Experiencing Resonance: Choral Singing in Medical Education

Title: Experiencing Resonance: Choral Singing in Medical Education
Authors: Nemoy, Laura
Date: 2016
Abstract: Arts and humanities programming is becoming increasingly incorporated in the medical school, balancing the biomedical paradigm, and nurturing human and emotional qualities and understandings in medical students. Music is often listed among these arts and humanities disciplines; yet there exists an acknowledged gap in the literature pertaining to musical activities and programming in the medical school, despite the prevalence of choirs, a cappella groups, small instrumental ensembles, and musical theatre programs in medical schools. Literature on choirs, musical ensemble, and community music suggests that choral singing can cultivate many of the intra and interpersonal skills that medical humanities programming encourages, such as empathy, cooperation, self-awareness, and human connection. Within the medical humanities, music has been tied to metaphors of “medicine as a performing art” or “the art of listening,” but very little literature exists delving into the actual musical experience of medical students. Drawing from medical humanities, community music, and education theory, and shaped by the metaphor of musical and emotional ‘resonance,’ this phenomenological study explores the relationships between choral singing and medical scholarship. Through semi-structured interviews, the primary goal of this inquiry was to develop in-depth understandings of the experiences of medical students singing as members of a musical community of practice: an extra-curricular medical school choir at a Canadian university. Findings indicate that choir is an informal, non-medical venue where students can engage with their musical identity during medical school; that choral singing can offer a means of stress-relief and creative outlet, mitigating symptoms of student burnout; and that engagement in the choir builds meaningful relationships and a supportive, connected community. Moreover, this study describes the role of music and choral singing in medical humanities and medical education, as well as suggests how involvement in a medical school choir may influence a medical student’s professional identity formation.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35542
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -