Name: Laura Ginström
Main subject: Ensemble Singing
Supervisor: Gerda van Zelm
Title of research: Singing and Well-being - The Experiences of Professional Choir Singers
Research question: How do professional choir singers describe the effects of singing and the professional life on their well-being, and what is the importance and effect of singing-related well-being for my own artistic development?
Summary of results:
Singing in choirs has been an integral part of my life, and I have personally experienced enjoyable physical sensations, positive emotions and social bonding associated with choir singing. Researching this topic further, I learned that these experiences can be described as singing-related well-being. According to a growing number of studies amateur choir singing produces various beneficial effects on health and well-being. Research on professional singers about their experiences and occupational well-being has been much scarcer. Based on the limited studies, they might not enjoy all of the same benefits of singing as amateurs do. The goal of this research was to start closing this research gap and to learn what professional choir singers have to say about singing-related well-being. I created an online questionnaire to gather experiences from professional singers, and also kept a diary of my own well-being experiences during professional choir projects. Analysing these two sources of data revealed that professional singers did recognise many of the well-being experiences associated with singing. However, professional choir singing was not perceived as something especially relaxing or therapeutic, which are common themes emerged from research on amateurs. The social aspects of choir work were deemed important in experiencing singing-related well-being, as well as the conductor’s artistic approach. For me personally, these well-being experiences have been the motivation for my career choice and for this research, and they also serve as an indicator of my development as a musician.
The format of this research is a thesis.
Laura Ginström (1992) is a Finnish mezzo-soprano who has studied vocal pedagogy and clinical psychology in Helsinki. Her love for choir singing brought her to The Hague, where she started in the new Master Specialisation Ensemble singing at The Royal Conservatoire in 2018. She currently studies with Noa Frenkel and sings projects with The Netherlands Chamber Choir as a part of the master’s course. She is passionate about combining her two careers in singing and psychology, being particularly interested in the beneficial effects of singing on the body and the mind.