A 2017 European Choral Association – Europa Cantat report on the popularity of collective singing in Europe confirmed that it is a major cultural activity involving 22.5 million people, around 4.5 % of the population. Choral singing is more than just an art form, it is above all a social activity that takes place in schools, places of worship, community centres. The above-mentioned report focuses not only on statistics, but also on cooperation between practitioners and music researchers, and partnerships with universities to promote high quality vocal music and the voice as a universal instrument. It was published by an EU-supported choir network, the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat (ECA-EC).

The research undertaken by our consortium in the 5 partner countries (Romania, Serbia, Poland, France and Slovenia)-Asociatia Culturala Kratima, Les Choristes,The Aurin and Miraculum Foundation, The Stars, Friends of Skowronki- through different choral music activities (training courses, camps, music lessons, concerts, integrating choral music in other educational activities) has proven that there is no cultural activity with a greater social impact than choral music. A choir means the unity of dozens of young people who breathe, sing and live together, and choral singing, as a group activity, helps – say sociologists, psychologists and even psychiatrists – to reduce social differences, juvenile delinquency, increase intellectual performance and school results, to maintain a good physical and mental health and – very importantly – to create a social identity without distinction of race, social affiliation, economic condition.

Complementary, by singing together, young people from different social backgrounds and cultures manage to build bridges of communication and relationships, to know each other and to accept each other. Encouraging participation in joint activities helps communities to develop culturally, achieving a unity beneficial to the European society of tomorrow. Thus, harmonious development, communication and social inclusion can be achieved through musical language, choral singing, and the creation of a socio-cultural model of unity, mutual understanding and harmony through music – regardless of social condition or language.

Last but not least a study from 2010, issued by the University of Goteborg equally as the medical practice in Nordic health care institutions show that choral music is used to treat minor neurological disorders, contributing to a general mental well-being.
The aim of our project is to promote choral music among young people, as an instrument to acquire new skills.

The objectives of our project are:

  1. Developing non-formal educational activities aimed at testing the relevance of choral music nowadays, through elaboration of 3 intellectual outputs, organization of one blended mobility for young people and 5 dissemination activities.
  2. Cultivating choral music practices among a group of 50 young people through an intensive 10 days blended mobility for young people (preceded by participation in activities testing the IOs) and through 5 multiplier events.
  3. Equipping 10 youth workers with skills and competences necessary to use choral music in non-formal education activities, through constant participation in the elaboration of 3 intellectual outputs
  4. Reviving the choral tradition by developing a choral movement through activities organized by 5 partners active in the field of choral music and reputed at international level.

The project has to be carried out transnationally because the impact of choral music as holistic method of education should be tested in more than one country. Choral music per se is recognized as a community activity across Europe, but has never been approached from the perspective of youth work. Five partners with their expertise together with associated partners are more likely to reach transferable and relevant results.

Programme guide priorities for the sector of Youth are reflected in our proposal: engaging, connecting and empowering young people: strengthening cross-sector cooperation, allowing for greater synergies across different areas of actions that matter for young people.

National call priorities for the field of youth are also covered by our project: Opening up youth work to cross-sector cooperation, allowing more synergies strong in all areas of action that address youth issues (our project creates synergies with music education and school education). In addition, our project focuses on the horizontal priority of the national call, i.e social inclusion, as it will create the possibility for young people from disadvantaged categories to become part of the project.

The qualitative expected results are the following

  1. Increased diversity, dialogue and cultural mobility, by organizing a multicultural project with participants from several European countries;
  2. Increased participation in joint activities and networking between young people interested in choral music living in different places in the European Union
  3. Development of access to culture and new categories of public- young people become acquainted to choral music but also to broader contents related to choral music (history, musicology)
  4. Development of competences that are related to music, such as vocalization and choreography and of transversal competences such as cooperation, coordination, discipline, etc.
  5. Concrete changes in perception and socio-cultural dynamics, by recognizing the ability to integrate choral music in everyday life and in other educational activities
  6. Generating a socio-cultural transformation for young people participating in the project
  7. Presence in the online environment, through the digital products of the project: educational exhibition, tutorials, but also promotional elements (teaser, film), available online.
  8. Revival of the choral tradition; developing a choral movement at a good and very good amateur level.
  9. Promotion of contemporary European composition and highlighting quality choral music as an element of intangible European cultural heritage.
  10. Fruitful interdisciplinary partnership (with public institutions, schools, etc.); cultivating solid, strategic and long-lasting partnerships (with the Union of Composers, the National Choral Association, the Cantus Mundi National Program, carried out by the MADRIGAL Choir, etc.).

The quantitative results are:

  • 3 intellectual outputs- each of them comprising different components or modules that will be detailed in the IOs section
  • 5 dissemination activities and 150 participants in the activities
  • 1 blended mobility- with 50 young people (who have participated previously in testing the IOs)
  • 6 testing activities of the IOs with around 200 young people
  • 60 website posts and 60 social media posts

Why is this project innovative? It will pilote a strategy on increasing youth engagement in non formal activities fostering multiculturalism and mental wellbeing, through choral music. The project focuses on a set of values to be adopted by young people: developing skills such as discipline and group work through choral music activities, the added value of multicultural cooperation and the impact music has on our health and wellbeing, discovering new stories and information from common European history.

Moreover, the project proposes innovative solutions, using modern technologies and social media in order to reach as many young people as possible. The intellectual outputs of the project present a high degree of innovation:

  • A collection of choral music songs gathered from the pre-communist era of 4 of the countries and from before world war second in the fifth country. The innovation consists of the fact that these songs will be available online and they will be accompanied by attractive stories related to the local and historical context.
  • A set of four online tutorials focusing on developing skills for young people engaging in choral activities such as: literacy, history, cooperation, coordination, discipline,volunteering etc.The innovation consists of the holistic approach of choral music.
  • Two educational games available for young people, youth workers and other educational practitioners who use choral music as a method. The innovation consists of gamifying choral singing.
  • A itinerant educational exhibition on European choral music, accessible and in virtual format;
  • A project website that will be constantly updated and where we will communicate about the progress of the project

The project will be piloted in the five consortium countries, but its scope is larger, so the results are significant, it can be easily replicated in other countries and turn into an ongoing process of raising voting consciousness among young people.

The intellectual outputs can be used both in the non-formal education approach and in the formal education system as elements of music teaching or even wellbeing teaching. In line with European Commission and Erasmus+ programme objectives, the project is complementary to other projects developed at EU level through the following characteristics:

  • it broadens and deepens the participation of young people from local, regional, national, European level in choral activities.
  • it promotes diversity, inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, common values of freedom, tolerance and respect of human rights; enhance critical thinking and media literacy of young people; strengthen their sense of initiative notably in the social field;
  • enables young people to connect with their peers and express their opinions

The proposal addresses the horizontal priority of Erasmus+ National call „inclusive education, training and youth”, given the fact that a number of 10 young people will be involved in the project as direct or indirect beneficiaries and the field priority of professionalization for youth workers who learn how to use choral music as a holistic educational approach.