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Lifelong Influences of Being a Chorister: a Phenomenological Study

Dong, Lan (2018) Lifelong Influences of Being a Chorister: a Phenomenological Study. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines English choristers’ education based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with thirty people who attended a broad selection of English Choir Schools as choristers between 1940 and 2010, divided into three groups: 1) those in secondary or tertiary education; 2) those in work; 3) retired people.

The value of traditional education is much debated, but by giving a detailed description, this phenomenological study has focused on providing a better basis for understanding the subject, and offers empirical evidence about how musical expertise is achieved. Choir schools claim to offer a solid training in choral singing, especially sight-reading and vocal proficiency, and in academic subjects, and that the regime they employ seems also to help the general development of the individual, especially where commitment and team spirit are concerned, as the majority of interviewees agreed.

However, this way of life does not suit every child even if they enjoy singing, and this study has developed a further interpretation of its complexities. Almost every choir school with a sound reputation is also a boarding school, which can in some cases damage family ties and preclude a normal childhood, a sacrifice mentioned by many participants. Interviewees also generally found life hard during the transition to their next school and some even had no desire to return to a church environment because of the religious aspect, though they would return for the singing.

I hope this study will contribute to educational research and practice in several ways, giving future researchers some useful guidelines. Perhaps the research outcomes can also inspire parents and more especially those who are directly involved with choristers’ education to consider the needs of the child alongside those of the school thus making the process more beneficial and at the same time helping to continue the tradition.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:English chorister, choir school, boarding school, music education, phenomenological study
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Nov 2023 11:47

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