Boys Choirs in the Pandemic: Exploring Qualitative Aspects of Safety Measures

Köberlein M, Kirsch J, Tur B, Hermann LA, Kniesburges S, Echternach M (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2023.07.023


Introduction: During the Covid-19 pandemic, choirs had to apply safety measures such as distances and wearing masks. For children's choirs, there is no knowledge of their reaction to these measures, regarding their age and experience. This study aimed to investigate boys choir singers’ perceptions of the measures, regarding wellbeing and feasibility, as well as the quality of the performance outcomes. Methods: Six groups were put together, assembling five singers of the same age (7–16 years, before voice change) and experience level. The boys sang one verse of the same song at inter-subject distances of 3, 1.5, 0.5, 0.5 m plus wearing a mask and again 3 m. Afterward they filled out questionnaires concerning difficulty, irritation, hearing themselves and their neighbors, and if they could imagine singing regularly in the respective setting. Fifteen parents were asked to fill out questionnaires about their opinions about choir safety measures during the pandemic. Six anonymous boys choir experts rated the randomized recordings of all tasks regarding homogenous sound quality, rhythmical precision, and uniform intonation. Results: Even though most of the children preferred smaller distances, they were open to all kinds of settings. The answers given were very specific to the individuals. Masks were voted out by a majority of the subjects. Parents found choir singing very important for their children and did in majority neither fear infection of their children, nor mind precautions. The experts rated the performance outcomes of the largest distance (3 m) as best in most of the cases. Conclusion: Different interspatial settings do not harm the children and adolescents and could be introduced as a beneficial approach to give them a broader listening experience and to make them flexible, alert, adaptable, and resilient singers. Singers’ masks are only recommended for compelling circumstances.

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Köberlein, M., Kirsch, J., Tur, B., Hermann, L.A., Kniesburges, S., & Echternach, M. (2023). Boys Choirs in the Pandemic: Exploring Qualitative Aspects of Safety Measures. Journal of Voice.


Köberlein, Marie, et al. "Boys Choirs in the Pandemic: Exploring Qualitative Aspects of Safety Measures." Journal of Voice (2023).

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