Collaborative learning and choral confidence: the role of peer interactions in building confident amateur choirs

Michael Bonshor, University of Sheffield

Music Performance Research ISSN 1755-9219
Vol. 10, 38-56
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, December 2020
This article describes some of the collaborative processes that take place within adult amateur choirs, and demonstrates some associations between group dynamics, peer learning and the development of choral confidence. Three focus groups and 16 individual interviews provided 40 hours of verbal data. The research aims were: to explore the lived experience of amateur choral singers in relation to their confidence levels; to identify some of the factors affecting singers’ confidence in their vocal skills and choral performance ability; to use the data to extrapolate strategies designed for managing confidence issues amongst amateur choral singers. Data was collected during semi-structured interviews and focus groups with amateur singers. The superordinate themes, which emerged from the data, included collaboration and teamwork, reciprocal peer learning, and the contribution of unofficial team leaders to effective learning and performance. All of these factors were reported as increasing individual and collective confidence levels.  The findings highlight the role of peer interactions and social learning in developing the confidence of choral singers, and suggest ways in which conductors might optimize these interactions to build confidence during choir rehearsals and performances.
choral singers
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