Choral singing as an educational process for the third age: A case study of the choir ‘Evesto’

Ευπραξία Φαρμάκη

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Μουσικές εμπειρίες δια βίου μάθηση και ευζωία ( Sunday, 17-Apr-22 13:15:00 EEST )

According to Mezirow's theory of Transformative Learning (1994), it is possible for the elderly to be led through education to critical reflection and revision of their dysfunctional beliefs, as usually are their low self-image and the assumption that they are no longer capable of learning. Specifically, learning through art, in the context of group art programs, has emerged as one of the most important forms of adult education (Kokkos, 2010), as it enhances the sense of personal identity and empowers social bonds (Clements-Cortes, 2015).

In particular, research has shown that choral singing contributes to improving the quality of life of participants, as well as to the development of their social and cognitive skills (Pearce, Jacques, Machin & Dunbar, 2016). Especially in the elderly, it is possible to enhance biological functions and be the means for their reintegration into society (Joseph & Southcott, 2015). However, while there is plenty of research on the biological and socio-emotional benefits of choral singing in adults and also on transformative learning as a result of adult education through works of art in general, there is no research focusing on choral singing as a tool for critical thinking and as a way for the amateur, senior choir members to transform their dysfunctional beliefs.

Thus, the aim of the present case study was to investigate the perceptions of the members of the choir "Evesto" of the Municipality of Larissa, regarding the educational needs, which led them to join the choir and the possible, shelf – observed transformation of their beliefs. A mixed research method was applied, deploying at the same time quantitative data that came from individual questionnaires - based on the World Health Organization’s WHOQOL-100 questionnaire- and qualitative data that came from semi-structured individual interviews. Quantitative research preceded qualitative research, with the aim of the latter explaining or analyzing further aspects of the former. The sample of the quantitative approach consisted of 66 persons (F=53, M=13), while that of the qualitative approach consisted of 15 persons (F=8, M=7). The statistical analysis of the quantitative data was performed through the SPSS software, while the qualitative data were coded through the method of Thematic Analysis. The collection and analysis of the data lasted five months (January 2021 - May 2021).

The results reveal the acquisition and/or expansion of musical knowledge, the enrichment of the repertoire and self-discipline as the most significant educational needs. However, the most important outcome of this study seems to be the transformation of the choir members’ beliefs in an ample spectrum of their habits of mind. In particular, it has been observed a change in moral, epistemological, psychological, cognitive, aesthetic, philosophical, social and health-related mental habits, which makes clear the application of Mezirow's definition of transformative learning.

Future research is needed to expand these results and broaden the study of choral singing as an educational means for the third age.

  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες, δια βίου μουσική μάθηση και ευζωία
  • Η μουσική διδασκαλία-μάθηση σε τυπικά, μη τυπικά και άτυπα περιβάλλοντα
Keywords adult education, choral singing, lifelong learning, third age, transformative learning
Language Ελληνική
Author(s) CV

She was born in Larissa. She is a graduate of the Department of Music Studies of AUTh. (Integrated Master) and the Department of Economics of AUTh. She holds a postgraduate diploma in Educational Sciences (Med) from the Hellenic Open University. She obtained the Piano Diploma with honors, as well as the degrees of Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue with excellent marks from the Macedonian Conservatory of Thessaloniki. She has worked for a number of years as a piano and theory of music teacher in public schools, conservatories and the music association of  Elassona ‘musicArte’, of which she is a founding member. She is a piano accompanist in various choirs, while in recent years she has been working as a music teacher in the kindergartens of the Municipality of Larissa.