The benefits of a cathedral chorister education

Does anyone know of any survey or academic research that has been done, or is being done (in the UK or elsewhere), to investigate the lifelong benefits of a cathedral chorister education and training? This covers not just the benefits felt by the former choristers themselves, but the value of the contribution they make to society.

I am one of the musical advisors to the newly-formed Hamish Ogston Foundation, which, as one of its objectives, wants to support cathedral and collegiate choirs, and choral singing among young people in the UK generally. It would be very helpful to the Foundation, before they commission a survey of their own, to know what research there has already been (or is currently in progress) in this field. Most of us who are active in the world of choral singing tend to believe in it as being beneficial, not just musically but in terms of fostering qualities such as well-being, confidence, self-esteem, leadership, teamwork, social responsibility, and a capacity for working hard and to a high professional standard. It also seems that choristers are likely to attain above-average results in their general education.

However, these beliefs need exploring so that firm evidence can be produced – even if the results reveal a different or more complex picture. If you can let me know of any relevant surveys or research, this would be much appreciated by the Foundation. It need not relate just to cathedral and collegiate choristers: there are other types of children’s choirs that aim to train their young members to a high standard – abbey (and ambitious parish church) choirs, school choirs and non-institutional children’s choirs are also of interest.

You can leave any comments on the Hamish Ogston Foundation website. Many thanks for any help you are able to give.


2 Responses to “The benefits of a cathedral chorister education”

  1. Mrs Aprella Fitch

    As a girl I was not eligible to even audition for a Cathedral choir but always sang in the church choir as did both of my daughters. We all went on to enjoy a great appreciation of music in all forms and my elder daughter became a professional cellist with a wonderful voice as well. She is now an academic and seeking a professorship in her chosen field which is in fact a million mile away from her early musical training. My younger daughter is a financial high flyer which might also link the academic success often linked by musical trainingI would suggest that any choral singing is of great benefit in many spheres of life and for a very long time in a practical sense and for ever in terms of culture.
    The aspect of the planned research is by definition fairly narrow but should have a confirmatory effect of enforcing some important cerebral connections between music, nurture and culture.

  2. Clarice Varga

    I am a huge fan of your music! I have been a choral singer in the United States for over 50 years! Here is a study that I became aware of in 2018…

    “Chorus America’s Chorus Impact Study provides data on the scope of choral singing in the U.S. and the impact of singing in a chorus that simply can’t be found anywhere else.”

    “Our most recent Chorus Impact Study found that 42.6 million Americans sing regularly in a chorus, and that children and adults who sing are more likely to demonstrate academic success and important life skills.”

     “The new Chorus Impact Study, Singing for a Lifetime, will update these important findings and add new data on the value of group singing for older adults (age 62+).”

    I have not seen results of the last survey conducted by this group. I hope this can be helpful although it addresses U.S. specifically.

    Thank you for your music!


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