Doctoral Dissertation

18.8.2018 „Singing opens the hearts”. A holistic approach to singing education using body movements (Nenonen)


18.8.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki , S212
M.A. Pirjo Nenonen defends her doctoral dissertation in Music Education "Laulu syömet aukaisee - Kokonaisvaltainen laulunopetus musiikkiliikunnan avulla".

Opponent Professor Eeva Anttila (University of the Arts, Helsinki) and Custos Senior Researcher Suvi Saarikallio (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.

The subject of this research is a holistic approach to singing education using body movements. This study was conducted as action research in which the singing pedagogue also worked as a researcher. The aim of this study was to: develop an approach to singing education with body movements, qualitatively investigate how singing with body movements can be used in solo singing education and how pedagogical ideas of Finnish music and movement teacher Inkeri Simola-Isaksson could be adapted to singing education. The data included interviews of the vocal students at the University of Oulu and the vocal students of the Johann Sebastian Bach music school in Vienna, participant journals and researcher´s field notes.

The theoretical framework of the study was the holistic concept of man by Finnish philosopher Lauri Rauhala. The investigation is based on the analysis of the singing students´ interviews, their own reflections and on the teacher´s observation. The results were analyzed with the new theory and aims, which were formed during the research process.  

According to the results, singing with body movements involved the whole person, body and mind. The study revealed more psychological and physical results than qualitative singing results. Singing with body movements brought the students joy, happiness and relaxation, as well as a strengthening of self-esteem, self-confidence and courage. Students also achieved better posture and body awareness in everyday life. Teaching singing with body movements helped the students to sing better and more freely with a natural voice. Body movements have become a natural part of singing and the students have become more aware of their body and their own body language. Their personal expressiveness has also increased, and students created their own movement patterns to the vocal exercises and songs. Teaching singing with body movements, however, may only benefit singers who approach the new technique with an open mind.

The conclusion of this study is that singing with body movements can serve as a valuable tool for singers during their learning process to improve singing and to strengthen their personality. When body movements are paired with the voice, the body works with the mind, providing a beneficial quality to singing practice and also a holistic well-being, bringing self-confidence and courage.

Pirjo Nenonen,, + 43 664 2215130

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