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Publication Detail
Singer identities and educational environments
  • Publication Type:
    Chapter
  • Authors:
    Welch GF
  • Publisher:
    Oxford University Press
  • Publication date:
    10/2016
  • Place of publication:
    New York, US
  • Chapter number:
    30
  • Editors:
    R. MacDonald, D. Miell, & D. Hargreaves
  • Book title:
    Oxford Handbook of Musical Identities
  • Language:
    English
  • Keywords:
    singer, identity, development, positive, negative
Abstract
The human voice is a core component of our identity, both in singing as well as in speech. This is because our vocal utterances intimately reflect our inner physical and psychological health. In singing, our vocal products are closely related to our current phase of musical identity, as well as to the coordination of the voice mechanism. Relative singing mastery and development are nurtured or hindered by experiences in socio-cultural settings, which range from the initial playful explorations of cot-based infancy to making sense and attempting to recreate elements of the glocal (global/local) sung repertoire, as experienced in the home and outside, either virtually (as mediated by media) or directly through contact with another human. Singing skills usually develop over time, relative to the nature and quality of cumulative experience. This includes how others perceive our singing—which, in turn, relates to their own experience of singing, expectations and singer identity. It is normal for singing competency, in relation to the expectations of the local culture, to develop across childhood into adolescence and adulthood. However, where singing skills are not appropriately nurtured and developed, the outcome can be a lifelong mislabelling of negative musical self-efficacy and self-worth. Critical periods for whether or not singer identity emerges as positive or negative have been noted in childhood and adolescence. The chapter explores singer identity by drawing on empirical data from a wide range of studies of children's, adolescents' and adults' singing development in the UK and elsewhere. The chapter also suggests how appropriate educational interventions can address negative singer identity.
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