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Learn Finnish in a choir! The Potential of Music Education for Second Language Learning

Doctoral project by Johanna Lehtinen-Schnabel

This practitioner study explores the potential of music education for second language learning in adults with linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Previous studies suggest that music can contribute to language learning (e.g. Gaboury et al. 2020; Good et al. 2014), singing can facilitate foreign and second language learning (e.g. Alisaari 2016; Ludke et al., 2013) and choir singing can promote wellbeing and health (e.g. Bailey & Davidson, 2005; Siljamäki 2021). Choir singing can also have qualities that potentially provide affordances for language learning by creating a motivational and safe space and by making language learning not just a cognitive activity but a holistic experience where multisensory and embodied approaches are utilized. This study suggests that choir singing can create a responsive and meaningful music educational context for second language learning with the wider goal of participatory inclusion of immigrants into the arts services in Finland.

The study is part of an interdisciplinary research project ELLA (2021-2024), funded by Kone foundation and coordinated by the University of the Arts Helsinki, that investigates how embodied language learning through the arts may generate substantial change within communities.

Johanna Lehtinen-Schnabel is a doctoral student in the Research Study Programme at the MuTri doctoral school.

Keywords: choir, music education, second language learning, immigrant

Future doctors in music

We have approximately 150 doctoral students enrolled at the Sibelius Academy. This blog offers a view to their research projects.

The doctoral students are a part of a research community which is a unique combination of artistic activities, education, and research.

Their projects cover a wide spectrum of topics in the realm of music, combining musical practices and different research approaches.

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