Development of Multicultural Choirs on College Campuses: Theory and Practice

Karen M. Ludke, Annabel J. Cohen, Bing-Yi Pan

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    University campuses typically include students from many cultures and parts of the world, and foreign students face greater challenges adjusting to university life than do indigenous students. Finding common ground with other students is one such key challenge, particularly if language bars ordinary communication. Songs from different cultures can be shared without speaking another’s language. The AIRS project proposed that the creation of a multicultural choir on a campus would provide an opportunity for students to share their cultures and to experience cultures of others. The particular choral group envisioned was one in which participants from many cultures shared in the leadership, while given the scaffolding to succeed. Despite their potential value, such multicultural choral groups are rarely found on university campuses. Over a four-year period, we aimed to identify barriers to forming such campus choral groups and the support needed for success. A further goal was to develop a theoretically based protocol and handbook for the formation and maintenance of a multicultural choir and song circle for use on other campuses, regarding such decisions as partitioning of rehearsal time, establishing a shared leadership structure, and acquiring the resources needed. Through a survey of choir members, the present research examines the applicability of theoretical ideas stemming from social psychology, cognitive psychology, music education, choral pedagogy, and music theory as a foundation for a successful multicultural campus choral group. The formation of such choirs has intrinsic value to their members and campuses, and can also provide opportunities for further research on the benefits of choral singing and the building of intercultural relations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Interdisciplinary Studies in Singing, Volume III:
    Subtitle of host publicationWellbeing
    EditorsRachel Heydon, Daisy Fancourt, Annabel J. Cohen
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315162546
    ISBN (Print)9781138061224
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2020

    Publication series

    NameThe Routledge Companion to Interdisciplinary Studies in Singing


    • Singing
    • Choral
    • Music
    • Intercultural Education
    • Culture and Cultural Issues
    • Music education


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