. Glad you've had such a happy singing life. The replies to my original query have helped me to persuade our local community college to offer a 'Singing' course.

Thank you all.

K.


Return to “Other topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest