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Other research that reports findings of particular social benefits accruing through participation in music includes evidence that sustained, formal piano lessons can support the development of children's self-esteem Costa-Giomi, Similar findings were reported in an intervention study with controls of specialized school-based music classes in Australia Rickard et al.

Music is also reported to have beneficial impacts on health and psychosocial wellbeing in a wide range of other, non-school contexts and across the lifespan cf. MacDonald et al. These include hospitals Preti and Welch, ; Preti, , prisons Henley et al. One novel approach was evidenced in an EC-funded study across four countries Finland, England, Switzerland and Greece that investigated how to use the attractiveness and power of new mobile phone technology and children's widespread interest in music to create a new tool that would enable children to have fun making music, whilst improving their knowledge and skills, and fostering their sense of social inclusion Fredrikson et al.

The research was targeted at particular groups of children at risk of social exclusion, particularly those with moderate learning difficulties or who were newly immigrant to their host communities. One integral facet of an individual's sense of being socially included or not is that this perception is interwoven with their overall self-concept, such as how they view themselves self-esteem, e. Links between self-concept and social inclusion are also theorized as integral to Ryan and Deci's self-motivation theory, based on three basic categories of psychological needs: competence, a sense of relatedness to others and an increasing sense of autonomy.

Each of these aspects of self has a musical correlate as part of an individual's self-view. For example, self-efficacy is important to both persistence and achievement in music Eccles et al. Furthermore, social interaction during music making activities is reported to play an essential role in facilitating social and musical development Young, ; Wiggins, Such interaction is a common feature of early childhood, where musical games and music-based rituals between caregivers and infants are a major source of building up supportive and healthy social attachments, as well as for stimulating language and intellectual development e.

As can be seen from the various studies reported above, there have been considerable national and international policy initiatives to foster social inclusion, as well as a wide range of related studies investigating the potential and actual social benefits of arts and music-based interventions. Prior to the official launch, a team from the Institute of Education, University of London, led by the first author, was appointed to undertake a research evaluation of key elements of the Sing Up Programme.

The agreed research focus was primarily on whether the various strands of the Sing Up programme in combination which included, for example, workforce development for teachers and community musicians, the development of a web-based song bank resource, an awards programme for schools, as well as initiatives involving school-based collaboration with singing specialists were impacting positively on a the singing behavior and development of the participant children and b the children's attitudes toward singing an aspect of the research that is not reported here in this article because of its length requirements.

In subsequent discussions, the funders also requested an additional focus. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that children's singing behavior is subject to developmental processes that are mediated by maturation, experience and socio-cultural context e. In general, older children tend to be more skilled in their singing behaviors, such that only a small minority continue have difficulty in singing in-tune by the age of eleven.

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Progress in singing competency is observable through significant changes in singing behavior and these changes can be mapped on the basis of published developmental frameworks of children's singing, grounded in empirical data cf. Rutkowski, ; Welch, ; Mang, Such research-based studies recognize that a child that can become significantly more accomplished in their singing in a socially nurturing singing environment. A review of the literature on social inclusion Rinta et al. Accordingly, the current study drew on this multifaceted conception to investigate aspects of social inclusion by drawing on related aspects of children's social self-concept.

These embraced statements related to self-esteem drawing on the work of Fitts, ; Rosenberg, ; Thornberry et al. For the purposes of the current article, the term social inclusion is being treated as one concept that draws on sense of self and of being socially integrated. This additional research focus was woven into the design of the participant children's attitudinal data collection to explore its possible relationship with their assessed singing behavior.

Overall, the key research question that is the focus for this paper was: Is there any wider attitudinal benefit in terms of the children's self-concept and sense of being socially included being evidenced in relation to data on the same children's individually assessed song singing behavior and development? Across the four years of Sing Up — , the Institute of Education research team visited schools nationally and collected individual singing data from 11, children. Some of the children were seen more than once as part of a longitudinal focus, resulting in a total of 13, assessments of individual children's singing being made.

Schools were selected on the basis of being located in major cities and adjacent populations areas, supplemented by schools in other urban, suburban and rural settings. There were also a number of Cathedral Choir Schools that were contacted directly. In terms of ethical procedures, all participants headteachers, teachers and pupils had the purpose of the assessment explained in advance and this was in writing to the school using a specially prepared leaflet that was designed to use language in an age-appropriate way for the children.

Under our ethical guidelines based on BERA, we guaranteed anonymity to all participants and told them that they were allowed to withdraw from the assessment process at any time that they felt uncomfortable, for any or no reason. Participation was invited and not compulsory and children could ask to opt out if they did not wish to have their singing assessed.

Children's singing behavior and development were assessed individually by the application of a specially designed protocol. As well as aspects of children's spoken pitch and vocal range, the protocol required a member of the research team to assess each individual child's performance of two well-known songs against two established rating scales of singing development Rutkowski, ; Welch, —see Mang, ; Welch et al.

Singing development was assessed by noting any changes in singing ability as measured principally by comparison with children of the same and different ages. The research process embraced two main sub-categories of participants within the overall data set, i. Each child was taken through the assessment protocol, normally being tested individually within a small group of between 2 and 4 children that was drawn from the class.

This allowed the other members of the group to observe and see what was required, as this had been shown previously to be an appropriate method of accessing better quality responses than individual testing alone cf. Plumridge, Children tended to be less nervous and, if shy, able to understand more clearly what was expected of them by listening to their peers in advance.

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To avoid the effects of vocal modeling, no starting pitch was given for the song items and, although the member of the research team provided verbal encouragement to the child, they did not offer any sung prompt cf. All children completed the assessments and none were excluded from the study. The large numbers of participants necessitated a team-based approach to the data collection. Consequently, at the beginning of the research process, initial fieldwork was designed to allow moderation of team members' judgments. Members of the research team underwent initial training on sampled items in the assessment protocol, then completed a school visit in pairs prior to making visits on their own.

The validity and ease of use of the assessment protocol was established through a short piloting process prior to commencement of the main data collection. The piloting process involved two members of the research team visiting a local Primary school and using the draft protocol to make digital audio recordings of individual children of different ages.

The resultant vocal products were then put online, duplicated and randomized and then rated by both themselves and other members of the team according to the two assessment scales for singing behavior and development Rutkowski, ; Welch, Chorus America, ; Faulkner and Davidson, ; Clift et al. Accordingly, interwoven with 45 statements concerning children's attitudes to singing were 15 statements that related to aspects of children's social inclusion sense of self and of being socially integrated. The 15 statements were based on a variety of sources to investigate different facets of children's social self-concept.

These embraced statements related to self-esteem Fitts, ; Rosenberg, ; Thornberry et al. Collectively, these 15 statements are interpreted as being related to children's social concept, hence the labeling here as sense of self and of being socially included.

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The questionnaire was completed in the children's school class as part of a normal working day. The researcher led the session and the children's class teacher and teaching assistants provided support as necessary to ensure that the children worked on their own and were not copying anyone else. Children worked through the statements at their own speed and indicated their agreement with the statement using a seven-point Likert-type smiley face scale.

Earlier studies had used versions of this type of visual analog scale to measure pain e. The initial research methods piloting revealed that this form of visual analog scale worked very well with young children, irrespective of academic ability, ethnicity, and language group. Individuals were supported in reading the text if this was required. For the youngest children, one page of the questionnaire was completed at a time six questions , with the class teacher and teaching assistants supporting individual children as needed.

A comparison of the two strands of collected data [i. Initially, a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was computed to assess the relationship between the children's mean responses to the 15 questions concerning their social inclusion sense of self and of being socially integrated and the same children's individually assessed normalized singing scores. Overall, there was a positive correlation between singing development rating and children's sense of being socially included.

Increases in rated singing ability were correlated with increases in social inclusion. Children clustered within the highest quartile for their mean social inclusion scores had a mean normalized singing score of Subsequently, a series of regression analyses were undertaken. Thus, a 1-point increase in social inclusion score on a 7-point scale predicted a 1.

These effects remained statistically significant and did not change substantially when controlling for gender, year group, and ethnicity. When dividing the social inclusion scale into quartiles, regression results showed that being in the lowest quartile for social inclusion predicted a 6. Thus, the results showed that being in a Sing Up school predicted an increase in singing scores of 6. In addition, as mentioned above, within the overall dataset, there were two main sub-groups.


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One sub-group consisted of children who were not participating in the Sing Up programme at the time of their assessment, but who completed both the attitudinal questionnaire and also undertook an individual singing assessment. This sub-group were termed Non-Sing Up in the data collection and subsequent analyses in order that they could be compared to the other sub-group of children who at the time of their assessments had had experience of the national singing programme i. This second sub-group were labeled Sing Up.

In each case, there was a small but identical significant positive correlation between the two variables, i. Overall, a positive correlation was evidenced between children's sense of being socially included and their singing ability for each sub-group. There is evidence of a positive relationship between increased singing skill and a greater sense of self and of being socially included, whether or not children had participated in the Sing Up programme. This evidence of a relationship between measures for both groups confirms the interpretation that the development of singing expertise of itself, irrespective of Sing Up participation, appears to be related positively to self-concept i.

One further correlational analysis was undertaken. These particular children had completed the attitudinal questionnaire and had had their singing ability assessed at two different intervals during the final 3 years of the research team's main overall evaluation of the Sing Up programme — A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was computed to assess the relationship between the children's gain scores related to any changes in their responses to questions concerning social inclusion sense of self and of being socially integrated compared to any changes over the same time period in the same children's individually assessed normalized singing scores.

The design and implementation of the National Singing Programme Sing Up in England was driven by a political concern at that time to ensure that all children of Primary school age experienced regular and successful singing experiences each week. Notwithstanding the rhetorical style of such music advocacy, the data analyses arising from this external evaluation of Sing Up as reported above suggest that there is, at least, some empirical evidence of social as well as musical benefit from active participation in successful music making. Indeed, the regression results suggests that children with more advanced singing abilities were also more socially included.

They also suggest that participation in the Sing Up programme was associated with a significant increase in singing scores. Together, these results suggest that contexts such as those offered by the Sing Up programme, i. In such contexts, many children acquire singing competence through participation in a group where learning is collaborative, satisfying, and significant, and where learning may be supported by group motivational processes, such as shared goals, the holding of positive outcome expectations, with the attribution of success associated with factors such as ability and effort [cf.

These are all strong motivational processes affecting self-efficacy and self-esteem cf. Whilst caution is needed in the interpretation of the correlation and regression data, and in the pitfalls of ascription of causal effects between measures, the inference is that successful singing is likely to be associated with a more positive sense of self because of perceived competence and singing self-efficacy which supports general self-esteem and the feeling of being social included.

This social-psychological including emotional impact where positive also relates to the physical act of singing, its embodiment cf. Such an inference is supported by other research evidence, both arising as part of this national evaluation and elsewhere. Their members were given the opportunity to bid for funds to initiate singing development activities such as workshops and concerts in their local Primary schools, often through the organization of visits by their choristers to act as singing role models, and usually with a senior member of the Cathedral music staff leading the school children's singing activities.

A common outcome arising from the sequenced programme of weekly COP activities was a concert-type performance in the local Cathedral in which all the participant school children and choristers, together with parents and carers, came together. Furthermore, when the research team were asked to undertake a related evaluation for the Italian Ministry of Education of the social impact of their specially-funded choral programme in schools across the Emilia-Romagna region, similar findings emerged. Drawing on the literature cited earlier and elsewhere, it is possible to speculate as to why children's successful engagement in singing might be associated in some way with an enhanced sense of self.

For example, children have tended to learn to sing in large group settings within the English Primary school system. Singing is frequently experienced as a member of a whole class or within a group of classes, such as in a school assembly. As a result of the children's and their teachers' involvement in the national Sing Up programme, with its emphasis on group-based pedagogy, many children experienced growing mastery in their singing behavior and were developmentally in advance in their singing behaviors compared with children of the same age outside the programme see Welch et al.

This is not to say that learning to sing as a member of a group automatically fosters individual development, but it seems that the design of the national programme, which sought to accommodate its group teaching bias by providing a rich range of on-line and paper resources, allowed for differentiated singing tasks that supported opportunities for successful teaching to be observed Saunders et al.

In addition, other psychological research suggests that acting in synchrony with others can increase cooperation by strengthening social attachment among group members Wiltermuth and Heath, This finding accords with evidence from adult studies concerning the important psychophysiological, socio-psychological, and well-being benefits that can accrue from choir membership Bailey and Davidson, ; Faulkner and Davidson, ; Clift and Hancox, ; Clift et al. Similarly, research evidence from adolescent engagement in other arts areas, such as dance, and also sport suggests that peer relationships can be a powerful factor in nurturing or hindering successful participation and ongoing engagement Patrick et al.

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Similarly, narrative based research enquiry into adolescent boys' motivation to continue singing activities is reported to relate to their self-perceptions of musical autonomy and vocal skills that are nurtured within a network of peer social support Freer, Similarly, complementary neuroscientific dual-fMRI-based evidence indicates that singing with another person, such as in a duet, involves a distributed network of brain areas that are responsible for coordinating interactive entrainment Parsons et al.

