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Overview of Music Education in Finland


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Timo Klemettinen, Managing Director, Association of Finnish Music Schools gives an overview of music education in Finland at the Learning Overtures: Finland Symposium.

Shoot Date:
January 31, 2007
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SYMPOSIUM ON MUSIC EDUCATION IN FINLAND Overview of the Finnish Music Education System
New York University
January 31, 2007
Short History
First music school founded in 1882 (Helsinki Music School, now the Sibelius Academy)
During the process leading to political independence for Finland in 1917, culture and the arts were regarded as basic prerequisites for an autonomous nation
National Romanticism, Jean Sibelius
The Association of Finnish Music Schools founded in 1956
In 1969, introduction of legislation on government aid for music schools.
financial stability of the music schools
competence of teachers
Short History
When the basic framework for Finnish music education was being constructed after the Second World War, there was a severe lack of music professionals.
The primary objective was thus to produce competent professional musicians and teachers.
Now that the professional music school objectives have been achieved, the focus in music education has shifted to developing the all-round personality of the child.
Equality as a basic principle

The right to music education is recognized as a basic human right
Everyone with sufficient motivation should have the right and the ability to participate in music education
Regional equality
5.25 million people spread over 338,000 km2
Right to special instruction (disabled students etc.)
To what extent should the government support music education arranged outside school, and what should individuals be ready to pay for pursuing music as a hobby?

Objective and subjective rights
Under Finnish law, the central government and local authorities have an objective responsibility to arrange cultural activities
The law does not specify how they should arrange cultural services (i.e., there are no subjective rights)
Music schools are guided by:
legislation (laws, statutes and recommendations)
a national curriculum and examination system
funding allocations
the values and expectations of society
traditions of art education
teacher training
assessment (internal and external evaluation)
parents and students

Law governing basic education in the arts introduced in 1999
Funding and permissions to arrange education are issued by the Ministry of Education
Examination and evaluation guidelines are set by the Finnish Music School Association
National curriculum is established by the National Board of Education
Extensive curriculum 2002
General curriculum 2005
Objectives of the Extensive Curriculum
Instruction under the Extensive Curriculum of Basic Arts Education is aimed at laying the foundation for a rich personal relationship with music and for a lifelong interest in music, and at providing a stepping stone to the professional study of music.
Instruction is aimed at supporting the students’ emotional growth, strengthening their personality, and fostering creativity and social skills. The goal is to guide students towards a focused, goal-driven and long-term involvement with music, and a constructive activity by themselves or as part of a group
An additional objective is to uphold and promote national musical culture
Extensive curriculum
Acceptance through entrance examinations
Studies structured around grade exams
Extended length of the individual lesson (2.5 hours of tuition a week on average)
Preparatory studies for professional education
Education is goal-oriented
Promotion of the national music life
Continuity of the tradition of western music
Equips students for further vocational study
Average week of the music school student
Personal tuition in main instrument 45-90 min
Music theory, solfège and music history 60-90 min
Ensemble playing (orchestras, chamber music, choir) 60-90 min
Possibility for second instrument lesson
Possibility for voluntary studies (music technology etc.)

General curriculum (private music schools, private associations etc.)
Open to all
Individual lessons are short
Teaching in groups
No examinations (student freedom)
Good relationship with music
Lifelong interest in music
Social values
Prevention of social exclusion
Integration into society
Preventive health-care
Government covers 50%
Total government funding on basic training in music: 50 million euros annually
Municipality covers 33%
Fees cover 17%
Average tuition fee 400 euros per year
Government guidance: Positive and negative enforcement
Positive enforcement
Government creates the conditions for music education
Citizens have an equal opportunity to receive music education
Negative enforcement
Government oversees the activities of music schools and imposes limits on their freedom to organize instruction
Individual wishes are not fulfilled
Society’s values
Education and culture enjoy a high status in society
Homogeneous cultural identity, shortage of multicultural influences
Northern geographical location; respect for nature
Nordic welfare society ideology
equality and democracy
Strong regional politics
national cultural policy
Changes in society
Fast economic development
Baby-boom generations are retiring
less tax revenue, more spending on health and welfare
fewer publicly funded cultural services?
Changes in the economy
a bigger role for innovation and creativity
New technology and media
influence of art education

Music schools are guided by:
traditions of art education
music education was born at the juncture of west and east
Kodaly and other music pedagogical systems
teacher training
early childhood music pedagogy
assessment (internal and external evaluation)
from achievement testing to support and motivation
parents and students
changing expectations
Music education in Finland 2007
99 music schools and conservatories
60,000 pupils and 3,500 teachers
1,509,000 hours of instruction per year
Gender distribution of students
33.8% boys
66.2% girls
Intake 51.4% of total applicants
Age distribution of students
under 7 / 27.2%
7-15 / 56.5%
16-18 10.8%
Music education in Finland 2007
Student-oriented standards adopted as the basis for educational objectives
Music schools have been relieved from top-down external regulation
More decisions are being made at local level
Expanding the scope of instrumental tuition
Keyboard harmony, improvization and composition
Contemporary music and cooperation with composers
Music theory is taught on the students’ own instruments and with a practical approach
Online pedagogy
As in other walks of society, these values witnessed a transition from an industrial to technology and information society.
Right now the trend is towards an entertainment and creativity society. These changes will have a big influence on music education.
The media and entertainment society makes traditional music teaching more and more challenging.
Ideologies and financial realities
music for all ideologies and goal oriented music education
Students’ rights and freedoms
Classical music (94%) and rhythm music (6%)
Future of Symphony Orchestras
Competition for students’ leisure time

Five critical success factors that Finland has demonstrated in music education
Tradition of music education (influences from east and west) and high respect for music and arts
Early childhood music pedagogy
Teacher training (99.3% qualified teachers)
Legislation on music schools, central and local government funding
Network of music schools (widespread national best practices), nationwide curriculum standards and examination system.

Download Transcription:
NY presentation 07-2.ppt

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