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‘Sing Every Day’: The wider benefits of a school-based singing project with disadvantaged children

Welch, G; Purves, R; Saunders, J; Mason, K; Bowmer, AR; Wright, A; (2020) ‘Sing Every Day’: The wider benefits of a school-based singing project with disadvantaged children. In: González, P and Omolo-Ongati, R, (eds.) Proceedings of the 28th International Society for Music Education (ISME) Seminar on Research in Music Education. ISME (In press).

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Abstract

The paper reports on a research evaluation of a six-month specialist singing project ‘Sing Every Day’ that was undertaken with young disadvantaged inner-city 6yo children in the London Borough of Hackney. A team of professional singers from the London-based VOCES8 Foundation visited two classes in each of two Primary schools to provide focused mentoring to generalist (non-music specialist) class teachers. Children from two identically aged classes in a neighbouring school acted as controls. The mentoring embraced a specially designed programme of singing and vocal activities across two school terms. This was undertaken in each classroom with the staff and their Year 1 children numbering N=121 in total. An independent evaluation of the impact of the project included both musical and other-than-musical measures of children’s development. In particular, in addition to an assessment of participant children’s singing behaviours at the start and at end of the project, other assessments included measures of possible changes in children’s reading development and in aspects of Executive Functions. Overall, the implications from the data are that the mentored classroom-based singing activities resulted in significant improvements in children’s singing, as well as positive changes in reading and aspects of Executive Function related to inhibition and phonological working memory – the latter being closely correlated to changes in the same children’s reading scores. Although there is previous research literature reporting positive links separately between music, singing, reading and aspects of Executive Functions, this small-scale study is one of the first to explore these three aspects collectively. As such, the current data suggest that more detailed research would be useful, both in seeking possible replication of the findings with a larger group of participants and also to understand the mechanisms of such possible linkage in terms of both basic research and also its implications for music pedagogy.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: ‘Sing Every Day’: The wider benefits of a school-based singing project with disadvantaged children
Event: 28th International Society for Music Education (ISME) Seminar on Research in Music Education
Location: Jyväskylä, Finland
Dates: 27 July 2020 - 31 July 2020
Publisher version: https://www.isme.org/proceedings
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: singing, music education, community, disadvantage
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10092541
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