Conference: European Association for Music in Schools



In traditional group singing, meaning is made for the participants through interpretation and explanation by the singing leader. However, with multiple participants, there will be multiple interpretations and experiences of singing and attached meaning. This workshop will address ways of co-constructing meanings incorporating participants as full group members.


This workshop will explore how singing teachers can utilise Clean Language (David Grove) and Socratic questioning (e.g., Elder and Paul, 2019) as a tool for co-constructing knowledge (Wenger, 1998) to provide meaningful music education within group singing sessions. Teacher talk has power to elucidate and inform, and in singing teaching is heavily reliant on stock imagery, leading to debate over its efficacy (DeLilis, 2020). Whilst the use of scientifically accurate imagery is supported (Brown, 2021) it is best applied using the physiological and psychological frameworks of learners themselves (Chipman, 2008; Jansson, 2014). Therefore, the teacher’s role ought to be one of coach (Emmons and Chase, 2006), enabling learners to make sense of their own experiences, and co-constructing a personalised learning curriculum (Lave and Wenger, 1991).

Short description of Activities

This session outlines the importance of co-constructed, scientifically accurate imagery in singing, and demonstrates the combined use of Clean Language dialogue and Socratic questioning as a means of guiding learners towards understanding their own somatic experiences. It will lead practitioners through an evaluation of their own use of language for learning, and present them with a variety of tools and strategies for using classroom talk to co-construct a meaningful vocal learning curriculum from within a community of practice that includes students.

Implications for practice

Participants will be able to transfer these skills to their own settings, enabling them to personalise the learning of the groups they teach in their unique educational and cultural contexts.