Cohen, M.L. ( 2007). Explorations of inmate and volunteer choral experiences among a prison-based choir. Australian Journal of Music Education, 1, 61-72.
Author Affiliations: University of Iowa
Artforms: Choir, music, singing
Program Description: Community member and prison choir
Program (Study) Location: Minimum-security state prison, Midwest
U.S. Study Published: 2007
Participant Type: Adult male inmates aged 21-53, adult volunteers aged 35-82 Sample Size: 44 (20 inmates and 24 volunteers)
Data Type: Quantitative and Qualitative
● Quantitative: Survey instrument consisting of: (a) demographic questions; (b) seven Likert-scale items on perception of intonation, sense of accomplishment, choir participation upon release, self-reflection; (c) four open-ended items about participants’ most positive and negative experiences and their reasons for joining; and (d) any further comments
● Qualitative: Interviews with 29 participants (17 inmates and 12 volunteers), participant observations, field notes
Evaluation Focus: Participants’ experiences in a joint inmate-community volunteer choir
Summary of Impact:
● Quantitative: Both inmates and volunteers indicated that their participation afforded: “(a) means to a peak experience with momentary disappearance of stresses and (b) a sense of accomplishment. Inmates perceived more improvement in intrapersonal skills than volunteers while volunteers reported more success in identifying out-of-tune singing than inmates” (p. 61).
● Qualitative: “Choral music education experiences, approached more comprehensively than simply promoting interaction between individual singers and a musical score, may carry potential for transformative personal and interpersonal change in prison choir contexts” (p. 61).
KEYWORDS: adult, choir, intrapersonal skills, music, sense of accomplishment, singing, stress