Outcome A realistic learning experience
Being thrown in at the deep end
The Hammerfest project offers the students a unique learning experience, and it challenges their comfort zone. The students are taken out of their safe environment at the Academy and thrown into real-life situations where unexpected things can, and do, happen. The week in Hammerfest is characterised by a high degree of collaboration, reflection, responsibility and freedom and by unfamiliar musical challenges and tasks.
By being required and encouraged to put on various performances in often untraditional venues, the students report a change in their perception of concerts and of concert audiences. Mastering the challenging situation also increases the students’ confidence in being able to perform successfully even without the thorough preparations they would usually make before a concert.
Rediscovering the joy of making music
Students find the project highly valuable in a number of ways. Most significant is perhaps that many students report that they rediscovered the joy of making music through experiencing the profound effect music can have on an audience at a concert or in a workshop with children. After a workshop with disabled children, one student said:
We played together with a girl who had autism and a boy who had Down’s syndrome. […] It makes you happy to be in the same room as these pupils. […] It is good to see how important playing music is for them. (Quoted in Danielsen and Innervik, 2016)
A key ingredient in the students’ extensive learning experience seems to be the daily meetings between them and their teachers where the students can discuss and reflect on experiences made during the day.
A local music festival
The collaboration between the Norwegian Academy of Music and the municipality of Hammerfest has resulted in a festival called A Punch of Culture. For eight days, 300 children, 100 local musicians and the Master students from the Norwegian Academy of Music play together in various constellations in a number of venues. In this way, the project also contributes to the local cultural scene with an increase in the cultural activity. According to local musicians and music teachers, the collaboration has furthermore led to an increased openness and willingness to take risks and try out new artistic ideas in the 51 remaining weeks of the year as well.
Description An elective course
The Hammerfest project is an elective collaborative project embedded in the mandatory subject Music in Perspective within the Master in Music Performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music.
During one week in January, students visit Hammerfest, a small city in the northernmost part of Norway. There they plan and perform a range of concerts in very different venues. The students do school concerts, performances in public places like the shopping mall and the library, in private homes as well as more traditional concerts. They play for different kinds of audiences and collaborate with amateur musicians, children and businesses. They stay with local families, and they meet daily with their teacher supervisors to reflect on all the different things they experience as musicians and participants in local cultural life.
Kjell Tore InnvervikProfessor
Institution: The Norwegian Academy of Music
Students at Masters in music performance educationInstitution: The Norwegian Academy of Music