Vocal education research

This is a hub for current research projects of SiME group members.

Please contact SiME at singinginmusiced@gmail.com if you have current research projects, proposals, or publications you wish to share on this site!

Singing Competences in Diverse National Curricula (abstract submitted to Jelgava, 2018)

Helmut Schaumberger (Mozarteum, Austria), Motje Wolf (De Montfort University, England), David Johnson (Malmö Academy of Music, Sweden), Johannes van der Sandt (Free University of Bolzano, Italy)

Singing has traditionally held a central place in classroom music education in European countries. Nevertheless, many important issues concerning contemporary vocal education practices are underresearched, including an overview of current national singing guidelines in compulsory education. This multi-national study examines the diverse singing competencies that are expected of pupils aged 4 to 16 in different European national contexts. We examine four countries – Austria, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy – and look at competences: how they are formulated, distributed and communicated in the curriculum and further publications outlining competences. Through comparative examination and reflection, common themes and divergences are highlighted and discussed. Finally, recommendations for improving the communication of competences are proposed in terms of the following questions:

  • What can we learn from each other?
  • Is there evidence of core repertoire or “canon”?
  • What is the significance of the term “competences” in different national contexts?
  • Could we approach a possible harmonization of European singing curricula, what are possible opportunities and challenges?

Playlist- a critical survey of song repertoire in European middle school education

David Johnson, Prof. Eva Saether (Malmö Academy of Music, Sweden), Annemarie Haberecht (Fredrich-Alexander Universität, Germany)

This study aims to describe current song repertoire and singing practices in middle school music education in diverse European national contexts. By building and mobilizing an international network of vocal education researchers across Europe and using a shared method and validated questionnaire instrument, this multi-year project aims to compile a unique, aggregate database that maps out what we are singing with school children, how we are singing (and how much), how repertoire and teaching practices differ between national contexts, and how they have evolved from previous generations. Data collection through a national mixed-mode survey has begun in Sweden and Germany, with the aim of expanding the study to England, Norway, Austria, Italy, and other interested partners.

In Sweden, data was collected through a survey of music teachers, conducted on a national level between May and September, 2016; in an online questionnaire, teachers (n=660) were asked to provide a complete list of songs sung during the 2015-16 school year with a chosen grade (grade 4), as well as information such as chosen key, sources of repertoire, and other issues surrounding repertoire selection and classroom singing. The results are to be analysed according to such factors as vocal range, genre, musical content, lyrical content, and country of origin. These findings will be compared with archival material such as song books, textbooks, broadcasts and recordings, to set current repertoire and teaching methods in an historical ethnomusicological perspective.