Seven new innovation projects
This year’s projects cover everything from physical and mental techniques in principal instrument tuition, entrepreneurship and learning experiences in performance practice to digital tools in subjects such as aural skills and music history. “The applications were of a high standard this year, so we have made a record number of awards,” Sætre explains.
Audition training with focus on physical and mental awareness
Peter Adam Kates, Associate Professor of Percussion at the Grieg Academy (University of Bergen), has received funding for his project on audition training. The project came into being as a response to the sky-high expectations placed on applicants to professional symphony orchestras. Not only do they have to be good at performing, they also have to be good at auditioning.
- One might say that the art of auditioning has become the science of auditioning. Practicing the music alone is not enough. One needs to learn and practice the audition, sier Kates.
The aim of the project is to explore and develop techniques that combine musical performance with physical consciousness and mental training – Alexander Technique and sports/performance psychology, to be specific – to ascertain whether these tools can better prepare the students for what awaits them after graduation.
Horn students explore Alexander Technique
Ilene Chanon, Assistant Professor of Horn at the Grieg Academy (University of Bergen), has secured funding for a project in which she explores how Alexander Technique can help horn students become more aware of the relationship between body and instrument to allow them to develop a more relaxed style of playing and avoid tensions that hamper their performance.
- The addition of Alexander Technique to the horn studio will greatly enhance their breadth of education as horn players, sier Chanon.
A hybrid of one-to-one tuition and masterclass
Jakob Kullberg – Research Fellow at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Associate Professor of Cello at the University of Stavanger and cello teacher at the Royal College of Music in London – has been awarded funding to produce video documentation of his teaching practice. Kullberg’s teaching method is a hybrid between one-to-one and masterclass tuition, combing the familiar elements of one-to-one lessons with the opportunities offered by the masterclass for teaching multiple students at the same time. Kullberg often works with pairs of students both in plenary and on their own.
- I think what happens is a combination of an ongoing learning process for both of them and a public setting that encourages solidarity within the class based on the students’ taking an interest in each other’s development, explains Kullberg.
The project seeks to encourage increased reflection around hybrid tuition methods and will result in a set of video tutorials and a wider project that combines the pedagogical and artistic aspects of cello playing.
FIVE YEARS LATER – Dreams and realities in the careers of students on the NTNU conservatory course
Associate Professor of Music Performance Eldbjørg Raknes and Fellow of Artistic Research Marianne B. Lie have been given funding to evaluate the subject Entrepreneurship for Musicians on the conservatory course in Trondheim. The subject is studied by students on the classical, jazz and church music programmes. One key objective of the subject is to raise students’ awareness of their own artistic activities. One of the assignments the students are set in the subject involves a presentation of how they envisage their careers in five years’ time, both financially and in terms of content.
- There are indications that the ‘5-year-projection’ they produce has been successful in terms of raising awareness, but so far no studies have been carried out of the career paths of the students who have completed the subject, Raknes says
The project aims to obtain new knowledge about the effects of including entrepreneurship in the syllabus for musicians and to evaluate this type of “career plan” as a tool in the subject. In the long term the project also hopes to be able to contribute valuable insights into the actual, and differing, realities for newly qualified musicians today.
Documenting learning while on tour in Brazil
Thomas Strønen, Associate Professor of Jazz Drums at the Norwegian Academy of Music, has been given funding to investigate how a close working relationship between performance bachelor students and a professional ensemble, Food, can help the students get a realistic picture of the performing profession in practice. The study covers both the musical encounter with audiences and event organisers as well as the administrative aspect of being a performing musician.
- By ‘doing by learning’, the students will explore aspects of how touring works. They will discover how unpredictable it can be as certain things are guaranteed not to work out as planned, and they have to be proactive and make both practical and musical decisions. They must also deal with people who don't practise our language, culture or habits, Strønen explains.
The project aims to find out how much knowledge and insight such a tour can generate by evaluating the learning outcomes amongst the participating students.
Digital solutions for didactic-methodological challenges in aural skills tuition
Maria Medby Tollefsen, Senior Lecturer in aural skills at the Arctic University of Norway, has received funding for developing an app for aural skills didactics called Musicificium. Musicificium contains learning materials for decoding rhythmic figures, recognising and reproducing different intervals, different atonal structures etc. The app is aimed at students enrolled on music courses in upper secondary / folk high schools and students in higher music education.
- The benefit of digital learning materials versus books with audio sources is that the digital material can involve multimedia and interactivity. Digital technology provides opportunities that have not previously existed in the production of learning materials for aural skills. I’m looking to exploit these opportunities as I set out to create my learning materials, says Tollefsen.
The objective of the app is to create material that makes it easy and fun for the students to practise what they learn in the lessons and to help them identify the relationships between the topics they study in aural skills and music that sounds like the music they study elsewhere on their course.
Music history module involving the students’ own performances
Gjertrud Pedersen, Associate Professor of Music History at the Norwegian Academy of Music, has received funding for two projects both looking at how the subject Musicianship (EXMUS10) can best support the students’ different performance activities.
- Knowledge of history, of the tradition to which they belong, of other musical genres than those they themselves perform on a daily basis, and of the modern labour market are fundamental factors for students with a proactive approach to their own musical activities, Pedersen says.
One of the projects, a digital flipped classroom module, will comprise five videos and involve six sessions. Each video will address specific exercises that the students must have completed before each session. The sessions are then spent going into the topic in further detail.
On the second project Pedersen is working with Unni Løvlid, a lecturer in folk singing. The idea is to study a musical work in depth and then use the work to gain a broader understanding of a given musical and historical context. Working in groups, the students will gain experience of process-driven projects, and they will be able to define their own working methods and the content of their final presentations.
- I want to encourage an environment which supports learning and working methods that demand a greater degree of student activity than traditional lectures, Pedersen concludes.