The musical and social benefits of community choir membership in Melbourne (Australia)

Joseph, Dawn and Southcott, Jane 2013, The musical and social benefits of community choir membership in Melbourne (Australia), in Proceedings of the Music and Well-being International Conference 2013, MASARA Research Niche Entity, North-West University, South Africa, Potchesfstoom, South Africa, pp. 1-1.

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Title The musical and social benefits of community choir membership in Melbourne (Australia)
Author(s) Joseph, DawnORCID iD for Joseph, Dawn
Southcott, Jane
Conference name Music and Well-being International Conference (2013: Potchefstroom, South Africa)
Conference location Potchefstroom, South Africa
Conference dates 6-10 Aug. 2013
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the Music and Well-being International Conference 2013
Editor(s) Potgieter, Hetta M
Publication date 2013
Conference series Music and Well-being International Conference
Start page 1
End page 1
Total pages 1
Publisher MASARA Research Niche Entity, North-West University, South Africa
Place of publication Potchesfstoom, South Africa
Keyword(s) singing groups
community arts

Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia with a diverse, multilayered society that reflects its rich musical life. There are many community choirs formed by various cultural and linguistically diverse groups. This paper is part of an ongoing project, well-being and ageing: community, diversity and the arts (since 2008), undertaken by Deakin University and Monash University, that explores the cultural diversity within Australian society and how active music engagement fosters well-being.

The singing groups selected for this discussion are the Skylarkers, the Bosnian Behar Choir, and the Coro Furlan. The Skylarkers and the Bosnian Behar Choir are mixed groups who who respectively perform popular music from their generation and celebrate their culture through music. The Coro Furlan is an Italian male choir who understand themselves as custodians of their heritage.

In these interpretative, qualitative case studies semi-structured interviews were undertaken and analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. In this approach there is an exploration of participants’ understanding of their lived experiences.

The analysis of the combined data identified musical and social benefits that contribute to participants’ sustained well-being. Musical benefits occurred through sharing, learning and singing together. Social benefits included opportunities to build friendships, overcome isolation and gain a sense of validation. Many found that singing enhanced their health and happiness. Active music making in community choirs continues to be an effective way to build community, and cognitive, affective and physical well-being.

Notes The MASARA Research Niche Entity at the School of Music, North-West University presented this first International Conference on Music & Well-Being from 6-10 August 2013 at the Conservatory in Potchefstroom, South Africa. (website -
Language eng
Field of Research 130101 Continuing and Community Education
Socio Economic Objective 950105 The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance)
HERDC Research category E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Education
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Created: Mon, 26 Aug 2013, 14:13:39 EST by Dawn Joseph

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