The value of group singing: preliminary insights from a phenomenological approach to understanding a complex cultural activity

Camlin, D. A. (2019) The value of group singing: preliminary insights from a phenomenological approach to understanding a complex cultural activity. In: International Society for Music Education Community Music Activity Commission Pre-Conference Seminar, 10-14 July 2018, Tbilisi, Georgia.

Abstract

Group singing is a feature of all human society, facilitating individual wellbeing as well as group cohesion and interpersonal trust and empathy (Clift, 2013). It is one of the most accessible forms of music-making, and its complex benefits are widely accepted and increasingly used to assist in the maintenance and recovery of individual health and wellbeing, although a critical understanding of the mechanisms underpinning such benefits is still in its infancy (Clift, 2013; Fancourt et al., 2016; Hallam, 2015; Livesey, Morrison, Clift, & Camic, 2012). Responding to the call for greater rigour in articulating the value of arts and culture to people and society whilst recognizing, “the imperative to reposition first-hand, individual experience of arts and culture at the heart of enquiry into cultural value” (Crossick & Kaszynska, 2016), Distributed Ethnography provides a ‘qualiquant’ methodology for building understanding of group singing, grounded in phenomenology yet able to identify trends and patterns of experience beyond that of the individual. An emergent hypothesis from the current study is that musical entrainment and interpersonal neurobiological ‘resonance’ are sympathetically entangled, and that participants in group singing activities are able to recognise this phenomenon when it occurs, as contributing to the wellbeing effects of the activity. Furthermore, the use of methodologies such as Distributed Ethnography suggests that research into the complex benefits of cultural participation can be undertaken morerigorously without discounting the ‘centrality of experience’ (Crossick & Kaszynska, 2016, p. 21) or interfering with it unduly, thus leading to a more robust and critical understanding of the value of arts and culture to people and society.

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item