AIRS is a Major Collaborative Research Initiative that focuses on singing: both theory and applications. The proposal to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Major Collaborative Research Initiative program received approval in December 2008. The project officially began on April 1, 2009. The inaugural AIRS Annual Meeting took place at the University of Prince Edward Island, the the home base of the project, in June 2009. The second Annual meeting took took place in Seattle, Washington, in conjunction with the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC) in August 2010. St. John's Newfoundland, was the home of the AIRS 3rd Annual Meeting (June 9 - 11, 2011) in conjunction with Festival 500/Phenomenon of Singing and the International Council of Traditional Music. Participants in the project are shown under the Research Team page. The support of the SSHRC MCRI program is gratefully appreciated.
This web-site was developed primarily for the benefit of the AIRS research team. Eventually the Web site will be directed also to the general public.
AIRS Researchers welcome connections at this early stage with others committed to the importance of singing in human development, education, health and well-being. AIRS welcomes contact with individuals or groups having similar interests: Please contact us via our contact page.
Overview of The AIRS Project
This seven-year major collaborative research initiative aims to Advance Interdisciplinary Research in Singing through cooperation of over 70 researchers representing every province in Canada and 15 other countries on 6 continents. Aiming to understand individual, cultural, and universal influences on singing and the influences of singing on individuals and societies, the AIRS researchers will focus on three themes:
- Development of singing ability; (Theme 1 leader - Frank Russo, Ryerson University, Toronto)
- Singing and learning (how to teach singing and how to use singing to teach) (Theme 2 leader - Patricia Campbell, University of Washington, Seattle)
- Enhancement of health and well-being through singing. (Theme 3 leader - Mary Gick, Carleton University, Ottawa).
These themes may be regarded respectively as defining what singing behaviours are theoretically possible given mental, physiological, and environmental constraints; what singing behaviours occur in practice, and what are societal implications of singing. Within and across these themes, researchers will share their knowledge and expertise from numerous disciplinary perspectives, including psychology, musicology, music therapy, education, sociology, anthropology, folklore, medicine, and audio and computer engineering. They will share their work audio-visually using a digital library and web-site, the foundations of which are already established at UPEI.
Several common motifs integrate the collaboration: an emphasis on student training opportunities; researcher meetings supported by electronic technology fostering transfer of findings across themes; and an AIRS test battery of singing skills woven through the research themes. The research results will be disseminated through traditional academic means (peer-reviewed journals, books, conferences) and through real world activities and settings (school curricula, homes for seniors, medical interventions, performances). Such dissemination will provide a foundation for decision making in education, health, culture, immigration, and foreign policy.
The Project Director is Dr. Annabel J. Cohen, University of Prince Edward Island
WHY IS THIS RESEARCH IMPORTANT?
Singing, like speaking, is a natural human expressive ability. Yet, in comparison to speaking, less scholarly inquiry has been directed to it. Linked to social, cultural, and biological development, singing draws on many disciplines and submits to many forms of analysis and specific explorations.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
An international collaboration of more than 70 scholars is integrating new multidisciplinary knowledge about singing from the perspectives of psychology, music, linguistics, sociology, anthropology and education, assisted by computer science and audio engineering.
WHAT ARE THE AREAS OF FOCUS?
AIRS will address the following three main themes from the perspective of individual, cultural, and universal influences:
Singing and Well-being
Cultural Understanding through Singing: Examining the role of teaching songs of foreign cultures to children to promote lifelong cultural understanding of others and themselves. This entails acquiring information about the songs of various cultures.
Intergenerational Singing: Determining how singing increases individual physical and psychological well-being and community well-being, with a special focus on intergenerational singing where elder members of a society teach children songs of their culture.
Singing and Health: Specific health benefits of singing as in breathing exercise compliance in lung disease through singing
Teaching Singing and Educating through Singing: Assessing and improving instructional methods for teaching and learning, and using singing to teach and learn the curricula of other disciplines.
Development of Singing
Acquisition of Singing: Determining through cross-cultural and longitudinal research, the universal, culture specific and idiosyncratic aspects of the development of singing.
Singing and Speaking Comparisons: Defining the features that distinguish singing and speech acquisition so as to advance linguistics, developmental psycholinguistics, music and education.
HOW WILL KNOWLEDGE BE SHARED?
An interactive web-based virtual research environment, already in development (vre.upei.ca/AIRS) is supporting the research team, enabling discussion forums and information sharing across Canada and throughout the world. The site is hosting a one-of-a-kind comprehensive digital library database of singing that will accelerate progress on each research theme. Internet access to the AIRS database will enable multidisciplinary teams of experts and students to address the five related research themes.
WHAT IS THE EXPECTED IMPACT?
The research program will heighten the value of singing as an effective source of well-being for individuals, communities, and societies.
The digital multimedia resources will furnish cultural contexts for education and enhancing learning in general through singing.
Through broad and varied means of dissemination of the AIRS findings, the research will benefit universal education, language training, peaceful co-existence, intergenerational understanding, personal well-being, societal cohesion, and the preservation of cultural diversity.
More than 40 university students will receive training opportunities through involvement in all intellectual aspects of the work and through participation in videoconferences, workshops, and annual meetings.
AIRS will revolutionize research in singing resulting in growth of basic knowledge and advances on practical issues that will benefit the human condition.
Access to the vast new AIRS data repository of singing will advance basic knowledge by:
* Identifying universals and particulars of singing development and defining the distinctions between singing and speaking and between song and speech
* Producing pedagogy protocols for teaching singing in general, teaching songs of foreign cultures, and using singing to teach other knowledge while providing benefit of the arts,
* Improving intercultural understanding within communities and across nations
* Developing guidelines for intergenerational singing, aimed at enhancing quality of life for older adults, inspiring children, and benefiting general health for all who sing.
For further information contact:
Dr. Annabel Cohen, Department of Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island
902 628-4325 or firstname.lastname@example.org
AIRS Director and Principal Investigator
Professor of Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island, and Project Leader of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Culture, Multimedia, Technology and Cognition
RESEARCH THEME LEADERS/CO-LEADERS
Acquisition of Singing
Laurel Trainor, Dept. of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour; Director McMaster Institute for Music & the Mind
Comparison of Singing and Speaking
Sandra Trehub, Professor Emerita, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto
Frank Russo, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Ryerson University
Singing and Education
Andrea Rose, Professor, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Darryl Edwards, Director of Voice Program, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
Singing and Intercultural Understanding
Godfrey Baldacchino, Canada Research Chair in Island Studies, UPEI
Singing and Intergenerational Understanding
Rachel Heydon, Associate Professor Education, U. Western Ontario
Music & Health
Jennifer Nicol, Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education, U. Saskatchewan,
AIRS Digital Library of Singing
Jonathan Lane, UPEI