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Composers-in-Residence


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Timo Klemettinen, Managing Director for the Association of Finnish Music Schools, discusses the Composers-in-Residence Program at Finnish Music Schools.



Shoot Date:
January 31, 2007
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Audiences for Tomorrow's Music
Cultivating New Audiences
Timo Klemettinen
Finnish Music Council
Finland, Composers-in-residence Program at Finnish Music Schools, 2002-2005
Between 2002 and 2007, 21 music schools appointed a composer-in-residence.
The aim is to reach altogether 40-50 music schools by 2007 (50% of Finnish music schools).

Background
Composition and improvization are being taught relatively little in Finnish music schools.
To complement an existing style of instruction based on traditional classical Western music, new methods of instruction and new approaches relevant to contemporary classical music are required.

Background
The Composers-in-residence project is about co-operation between Finnish composers and music schools.
The project is designed to address the lack of contemporary music for children.
Most contemporary compositions are too difficult to perform.
Composers will learn what is required to make new music that is playable by young musicians.
The overall purpose of the project is to bring out the students’ creativity.

Concept The main ideas of the project
To build a bridge between Music Schools and Composers
To help composers understand the requirements of music written for children.
The project will produce new music suitable for children of different ages and technical skills.
Composers will rehearse contemporary music with children and teachers, and take part in music theory lessons and workshops.
Students make composing and contemporary music a natural part of their instrumental studies.
Fresh educational methods will also be tested during the project, and the most successful solutions will be later introduced at other music schools.

Description
Each of the projects has a highly individual character.
Groups and ages varied from project to project, from 4 to 20 years.
The workshops covered a variety of subjects in an integrated fashion.
Each project lasted at least one year, or a minimum of 60 hours.
Each project ended with a concert featuring compositions by the young students.

Questionnaire for staff, students and composers 1. Expectations for the project
To learn about new teaching materials and compositions
To make greater use of contemporary music
To have an opportunity to study composition
To commission new works
To learn to know the composer
To increase awareness of contemporary music
To introduce new teaching methodologies
To bridge the gap between the creative process and the performance
To give the students a chance to compose and perform each others’ compositions
Questionnaire for staff, students and composers 2. Project benefits
Practical advice and expert guidance on composition
Creative work practices tailored to each student’s personal characteristics
Finding encouragement and excitement
Getting to know composers and their work
Enriching repertoires and getting rid of prejudices
Gaining fresh insights into music
Launching new projects and organizing public lectures
Commissions, public performances
Teacher training
Bridging the gap between theory and instruction
Enhancing the school’s public image

Questionnaire for staff, students and composers 3. Difficulties encountered during the project
Students needed more time for instruction
Students were too timid to try new things
Technical difficulty of new works; suitable material was hard to find
Information and scheduling problems
Finding the right working methods
Not enough students were involved
Composers failed to tailor their message to the student audience

Questionnaire for staff, students and composers 4. Why attitudes changed during the project
Less rules, more creativity!
A chance to learn about contemporary music
Playing contemporary music now seems less daunting
Teachers were emboldened to use contemporary music in their instruction
The project was a rich and varied experience
The material turned out to be suitable for young players
Composition is now perceived as an integral part of music-making
Children’s enthusiasm stimulated interest among their parents

SWOT strengths
Cooperation between composers, teachers and students
Good professional skills
Recognition of interschool differences
Music schools are flexible organizations
There is a high level of general interest in the project indicating that the time is ripe
Excellent support organizations
Students gain a better understanding of music and how it is made
Strengthens students’ self-confidence
Highlights the communal nature of music

SWOT weaknesses
Availability of resources is not guaranteed
Not all students are involved
Scheduling problems
The students are divided into age groups
Limitations of the teaching staff

SWOT opportunities
Making composition an elective subject in every Music School in Finland.
Bridging the gap between theory and practice
Erasing musical boundaries
Increasing familiarity with the language of contemporary music
Broadening repertoires
Learning about the compositional process
Teaching active listening
Changing teachers’ work
Social interaction
Raising awareness about the Music School and the Project

SWOT threats
Funding
Project fails to proceed past the pilot stage; the composer remains just a guest
Poor organization
Poor personal chemistry, composer’s personality not compatible with project goals
Negative effect on students
Conservative teachers water down the project goals
Compositions are too closely tied to the project
Project lacks media attention

Results
Our Composer-In-Residence Project came to a great conclusion yesterday with a concert that featured eight compositions by students who had participated in the project. The youngest was a 13-year-old country boy who played his own compositions for piano. It was great stuff and everyone was very excited. We had a great turnout and the papers devoted full pages to the concert. In other words, it was an unqualified success; I’m extremely satisfied with the project.
Finland, Composers-in-residence at Finnish music schools, 2002-2005
The initiative is taken by the Finnish Music Information Centre (FINIC) and the Association of Finnish Music Schools (SML).
The pilot projects were organized with the help of the National Board of Education.
Payroll costs are covered by the Association of Finnish Music Schools
Music schools pay the cost of travel and accommodation.

For further information please contact:
timo.klemettinen@musiccouncil.fi


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