Their Stories Our Stories

Choir in schools as a means of fostering identity and community formation


  • Russell Fewster University of South Australia
  • Christie Anderson


Identity, Community, Jacques Lecoq, Choir, song writing, ethnography


This project sought to research how young people (secondary students) can effectively express their social and cultural identity through the creation of choirs and small music ensembles to perform their songs. A key research question was to explore how the cultural symbolism of identity is expressed through music. Inherent in this question is an examination of  how forming a choir or music ensemble can foster the formation of a sense of community between participants. In this respect community and identity are inextricably linked and interwoven through the processes of collectively making and performing music. This encompasses both vocal and bodily training – the latter derived from the physical theatre training methods of Jacques Lecoq. The research encouraged participants to reflect on their age and social trajectory of experiences and through writing lyrics and music, articulate key moments of identity formation. In turn the students explored the experiential means to communicate their stories to each other and their respective communities through movement and song. This multi-origin approach was intended to examine how young people focus on issues important to their generation in the context of their school communities. In this regard, the research discovered that their concerns were expressed musically in both comic and dramatic forms and closely tied to social issues and concerns.