New publication: Music in the Making: an open and collaborative experiment at Conservatorium Maastricht
Inge Pasmans, teacher at Conservatorium Maastricht, and me wrote a chapter on a research studio we did at the Conservatorium. In this educational course, Inge experimented with relevant non-musical learning skills that evolve around collaboration, creativity and engagement. In the chapter, we reflect on the challenges of such an open approach for curricula at Conservatoria. See below for the abstract.
The chapter is published in the anthology Becoming musicians: Student involvement and teacher collaboration in higher music education, edited by Stefan Gies and Jon Helge Saetre, published by Norwegian Academy of Music. It’s freely available online.
The musical world of young conservatoire graduates is increasingly diverse.
Many graduates end up playing in educational performances, musical theatre performances or other innovative crossover musical practices. Such multidisciplinary practices seem to demand different skills than technical virtuosity alone. How can we train tomorrow’s musicians? What kinds of non-musical skills and competencies do they need to flourish in contemporary music practices? These questions inspired our experimental learning environment Music in the Making. Acknowledging the changing musical practices of young musicians, we set out to experiment with learning skills that evolve around collaboration, creativity and engagement. In this article we outline some of our findings from Music in the Making and discuss implications for the role students and teachers play in such a learning process.
We show that an open collaborative learning environment, without formal
assessments, does not have to result in chaos or poor musical performances. Rather, it can encourage students to take ownership of their own learning process and to develop different kinds of skills by which they become more reflective about their own role as musicians. Fostering learning in such an open learning environment does require a different attitude from the teachers: less directive and more facilitating. We argue that working on technical skills in solitude should ideally be balanced with open projects where the students can learn to collaborate and ‘tune in’ to themselves, other musicians, audiences and others who have become part of their contemporary musical practice.