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4172.0 - Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/10/2010   
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FEATURE ARTICLE: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING


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Introduction

Sex

Age

State or territory of residence

Family characteristics

Country of birth

References


INTRODUCTION

Several recent studies have supported the premise that singing improves the performers mental and physical well being (Todd N, 2000, Kreutz, Bongard, Rohrmann, Hodapp, and Grebe, 2004, Pascoe, Leong, MacCallum, Mackinlay, Marsh, Smith, Church and Winterton 2005). In particular, singing was found to improve the immune system and noticeably lift the singer's mood (Kreutz et al., 2003).

Research published by the Music Council of Australia also shows that active participation in music contributes to the emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth of students (Pascoe et al., 2005).

This article looks at children's participation in singing in terms of a range of demographic variables including sex, age, state or territory of residence, family characteristics and country of birth.

In April 2009, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducted the fourth survey of Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities (CPCLA). The previous surveys were conducted in April of 2000, 2003 and 2006. The survey collected information on participation in selected organised cultural and leisure activities and attendance at selected cultural venues and events in the 12 month period prior to the survey date, outside of school hours by children aged 5 to 14 years.

For the purposes of the CPCLA the ABS considers singing to include formal singing lessons (e.g. learning scales, voice training), practice sessions to learn songs (e.g. for choir) and singing performances.

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SEX

The overall participation rate for children in Australia who participated in singing increased from 4.7% in 2000 to 6.1% in 2009. In the 12 months to April 2009 there were approximately 121,400 girls and 43,300 boys who participated in singing. The participation rate for girls was more than double that recorded by boys for all survey periods. The gap between girls and boys has widened since 2000 with girls recording a significant increase from 2000 (6.7%) to 2009 (9.2%) whilst boys recorded no significant change over the corresponding period.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By sex - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By sex — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


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AGE

There were approximately 164,700 children (aged 5 to 14 years) in Australia who participated in singing in the 12 months to April 2009. Of these, over 48,500 were aged 5 to 8 years, almost 55,600 were aged 9 to 11 years and close to 60,700 were aged 12 to 14 years. The participation rates for these groups in 2009 were 4.6%, 6.8% and 7.2% respectively.

The participation rate for children aged 5 to 8 years was significantly lower than both other age groups for all reference periods. The 12 to 14 years age group was the only age group to record a significant increase in a three year period which occurred between 2003 (4.5%) and 2006 (6.2%). There were no significant differences between the 9 to 11 years and 12 to 14 years age groups in 2000, 2006 and 2009. The 5 to 8 years age group was the only age group to show a significant increase in participation between 2000 and 2009, increasing from 2.9% to 4.6%.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By age group - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By age group — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


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STATE OR TERRITORY OF RESIDENCE

Over 6% of all children in Australia participated in singing in the 12 months to April 2009. The participation rate ranged from 9.0% in the Northern Territory to 5.2% in New South Wales. There was no significant change between 2006 and 2009 for any state or territory.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By state and territory - 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By state and territory—2009


Comparisons for metropolitan and ex-metropolitan areas are only available for 2006 and 2009. In 2009, there were 117,000 children in metropolitan areas and 47,700 in ex-metropolitan areas who participated in singing.

There was a significant increase in the participation rate between 2006 (5.6%) and 2009 (6.9%) for children who reside in metropolitan areas. The participation rate for metropolitan children (6.9%) was significantly higher than that of their counterparts in ex-metropolitan areas in 2009 (4.7%). However, there was no significant difference between the two populations in 2006.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By metropolitan and ex-metropolitan areas - 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By metropolitan and ex-metropolitan areas — 2006 and 2009


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FAMILY CHARACTERISTICS

In the 12 months to April 2009 there were 134,800 children in couple families and 30,000 children from one-parent families who participated in singing. There was not a significant difference in participation rates by family type. Couple families did, however, record a significant increase between 2000 (4.7%) and 2009 (6.3%) as well as between 2003 (4.7%) and 2006 (5.8%). In contrast, participation by children in one-parent families remained fairly constant between 2000 and 2009.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By family type - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By family type — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


The participation rate for children with unemployed parent(s) (includes a single parent family where the parent is unemployed and two parent families where both parents are unemployed) did not significantly change from 2000 to 2009 or between any intervening periods. There were no significant differences between participation rates for children with unemployed parent(s) or one parent employed (in a one or two parent family) for all reference periods.

The participation rate for children in families with one parent employed increased significantly from 3.9% in 2003 to 5.4% in 2006. Children in families with both parents employed recorded a significant increase in singing participation between 2006 (5.9%) and 2009 (7.1%). Families with both parents employed were the only family type to record a significant change between 2000 and 2009, increasing from 5.2% to 7.1%.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By employment status of parents(b) - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By employment status of parents(b) — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


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COUNTRY OF BIRTH

There were no significant differences in participation rates for singing based on the child's birthplace. However, the participation rate for children born in Australia has increased significantly from 4.7% in 2000 to 6.1% in 2009, whereas the participation rates have been fairly steady for those children born overseas, ranging from 5.4% (2000 and 2003) to 5.9% (2009).

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By country of birth - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SINGING(a), By country of birth — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


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REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2009, Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2009 (cat. no. 4901.0), ABS, Canberra.

Pascoe, R, Leong, S, MacCallum, J, Mackinlay, E, Marsh, K, Smith, B, Church, T and Winterton, A 2005, National Review of School Music Education: Augmenting the diminished, Australia, The Centre for Learning, Change and Development, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia - viewed April 2010, http://www.dest.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/C9AFAE54-6D72-44CC-A346-3CAF235CB268/8944/music_review_reportFINAL.pdf

Kreutz, G., Bongard, S., Rohrmann, S., Hodapp, V., & Grebe, D. 2004. Effects of choir singing or listening on secretory immunoglobulin A, cortisol, and emotional state. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 27(6): 623-35 - viewed May 2010, http://www.springerlink.com/content/l70h852h1w59j7q2/

Todd, N 2000, Blast from the past, New Scientist (issue 2226), article written by Paul Marks - viewed May 2010, http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg16522261.400-blast-from-the-past.html

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