Asking Women How They Feel: A Survey of Women's Choir Members in Collegiate Choral Programs in the Southeastern United States

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In this study, I sought to learn how members of college women’s choirs feel about

their choir and women’s choirs in general. Singers from 19 institutions in the American

Choral Directors Association

In this study, I sought to learn how members of college women’s choirs feel about

their choir and women’s choirs in general. Singers from 19 institutions in the American

Choral Directors Association Southern division participated. From the potential survey

population (n=986), 302 respondents participated (response rate = 28%).

These research questions guided this study:

1. How do current members of college women’s choirs feel their choir is

perceived compared to other types of choirs at their college or university and

in their community?

2. How do current members of college women’s choirs feel about singing in this

group? About women’s choirs in general?

A researcher-developed survey instrument was used to gather demographic

information and other data related to the research questions. After a pilot study, the

survey was edited for clarity. The director of choral activities and the director of the

women’s choir at each institution was contacted via email. The schools that agreed to

participate received the link to the survey and an email script to send to students. Two

weeks later, a follow-up email was sent with the same materials. Two weeks after that,

the survey window closed. The data were collected and analyzed for frequency and

percentage. While analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests found no significant differences,

the analysis of some of the independent variables, especially those having to do with the

age and experience of the singers, were highly suggestive.

In this study, women’s choir members responded positively to statements about

the value of their choir within their institutions and communities. While respondents

often indicate that women’s choirs are seen as inferior to mixed choirs, they nevertheless

enjoy the repertoire they sing and like being challenged. Respondents answered

affirmatively in Likert-scale questions about their women’s choirs and women’s choirs in

general, but answered more critically in open-ended response questions about the same

topics. The survey results echo the findings of earlier studies, amplified by the choir

members’ own opinions. The data in this study offer clear means to ensure that all

students in all choirs are proud of their work and feel equally valued.