Modernizing European Higher Music Education Through Improvisation

Institutions: Helsinki

Helsinki: Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki

Uniarts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy is one of the largest music academies in Europe. Established in 1882, it is the cornerstone of Finnish music and has long traditions. Today the Sibelius Academy is a creative community of 1,500 students and more than 1,000 staff. It is internationally renowned and recognised; in 2018, it was ranked the 6th best university by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018 in the category of performing arts. The mission of the Sibelius Academy is to foster and renew musical culture through teaching, research, and art.

At the Uniarts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, improvisation is taught virtually everywhere. Jazz, early music, church, classical, folk, global, music technology, and composition departments include improvisation-related courses in their curricula. The offer encompasses a wide range of practices, from the pedagogical use of improvisation to artistic performance. Moreover, while some of those courses are specific to a certain department, other are targeted to all the academy students. However, as interest in improvisation is constantly growing, within academic and non-academic circles alike (Helsinki has a vibrant and constantly blooming experimental and cross-genre scene), the Sibelius Academy is currently in the process of creating a minor study program in improvisation, targeted to master's level students. The minor study program will offer courses from all the departments, allowing the student to develop a holistic understanding of various improvisation practices.

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Libero Mureddu

Max Tabell