Community is an overarching word that encompasses people in formal and informal settings covering a broad range of activities. Engaging through sound “in community” and “as community” provides the opportunity for participants to come together making and sharing music through song. This paper focuses on voice (singing) across the Tasman within formal and informal locations. Author One draws on interview data within an “informal” space with three community choirs in regional Victoria (Australia) from her wider study Spirituality and Wellbeing: Music in the Community. The data shows that choir members use voice to connect with their local community around issues about social justice and the environment. The choir findings are reported under two overarching themes: connections to singing and wellbeing, and connections to community. Author Two uses narrative reflection as she focusses on the value of song with her generalist pre-service teacher’s in a “formal” space within the Bachelor of Education (primary) programme at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She explores the deeper meaning, and language features such as metaphor and personification that are evident in many songs and argues that songs provide a useful context for cultural and language learning. Her narrative is discussed under two overarching themes: benefits of singing, and social and linguistic connections. Though generalisations about singing across the Tasman cannot be made to other community or educational settings, we assert that singing is a powerful medium that can foster positive growth in education and community settings.


Singing, Community Music, Preservice Teachers, Higher Education, Cultural and Learning, Social Justice, Narrative Enquiry, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Dawn Joseph is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University (Australia). She teaches in undergraduate and postgraduate programs and is a member of the editorial boards of international and national refereed journals. Her research and publications focus on: teacher education, music education, community music, African music, cultural diversity, and ageing and well-being in the Arts. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: djoseph@deakin.edu.au.

Robyn Trinick is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland (New Zealand). She teaches in undergraduate programs in both early childhood and primary sectors. Robyn maintains strong links with primary schools in the community. She publishes in national and international journals and presents at local and international conferences. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: r.trinick@auckland.ac.nz.

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