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.