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FUTURED – Music Teacher Education for the Future

Norway (2019–2022), Visiting Researcher

Modern societies are changing, and issues such as globalization, climate change, migration, technological innovation etc. call for educational changes. In response to such challenges, recent policy documents signal new directions for Norwegian schools and curricula. At heart of the announced changes lie concepts like 21st century skills, citizenship, critical thinking and innovation.

A pertinent question for educational institutions, including the new five-year teacher education in Norway, then, is how to educate under such conditions. We suggest that the music programs of the current Norwegian general teacher education (GTE) could be better equipped with regard to facilitating musical and educational learning from a contemporary as well as from a future perspective. In  2019, the Music Teacher Education for the Future (FUTURED) project finally launched for – the future – a project receiving excellent marks from the Norwegian Research Council.

The FUTURED main research objectives are: (1) To challenge the status quo of music teacher education in Norway, and (2) to develop innovative and collaborative practices that could foster students’ collaborative, critical and democratic capacities.

FUTURED is developed as a FINNUT project, led by professor Catharina Christophersen (Ph.D.), who is also the principal investigator of the research project. Researchers from two of the largest general teacher education (GTE) institutions in Norway (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and Oslo Metropolitan University) are critically exploring Norwegian music teacher education. The project draws on theoretical insights from critical (music)pedagogy, educational philosophy, cultural studies and public pedagogy. The research design will mainly be educational action research, starting with a review and critical mapping of existing practices, and then initiating action research cycles of identifying issues, planning action, taking action, and evaluating action.

Project website: h

Meet the researchers: Heidi Partti

Yhdenvertaisesti säveltäen (Equity in Composing)

Finland (2019–2020)

Equity in Composing is a research-based project that aims to reduce gender-based occupational segregation in composing music. The purpose of the project is to achieve a positive impact in the role divisions, attitudes, and beliefs related to composing within the field of classical music. A key focus of the project is exploring new ways to advance diversity and equity in composition teaching. 


Project website:


Yhdenvertaisesti säveltäen -hankkeen tavoitteena on lieventää säveltaiteen alan sukupuolen mukaista ammatillista eriytymistä. Hanke pyrkii käytännön toimin lisäämään sukupuolitietoisuutta ja purkamaan sukupuolistereotypioita sekä tuottamaan uutta tutkimustietoa siitä, miten tasa-arvoa ja yhdenvertaisuutta voidaan lisätä säveltämisen alalla.​

Hankkeen kotisivu:

Future Songwriting

Finland, France & Germany (2018–2020)

The  Future Songwriting project (2018-2020) is an European cooperation, initiated and coordinated by Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society (Teosto) and co-funded by the European Commission under the Creative Europe programme.


Future Songwriting takes place in 15 schools in Finland, Germany and France with the aim of strengthening and developing technology-enabled composing practices in music education. The specific emphasis of the project is in in-service training so as to upgrade teachers’ professional skills and knowledge related to the use of digital technology in the service of creative music-making. 

Practical implementation of Future Songwriting consists of three key parts:

1 – workshops for teachers

2 – teachers’ further training and professional learning development via an e-Learning platform and

3 – creative school pilot projects for students in Finland, France and Germany in total in 15 schools

Research teams from University of Arts Helsinki, (Finland) the University of Cologne (Germany), University of Pompeu Fabra Music Technology (Spain) and Musical Futures (UK) accompany the pilots, examining the activities and the experiences of students and teachers participating in the Future Songwriting project. The research is conducted during the whole lifespan of the project from November 2018 to October 2020.

Project website:

The Arts as Public Service: Strategic Steps towards Equality (ArtsEqual)

Finland (2015–2021)

The ARTSEQUAL research initiative, coordinated by the University of the Arts Helsinki, examines the arts as public service, with equality as the starting point, and explores how the arts can meet the social challenges of the 2020s. The initiative is financed by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council.


Read more on the ARTSEQUAL website.

Global Visions Through Mobilizing Networks:
Co-Developing Intercultural Music Teacher Education in Finland, Israel and Nepal

Finland, Israel & Nepal (2015–2019)

The “Global Visions Through Mobilizing Networks” research project, coordinated by the University of the Arts Helsinki, Sibelius Academy in Finland, seeks to co-develop intercultural music teacher education by engaging three different institutions, and their respective music teacher educators and researchers, in processes of collaborative and research-based learning. The three institutions involved are the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Levinsky College of Education in Tel Aviv and the Nepal Music Center in Kathmandu. The ultimate aim is to envision programmes of music teacher education which will equip students with the necessary skills and understandings to work within increasingly diverse environments. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland during the years 2015-2019.


Read more on the Global Visions website.

Multicultural Arts University

Cambodia & Nepal (2012–2015)

The University of the Arts Helsinki coordinates numerous international collaborative projects aiming at enhancing intercultural competencies, cultural exchange and understandings of teaching and learning in global, diverse contexts, with a particular focus on post-conflict societies.


Whilst all of the nations involved in this project are culturally unique, all may be seen to be affected by globalisation and are actively involved in the global community. These conditions create new opportunities for engaging with diversity and social change. The projects associated with the Multicultural Arts University each have specific interests that aim towards developing teacher education. The projects offer enrichment opportunities for teachers and students to engage in mutual and lifelong learning between communities and cultures, generate critical perspectives to the development of music education policy, and enhance Finland's research profile in higher music education – particularly through attending to post-conflict societies that have thus far been neglected by international research. International partners are close collaborators in these projects, with some established through requests for assistance to the University of the Arts Helsinki.


Read more on the Multicultural Arts University website.

Musiikin luova tuottaminen kouluissa [Creative Music Making in Schools]

Finland (2013–2015)

The Musiikin luova tuottaminen kouluissa (Creative Music-making in Schools) research project generated new knowledge about the teaching of composing, song-writing, improvisation, remixing and other forms of creative music-making; the use of music technology and related tools and skills available for teachers; and teachers' need of pedagogical support. The nationwide survey was conducted among music teachers in compulsory basic education and upper secondary schools in Finland.

According to the research, creative music-making is only occasionally or rarely a part of Finnish music lessons. While almost all respondents indicated that singing and/or playing is practiced in every or most lessons, merely 5 % included composing and/or song-writing as part of the regular activities of their lessons. Approximately one in ten teachers indicated that they regularly teach arranging in their lessons, and 14 % of respondents indicated that they regularly teach individual or group based improvisation.


The use of creative music making related technologies was also rare among respondents. Particularly the teaching of digital manipulation technologies was practically non-existent.


Four out of five respondents felt that they had not been equipped with adequate pedagogical tools and personal experiences in creative music-making during their own studies, and/or that those skills were out of date due to the absence of in-service training. Teachers hence lacked confidence in teaching creative music-making in their own classrooms.


Mitä koulun musiikintunneilla tehdään? Millaisia muusikonalkuja luokkahuoneissa kasvaa? Tarjoaako koulu mahdollisuuksia luovan ja laaja-alaisen muusikkouden kehittymiselle? Entä mikä on teknologian rooli musiikinopetuksen arjessa? Muun muassa näihin kysymyksiin on saatu vastauksia Taideyliopiston Sibelius-Akatemian tutkimushankkeessa Musiikin luova tuottaminen kouluissa. Vuonna 2014 toteutettu tutkimus oli ensimmäinen laaja-alainen ja systemaattinen, valtakunnallisessa mittakaavassa tehty kartoitus opettajien näkemyksistä ja kokemuksista liittyen musiikin luovan tuottamisen, kuten improvisaation, lauluntekemisen ja muun säveltämisen, opettamiseen ja teknologian käyttöön. Kyselytutkimukseen vastasi yli 600 peruskouluissa ja lukioissa musiikkia opettavaa opettajaa.


Tutkimus paljasti, että vaikka suomalaisilla musiikintunneilla soitetaan, lauletaan ja kuunnellaan musiikkia aktiivisesti ja monipuolisesti, oman musiikin tekeminen on opetuksen marginaalissa.


- Lähes kaikki vastanneista opettajista kertoivat laulamisen ja soittamisen olevan säännöllinen osa opetustaan, mutta vain viisi prosenttia vastanneista raportoi opettavansa säännöllisesti säveltämistä, kertoo tutkija Heidi Partti Sibelius-Akatemiasta.

Vaikka oppilaiden luovan toiminnan vaaliminen ja ohjaus ovat olleet osa valtakunnallista opetussuunnitelmaa jo vuosikymmeniä, tutkimus osoittaa, että säveltämisen eri muodot laulunteosta remixaukseen eivät ole vakiintuneet osaksi musiikinopetuksen arkea. Vuonna 2016 voimaan astuvissa, uusissa Perusopetuksen opetussuunnitelman perusteissa luovat työtavat, monipuoliset käytännöt, yhteistyö ja teknologia on kuitenkin nostettu entistä keskeisempään asemaan.


Tutkimuksen mukaan myös digitaaliteknologian käyttö on kouluissa vasta aluillaan. Digitaalisen musiikin käsittelytekniikoita, kuten sämpläämistä, remixausta tai DJ-ohjelmistojen käyttöä oli tunneillaan opettanut alle kymmenesosa tutkimukseen osallistuneista opettajista. Musiikkiteknologia näkyi musiikinopetuksen arjessa lähinnä musiikin kuuntelemisen ja musiikkivideoiden katsomisen välineenä.


- Oppilaiden luovan muusikkouden kehittymisen kannalta on huolestuttavaa, mikäli musiikinopetuksen työtavat rajoittuvat vain valmiin repertuaarin harjoittamiseen ja analysointiin, Partti toteaa.

Tutkimus nostaa esiin tärkeitä kysymyksiä koskien myös opettajien perus- ja täydennyskoulutusta. Tilaisuuksia omien musiikillisten ideoiden kehittelyyn ja toteutukseen teknologian mahdollisuuksia monipuolisesti hyödyntäen tulisi tarjota paitsi kouluissa, myös opettajien perus- ja täydennyskoulutuksessa.


Musiikin luova tuottaminen kouluissa -tutkimus toteutettiin Suomen Kulttuurirahaston, Suomalaisten säveltäjien ja musiikintekijöiden edunvalvontajärjestö Teosto ry:n sekä Sibelius-Akatemian tuella.

Opera by You: Collaborating an Opera In an Online Community

Finland (2010–2012)

The Opera by You research project examined the experiences of the participants and leaders of the online community, and their music making related social negotiations. was an online music community initiated by the Finnish Savonlinna Opera Festival that provided a forum for the open collaborative creation of an opera during a period of two years (May 2010–July 2012). The finished opera production had its premiere at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in July 2012.


The aim of the research was to explore the challenges and opportunities of an online community that is designed and built to serve a specific objective during a given time frame, and to examine the use of modern technologies in the context of an established art form, namely opera. The findings were expected to also provide important implications for the field of formal music education in general, and for collaborative music making in particular. The Emil Aaltonen Foundation and Sibelius Academy funded the project.

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