Music students perform in strangers' living rooms

For the performing master’s degree students at the Norwegian Academy of Music, A punch of culture is an on-the-site practicum arena where they can experiment with innovative artistic ideas, with ways of presenting their music in different venues for different kinds of audiences, and reflect on their roles as musicians in the society.

A punch of culture, music “festival” in Hammerfest, is the result of a collaborative project between the Norwegian Academy of Music (NAM), Hammerfest municipality in the northern part of Norway, and the multinational Oil and Gas Company Statoil.

During 8 days, over 300 children, 100 adults and 20 Master’s Degree students were engaged in playing music in different contexts and venues.

 

Kulturtrøkk i Hammerfest

 

A punch of culture is initiated and conducted by Kjell Tore Innervik, associate professor at NMH, in close collaboration with the headmaster of Hammerfest cultural school; Frode Sollie. The project was established for a three-year period, from 2013 – 2015.

Encouraging innovative ideas

A punch of culture is in this way connected to two of CEMPE’s development projects: Professional Music Practicum and Independent Music Careers. Such an on-site work practicum is a very valuable contribution in students’ education, as it encourages innovative ideas and actions, which is important when educating musicians for a rapidly changing society where the portfolio musician can become a norm.

 

Foto: Ziggi Wantuch
Photo: Ziggi Wantuch

Hammerfest municipality is in strong growth and development, mostly because of the establishment of a large natural gas field led by Statoil. Hammerfest has, with Statoil`s help, put effort in making the city a desirable place to live, and to strengthen the cultural life is a means in this direction.

Muisc in different contexts

A punch of culture is quite different from other contexts the students have previously attended. During the project, they perform music in different venues and contexts; in classrooms, in people’s homes, in big halls, in shopping centers and in offices – all in collaboration with other students, with children, with local musicians, or music teachers.

An important part of the project is directed towards the relation to audiences, both as the students perform music in intimate contexts, as well as through dialogues with audiences. The project is further characterized by a focus on conversation and reflection between students, and between students and teachers.

"The concert in someone’s home was a significant moment." (Student)

Follow-up research

The project is followed by a research study, which focuses on describing and discussing students` significant experiences from participating in the project. The research study is conducted and carried out by Senior Lecturer Brit Ågot Brøske Danielsen (NMH).

Results from the research study show that the participating students consider the high degree of collaboration as significant experiences. It may seem like collaboration with fellow students is something the students would like to emphasize more in their educational program, and that the collaborative experiences from Hammerfest contribute positively to empowerment and increased self-confidence. Students say:

– The possibility to get to know and be creative with my fellow students across instrumental groups and genres. […] There are not many opportunities to meet within the school.

– A conversation with the other students after the school concert was very valuable for me. […] To talk about it with the others, to realize that we are similar, and to accept that you do not have to be outgoing and rich in initiative in all situations in order to be a good person, was a great relief.

Collaboration with different groups of people; amateur and professional musicians, children and disabled people, as well as working across disciplines, is also in itself considered as important and valuable experiences for the participating students. These experiences contribute in challenging students` preconceptions, and in strengthening their understanding of the impact of music.

Most of the students' reflections about audiences contain surprise as a central element.


Dialogues with audiences

The research study further shows that dialogues with audiences are of significance to the students. – The concert in someone’s home was a significant moment. [....] It contributed in reducing the distance between audience and performer. I think this is very important, that we also listen to the audience. It was very exciting to listen to their thoughts on artistic work […]. It made a great impression on me to see how much they appreciated our visit.

 

Foto: Ziggi Wantuch
Photo: Ziggi Wantuch

Getting to know the audience contributes to reducing the distance between performers and audiences, which further fosters a two-way mutual interest in each other. Most of the students' reflections about audiences contain surprise as a central element; this concerns surprises about audiences' reflections and views, and even that people at all like classical music. Through such experiences, students increase their awareness about audiences and gain experiences in presenting and performing music for different target groups.

Increasing cultural activities in Hammerfest

For Hammerfest municipality, this project has contributed to increasing cultural activities in the city, and expanding the scope of Hammerfest Cultural School. People in Hammerfest report on valuable meetings and experiences throughout the project, both as hosts for musicians, in artistic collaboration, and through esthetic experiences

Last updated: 7. April 2015