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Milestones in singing development: Towards a new theory


Stadler Elmer, Stefanie (2009). Milestones in singing development: Towards a new theory. In: The Changing Face of Music Education : The Second International Conference, Tallinn, 23 April 2009 - 25 April 2009, 234-241.

Abstract

Singing is a universal and biologically based ability that develops parallel with speaking or even precedes it. From the viewpoint of a structural genetic constructivism, singing emerges from the earliest vocal play - and it is the earliest musical expression. The prolongation of vowels - one of the culture-free defining features of singing - creates the impression of singing. Originally, singing is accompanied with positive emotional states (e.g. well-being). Singing enhances social attachment, feelings of social belonging, but also the reverse, social exclusion, thereby coining cultural identity. In social contexts, vocal sounds become meaningful and are symbolised, both by producing and by listening. Singing, as music making, is play; however, to achieve conventionalised forms of using the voice, the child has to learn cultural specific rules. Vocal and musical behaviour are highly adaptive and constructive. Development is a construction of actions, starting with sensori-motor activities. Vocal development starts at birth, and gradually adapts to the cultural surrounding and its conventions concerning language, music, and social rules. The organisation of the actions adapts to the environment, and gradually are internalised as mental structures. Actions and thoughts become more and more differentiated, controlled, and conscious. The child approaches vocal sounds to musical and linguistic symbols through playing and imitating. There are huge individual differences regarding the development of the musical potential. The developmental course is not age-related, but can be conceptualised according to newly emerging qualities in the organisation of actions and thoughts. Hypotheses about the developmental sequence are outlined as consecutive stages and illustrated with empirical examples that are based on acoustical analyses.

Singing is a universal and biologically based ability that develops parallel with speaking or even precedes it. From the viewpoint of a structural genetic constructivism, singing emerges from the earliest vocal play - and it is the earliest musical expression. The prolongation of vowels - one of the culture-free defining features of singing - creates the impression of singing. Originally, singing is accompanied with positive emotional states (e.g. well-being). Singing enhances social attachment, feelings of social belonging, but also the reverse, social exclusion, thereby coining cultural identity. In social contexts, vocal sounds become meaningful and are symbolised, both by producing and by listening. Singing, as music making, is play; however, to achieve conventionalised forms of using the voice, the child has to learn cultural specific rules. Vocal and musical behaviour are highly adaptive and constructive. Development is a construction of actions, starting with sensori-motor activities. Vocal development starts at birth, and gradually adapts to the cultural surrounding and its conventions concerning language, music, and social rules. The organisation of the actions adapts to the environment, and gradually are internalised as mental structures. Actions and thoughts become more and more differentiated, controlled, and conscious. The child approaches vocal sounds to musical and linguistic symbols through playing and imitating. There are huge individual differences regarding the development of the musical potential. The developmental course is not age-related, but can be conceptualised according to newly emerging qualities in the organisation of actions and thoughts. Hypotheses about the developmental sequence are outlined as consecutive stages and illustrated with empirical examples that are based on acoustical analyses.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Event End Date:25 April 2009
Deposited On:14 May 2014 09:21
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:50
Publisher:Tallinn University
ISBN:978-9985-58-632-7

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