Why Do Young People Sing Differently in Everyday Life Scenarios and at School?


  • Hiromichi Mito Meiji Gakuin University
  • Graça Boal-Palheiros Escola Superior de Educação


The present study aims to provide theoretically grounded accounts of the relationship between young people’s singing activities in everyday life and at school. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to gather information about their style and attitude of singing by questioning where they sing, who they sing with, what they sing, why they sing and how they sing. Since the study also aims to illustrate the singing behaviour through the investigation of singing behavior/attitude in different cultures, the participants (junior high school students) from Japan and Portugal were recruited. The questions were organized in three parts. The content of Part 1 and 2 was the same. However, the questions of Part 1 were asking participants’ singing behaviour/attitude which occurred in everyday life (outside school) and the questions of Part 2 were asking participants’ singing behaviour/attitude which occurred during their secondary school life (in school). The questions of Part 3 were general questions, in which participants’ positive and negative singing episodes were asked. In the present study, positive attitudes towards singing were observed both in everyday life and at school. Although the style of singing, purpose of singing and the genre of songs were different in and out of school, the degree of participation in singing activities and the preference for singing were high in both in and out of school. Another important finding of the present study is that singing is conducted not only for recreational purposes, such as ‘fun’ or ‘stress removing’, but also for productive purposes, such as ‘improve singing skills’ and ‘widening new repertoires’. It can be concluded that many participants in both countries actively engaged in singing in and out of school.

Author Biography

Hiromichi Mito, Meiji Gakuin University

Hiromichi Mito is a professor of music education in the Faculty of Education at the Meijigakuin University, Japan, where he teaches research methodology and piano pedagogy. He holds masters (Musashino Academia Musicae, Japan, 1986) and PhD (Roehampton University, UK, 2007) degrees in music education. An ISME member since 1995, Hiromichi was a Commissioner for the Research Commission (2004 – 2010) and Board member (2010-2012). Hiromichi is a member of the editorial board of Japanese Journal of Music Education Research. His research into informal musical learning has been supported by nationally competitive grants. Hiromichi has published extensively in many journals and books.