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Singing situations : a phenomenological study of singing in music classes in secondary school

PhD project This thesis explores how the phenomena of ”singing situations” are made visible through pupils and music teachers' experiences of music education in a Swedish school, through an existential philosofical gender perspective. A basic point of departure in the thesis is that singing development is possible to evolve for all humans, similar to the latest curriculum for the music subject in elementary school in Sweden.

The thesis can be positioned within four research areas: gender research in Swedish school, vocal- and voice research, gender related music education research and gender related music education research on singing. The latter research area constitutes the area in which the present dissertation is closest positioned to. Several researchers whose research is positioned in the area of gender related music education research expresses the need for more research similar to their own contributions.

Head of project

Linn Hentschel
Associate professor

Project overview

Project period:

2012-09-01 2017-10-06

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Creative Studies, Umeå School of Education

Project description

Within the study, five field visits have been conducted over two years involving seventyone students and five music teachers. The study includes observations and interviews, as well as sound recording and notes, and has focused solely on singing situations - situations in which singing appears in the participants' experiences in different ways. It was of research interest to meet pupils with experience of voice changes during puberty, as the majority of previous research presents the voice change as an experience that primarily or only boys experience. A very limited minority of research investigates how girls experience the voice change during puberty. The empirical data has been analyzed through seven phenomenological steps.

The overall results show that all students sing and that many enjoy singing in school, with exception for one girl. The teachers' basic starting point in their teaching is to treat singing ability as possible to develop for all students. According to the teachers' basic view of singing ability as transcendence, the result shows that different gendered normative and structural aspects surround the pupils and teachers. The results also show how these aspects impacts pupils choices in the singing situations, and that some students are given greater opportunities to transcend in their vocal learning than others. The results are discussed through themes that arise within the results, mainly: subjective and intersubjective experience through singing, habitual singing, norms of restraint and imitation, girls' and boys' singing situations, views on the singing body as factuality or freedom in relation to gender, as well as the creation of alternative rooms in singing situations.

To the thesis

Latest update: 2018-11-12