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Association of Choral Directors
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Young people and choirs: what happens after school?

NZCF recently conducted some research into how we can stay connected with young people and support them to keep singing in choirs after they leave school.

Up until the end of Year 13, the number of young New Zealanders who sing in a choir or Barbershop chorus is high. They are actively engaged in school groups across the country, enthusiastically take part in festivals like The Big Sing, and have a real passion for singing with their peers.

Once they leave school, engagement drops quite significantly in all regions and NZCF is keen to understand why that is and how we might support and encourage those singers back to doing what they love.

We conducted two focus groups and a 1:1 interview with 12 men and women aged 18-23, 50% of whom were still singing in choirs and the others had not sung since leaving school. Through the focus groups we sought to understand:

  • EXPERIENCE – their experience of singing at school, what experiences they were currently looking for and how accessible and easy it is for them to find suitable choirs since leaving school
  • EXPECTATIONS – how they expected to continue singing once they had left school and what support they had hoped to have
  • PAIN POINTS – the pain points or blockers they are experiencing that may be getting In the way of engaging in singing in some way
  • OPPORTUNITIES – any ideas or opportunities that could better support their ability or motivation to stay engaged or re-engage with the singing community in some way.

A number of common themes emerged and on Thursday 9 September we recorded a webinar in which researcher Daisy Duncan-Smith presented her findings. NZCF Board member Megan Hurnard, who led the initiative, joined her on the webinar, along with fellow Board member David Squire and NZCF’s Chief Executive Christine Argyle. Together they dug a little deeper into some of the ideas that came up in the focus groups, in an effort to find practical solutions to keeping young people singing in choirs.

Click below to watch the webinar

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