Consequently, where children experience success in the context of their collective singing, with associated feelings related to emotional and social well-being as part of an underlying distributed neural network, it is not surprising that they might report a stronger sense of group membership, of belonging and of being social included. In conclusion, the three separate, yet complementary strands of correlational data within the emergent analyses from the two strands of assessment singing behavior and social inclusion i.

Children with more developed singing ability irrespective of whether or not they had any experience of Sing Up tended to have a more positive sense of self and of being socially integrated. Where children had experience of the Sing Up programme, they were statistically more likely to be advanced in their singing development compared to those children outside the programme. By inference, therefore, the programme was also indirectly providing social benefit i. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

The research team are pleased to acknowledge the overwhelming support provided by the many stakeholders in this external research-based evaluation of the Sing Up programme.

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We are especially grateful to all the participant children, teachers, schools, parents and carers, as well as academic and local authority colleagues across the country. With each successive year of data collection, more and more schools joined the programme. Consequently, much of the Non Sing Up data was collected in the opening 2 years of the research process. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol. Published online Jul Graham F. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This article was submitted to Cognitive Science, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Received Feb 27; Accepted Jul 7. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Abstract There is a growing body of neurological, cognitive, and social psychological research to suggest the possibility of positive transfer effects from structured musical engagement. Keywords: singing, development, Sing Up , self-concept, social inclusion, children. Introduction According to their published policies, one of the major concerns of many contemporary Governments and international organizations is social cohesion. Materials and methods Across the four years of Sing Up — , the Institute of Education research team visited schools nationally and collected individual singing data from 11, children.

Open in a separate window. Results Initially, a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was computed to assess the relationship between the children's mean responses to the 15 questions concerning their social inclusion sense of self and of being socially integrated and the same children's individually assessed normalized singing scores. Figure 1. Discussion The design and implementation of the National Singing Programme Sing Up in England was driven by a political concern at that time to ensure that all children of Primary school age experienced regular and successful singing experiences each week.


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  • Conflict of interest statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Acknowledgments The research team are pleased to acknowledge the overwhelming support provided by the many stakeholders in this external research-based evaluation of the Sing Up programme.

    References Achenbach T. Social inclusion and social exclusion in England: tensions in education policy. Policy 17 , 71—86 The sociology of social inclusion. Sage Open 3 , 1—16 Oxford: Oxford University Press; A qualitative investigation of commitment to dance: findings from the UK centres for advanced training.

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    Dance Educ. Adaptive characteristics of group singing: perceptions from members of a choir for homeless men. Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York, NY: W. Freeman [ Google Scholar ] Barrett M. Developing learning identities in and through music: a case study of the outcomes of a music programme in an Australian juvenile detention centre. Music Educ. The neuroscience of affiliation: forging links between basic and clinical research on neuropeptides and social behavior. Social exclusion impairs self-regulation.

    Revised Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. No one, not even the most religious among us, is immune. Sometimes it is health issues, money issues, work or family problems. Other times it is just life itself — waking up feeling like the minute that your feet hit the floor, the problems are going to flood through the door. You spend your day struggling just to keep your head above water so you can go to bed and get up the next day to do it all over again.

    If you are there or you have been there , you are not the first. The Bible is filled with people much like you who struggled with things beyond their control. Jacob spends his life struggling with God. Moses struggled with his leadership role and the people around him. David seemed to have it all, yet he struggled with much as the Psalms shares with us.

    Job was hit with loss after loss after loss. He suffered mightily for over 40 chapters and while he never cursed God, he did curse the day he was born. The Apostle Paul struggled and in 1 Timothy and called himself one of the biggest sinners of all time. In just the past couple of years, we have seen our church leaders and those in the Christian music industry struggle. Carman was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Mike Reynolds, the former guitarist from For Today, started a firestorm when he tweeted his thoughts on homosexuality in. Think back to and you'll remember Sanctus Real 's bus catching on fire, Pastor Marvin Winans getting carjacked and Teen Mania Ministries founder Ron Luce's daughter Hannah being in a plane crash that killed four people as they flew to an Acquire the Fire event.

    Songs about struggle and surviving struggle can create a playlist that will help you get through your next rough day. And never forget what Jesus said in Matthew — Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

    There's hope for the hopeless And all those who've strayed Come sit at the table Come taste the grace There's rest for the weary Rest that endures Earth has no sorrow That Heaven can't cure. Get the Lyrics. The title track from Lauren's release is all about being inadequate and imperfect, yet loved and beloved.

    Can You take this pain?