Start Date

31-5-2011 4:00 PM

End Date

31-5-2011 4:30 PM

Description

Given our experiences assisting, directing, researching prison choirs and developing educational programs in prisons, we continue to examine the complex aspects of purposefully facilitated group-singing in prisons. Reflection upon the relationships among basic human rights, imprisonment and the penal system, prisoners’ needs and rehabilitation, and the effects of choral-singing affect our understanding of these multiple discourses. Our aim is to shed light on the similarities and differences among a complexity of such relationships through these research questions: (a) Among these ideas, what are the relationships and how do they inform our understanding of choral singing in prison contexts and basic human rights of incarcerated individuals? (b) What are the relationships among human rights and self-expression for people in prison? (c) What does research literature indicate in terms of successful reentry practices ? (d) In light of the answers to these questions, what implications might affect or inform music education? Article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” The life paths that many inmates have walked have often prevented such freedom both physically and mentally. One assumption of this paper is that as a society, we need to act toward prisoners “in a spirit of brotherhood,” particularly if we are concerned about their well-being, interactions with others, and self-perceptions as they live through incarceration and release from prison. This paper examines ideas that shape the processes and outcomes of choral singing in prisons. It articulates how choral singing is compatible with prisoners’ needs and assists with reentry. We argue that people’s basic needs include expression and positive relationship-building and that choral singing can be one means toward meeting these needs. Through a dialogical analysis using inquiry, information seeking, and deliberation (Walton, 2005), we examine these issues guided by three theoretical frameworks: theory of interactional choral singing pedagogy based on Small’s concept of musicking (Cohen, 2007), social development theory (Vygotsky, 1978), and situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1990). In the first section we explore the relationships of self-expression to human rights. We look at prisoners’ needs in light of these relationships. In the next section we highlight ideas attached to imprisonment and its relationships to reentry. Both concepts are defined and promising practices are highlighted. The third section explores the pedagogies and outcomes of non-religious-based choral singing in prison contexts. A brief historical description of these practices precedes a detailed account of ideas within these programs and their perceived benefits and challenges. The multiple discourses examined in this paper may conflict with one another and may attempt to assert power over one another and over people. In this section we examine these conflicts and argue that effectively facilitated choral singing in prisons satisfies some of the reentry needs of people in prisons. We conclude with research possibilities and implications for music education.


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May 31st, 4:00 PM May 31st, 4:30 PM

Expressing the Self: Critical Reflections on Choral Singing and Human Rights in Prison

Given our experiences assisting, directing, researching prison choirs and developing educational programs in prisons, we continue to examine the complex aspects of purposefully facilitated group-singing in prisons. Reflection upon the relationships among basic human rights, imprisonment and the penal system, prisoners’ needs and rehabilitation, and the effects of choral-singing affect our understanding of these multiple discourses. Our aim is to shed light on the similarities and differences among a complexity of such relationships through these research questions: (a) Among these ideas, what are the relationships and how do they inform our understanding of choral singing in prison contexts and basic human rights of incarcerated individuals? (b) What are the relationships among human rights and self-expression for people in prison? (c) What does research literature indicate in terms of successful reentry practices ? (d) In light of the answers to these questions, what implications might affect or inform music education? Article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” The life paths that many inmates have walked have often prevented such freedom both physically and mentally. One assumption of this paper is that as a society, we need to act toward prisoners “in a spirit of brotherhood,” particularly if we are concerned about their well-being, interactions with others, and self-perceptions as they live through incarceration and release from prison. This paper examines ideas that shape the processes and outcomes of choral singing in prisons. It articulates how choral singing is compatible with prisoners’ needs and assists with reentry. We argue that people’s basic needs include expression and positive relationship-building and that choral singing can be one means toward meeting these needs. Through a dialogical analysis using inquiry, information seeking, and deliberation (Walton, 2005), we examine these issues guided by three theoretical frameworks: theory of interactional choral singing pedagogy based on Small’s concept of musicking (Cohen, 2007), social development theory (Vygotsky, 1978), and situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1990). In the first section we explore the relationships of self-expression to human rights. We look at prisoners’ needs in light of these relationships. In the next section we highlight ideas attached to imprisonment and its relationships to reentry. Both concepts are defined and promising practices are highlighted. The third section explores the pedagogies and outcomes of non-religious-based choral singing in prison contexts. A brief historical description of these practices precedes a detailed account of ideas within these programs and their perceived benefits and challenges. The multiple discourses examined in this paper may conflict with one another and may attempt to assert power over one another and over people. In this section we examine these conflicts and argue that effectively facilitated choral singing in prisons satisfies some of the reentry needs of people in prisons. We conclude with research possibilities and implications for music education.