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date: 17 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Choirs function very similarly to street gangs in that they have the power to radically transform lives, especially those of poor at-risk youths. Adolescents join gangs for the same reason adults join a choral community—to meet their needs. Often in the inner city, neither the familial unit nor the schools and community centers can provide the holistic solutions necessary to meet students’ needs, forcing them to go elsewhere. This chapter examines ways that choirs fulfill those needs, showing how several choral programs provide and/or supplement four basic needs according to the hierarchy of needs of Abraham Maslow (namely physiological, safety, love/belonging and esteem) and lead adolescents to a healthy and constructive place of self-actualization. Most importantly, this chapter explores how and why choral music has the power to transform lives of disenfranchised youths, preparing them for higher education and lives that contrast with their upbringing.

Keywords: choral community, choral music, at-risk youth, Abraham Maslow, hierarchy of needs, self-actualization

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