by Adnan Bejtovic, Nikolaj Dall-Mikkelsen, Juho Nummelin & Bruno Tagliasacchi Masia
We are all Music Education master students at Rhythmic Music Conservatory, Copenhagen and this report outlines our thoughts and reflections on our participation in the five-day Intensive course in Music Education arranged by Nordic Network of Music Education (NNME) in Reykjavik, Iceland in October 2015.
Students and teachers from Denmark, Italy, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden participated. The headline of the course was: Music, language and communication: Building bridges and intercultural connections in a lifespan perspective. It was part of a 3-year NNME project proposal: The Universality of Music. Pushing the borders of music education: Nordic-Baltic perspectives.
While attending the course we experienced and encountered different point of views on teaching and music education. The highlights of the course were these different views on how music education is perceived and taught, both in form of the keynote speaks and the student presentations. All were sharing their views on music education and discussing their research perspective. Especially we experienced a very productive sensation being "in the same layer", meeting eye-to-eye with other musicians, music researchers and music educators.
Meeting people with different cultures was another highlight of our experience with the course. Meeting other students and getting a glimpse into their work was an important learning experience. From this perspective we got an insight into how music education students and teachers work in other institutions and the obvious differences in how schools/conservatories from different countries are. This is maybe a debatable subject, and maybe just shows how we, as participants and educators have different ways of approaching music as a teaching and research practice.
Yet another highlight was the Facebook group established before the course. It was a great initiative and we benefitted from it both before, during and after the course. It helped and still helps us networking and sharing thoughts on music and education. In particular it has been a powerful tool of communication for all participants at the course – lectures as well as students – because the group served as the official page of reference for the course, passing on all necessary information in advance.
It also helped us to get to the different university buildings, to know about the artistic activities in Reykjavik during the week. And as a "long-term connection" it has become an effective tool to keep in contact with all the other students and teachers at the course. It still serves as a perfect platform to share our on-going artistic and educational projects.
We all got new ideas and perspectives through having discussions and reflections on various subjects. We also got some different perspectives on our own educational practice through these discussions. For instance, discussing the different topics in changing small groups and having a one-to-one walk and talk proved to be a beneficial concept, also because of its social benefit.
In general, meeting students from other countries was inspiring and a great opportunity. Talking, reflecting and comparing our research projects with other students appeared to be a meaningful learning experience for all of us. We for instance experience having a stronger focus on how we could strengthen our own artistic perspective in our own music education practice – an important aspect of music education.
For us as students we feel that the course gave us insight and new ideas on how to strengthen further our music teaching, and how to reflect on and use new knowledge. We got new ideas on how to work on projects and how to present and discuss different research materials.
Encountering other project and personal perspectives, analysing their specific thoughts and perspectives on music education encouraged us to pursue our work with strong conviction on our ideas mirroring the uniqueness of our own educational research project.
While reflecting on these thoughts we conclude by underlining the importance of sharing knowledge and experience to be an enriching way of considering different perspectives as an informative and supplementary material for our personal educational research.
This writing will also be published in the Italian online magazine www.sandalyon.it.