British Journal of Music Education

Research Article

Scientific concepts in singing: Do they belong in a student toolbox of learning?

Lotte Latukefua1 c1 and Irina Verenikinaa2

a1 Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia

a2 Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia


This article presents part of a five-year Australian study, the purpose of which was to look at learning singing in a pedagogical environment designed using sociocultural theory. The classroom environment was transformed over 5 years in consultation with other staff members and used the reflective journals that students wrote during that time as a way of refining and changing the design. Themes emerging from the journals were analysed to inform changes to the design. One of the main themes to emerge was student reflections about the scientific concepts they were taught and the ways the concepts were introduced. These reflections became the basis for the discussion in this paper. The study demonstrated that the students' acquisition of scientific concepts of singing affected both their singing performance and their ability to learn in a positive way. The study suggests that scientific concepts of singing could become part of the students' toolbox that helps develop their singing by making meaning of what they are experiencing kinaesthetically and aurally while they sing.

(Online publication June 06 2011)


c1 Correspondence to Lotte Latukefu

Lotte Latukefu is a Lecturer in Voice in the Faculty of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong. She has performed at the Lincoln Centre in New York, Opera Australia, State Opera of South Australia, as well as appearing with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra and in numerous Australian music festivals. Lotte regularly premieres and records new works by Australian composers. Lotte holds a PhD in music education from the University of Wollongong. Her research interests include socio-cultural theory and its application to vocal pedagogy and the study of musical performance as creative practice. She has presented papers on these subjects in the UK, Canada and Australia.

Irina Verenikina is a Senior Lecturer in Educational Psychology and Director of Postgraduate Studies in the Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong. She holds a PhD in developmental and educational psychology from the Russian Academy of Education. She is a full member of the Australian Psychological Society. Her current research interests relate to the application of socio-cultural Vygotskian psychology and activity theory to teaching and learning, as well as to effective use of information technologies in educational and work organizations.