The impact of lockdown on the experience of choral singers in community choirs

Kagari Shibazaki, Nigel Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The social aspects of choral singing appear to contribute in a significant way towards its popularity as a community activity, with numerous studies reporting on the positive social, health and psychological benefits to be gained from partaking in community singing. Previous studies, for example, have listed increased levels of wellbeing and positive changes to lifestyle, along with decreased feelings of social isolation and levels of depression as being amongst the possible benefits to be gained from weekly singing
sessions (Sanal, & Gorsev, 2014). Similarly, Joseph & Southcott, (2015, 2018) found that having a desire to feel less isolated, a need to interact more with others, expanding a social or spiritual identity, meeting with like-minded people, and achieving something greater than can be achieved alone to be popular motivations for joining community choirs. Given the idea that friendship, social interaction and companionship often appear to be considered either more important, or at least as important as the singing and musical participation, this project explores the experiences of adults who sing on a regular basis with a community choir during an extended period of lockdown. The study involved collecting data through an on-line instrument from adult members of seven community choirs in different parts of England. Initial findings suggest that the main factors attracting singers to join a choir appear to be the social aspects, enjoyment, and the aesthetic experience, together with the joy and achievement gained from taking part in a joint activity. As a result of the lockdown, participants appeared to reflect deeply and reevaluate the meaning of the choir in their life, its contribution to their musical identity and in some cases, had experiences akin to bereavement. Among the positive benefits of lockdown were increased opportunities to be creative and to experiment, to learn more about individual voices and the role they play in the music, and to increase support for the sustainable nature of the positive wellbeing that singing together can produce.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Music, Health and Wellbeing
Volume2021
Issue numberAutumn
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021

Keywords

  • community choirs
  • singing
  • COVID-19
  • wellbeing
  • lockdown

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