Young Audiences Music Concerts: a link between Art and Education

The professional Young Audiences Music concert within school places itself in between the fields of art and education.
1. A link between Art and Education

The professional Young Audiences Music concert within school places itself in between the fields of art and education. 

One the one hand, it provides the first hand meeting between children and the professional live music; a meeting that enriches, inspires and creates possibilities for magic moments that can last a life time. In short, the concert moment opens up for all the benefits and qualities inherent in art and culture.

On the other hand, it takes place within the school framework, and as such has an obligation to meet the teaching aims set by the school or by national ministries of education.

But how to link these two worlds? Because without a doubt, the concert offers a range of possibilities for learning and a range of approaches to how this learning should take place. 

Common for all approaches within YAM is that the overall aim of the YAMconcert is to create a holistic experience - that establishes a greater, more sustainable connection between audience and subject - that meets the children at their level, - that unites different levels of learning, school learning as well as learning for life, or what is known as "bildung". This approach, we believe reaches first and foremost the children, but also the teachers, the principals, the musicians and the YAMprofessionals. 

2. Approaching the learning aspect of a school concert

Each YAM organization approach the learning aspect of the school concerts in a different manner. Some tend to incorporate parts of it directly into the concert, whereas others keep it separate from the concert itself. 

In Norway, a web-based music game has been established as an attractive way to reach students and teachers and connect music and learning to the national school concert tours.

The learning aspect can also be approached through the creation of a study or teaching material to accompany the concert (as used in e.g. Denmark and Belgium). The study materials are primarily used as a means to support the learning/teaching aspect of the school concert.

However, the teaching material naturally has the ability to extend the concert experience and take it to yet another level: it allows the school teacher to build a holistic educational activity around each concert, establishing a greater, more sustainable connection between audience and subject, and create ownership and involvement in the concert experience leading to long term learning.

Below you can find examples from how Norway and Denmark have approached the teaching aspect of the concert in pratice.

3. Lyderia: a web-based music game

In Norway, the decline in fine arts subjects and the resulting reduction in teacher competencies after the school reform of 2007 has made it more difficult for the schools to integrate concert experiences into the curriculum. Former Rikskonsertene/Concerts Norway joined with the city of Oslo and the Østfold county to map the use of educational materials in connection with school concerts in 2013. They found that only a very few schools used these educational materials actively, or even talked to the students about the concerts in advance. 

As a result of this study, the decision was made to reduce the amount of informational material accompanying the concerts and instead attempt to communicate directly with the students. A web-based music game ( was created to engage students in grades 5-7. Content for the website was generated from touring concert programs and artists in order to be as relevant as possible. 

In many cases, Lyderia can connect game activity directly to the school concert program that will be visiting the school. Different modules of the game can be opened for specific areas of the country so that they can target individual concert tours, school concert festivals and other flagship events. Variation in musical style and content was an important priority, so that Lyderia could be relevant to as large a part of the school concert activity as possible. After its opening in late 2015, Lyderia has steadily gained users. Teachers have also welcomed Lyderia as a tool in the classroom.

Even though Lyderia has had a larger effect than traditional concert information and educational materials in Norway, the effect has its price. The cost of maintaining and marketing a digital platform and producing content to keep the site “fresh” is much more costly and time-consuming than more traditional informational forms. An evaluation process is needed to determine if the effects of Lyderia are worth the investment in the long run.

4. LMS Study Materials

In Denmark, Levende Musik i Skolen (LMS) produces one teaching material for each school concert production/tour. All materials are available to teachers, and can be downloaded from the LMS website.

Throughout the years, since LMS started making study materials in 1992, it has been valued by the teachers as it offers an opportunity to link experience and learning and also brings legitimacy for inviting concert performances to the school. However it has also required a constant effort to make the schools and teachers make use of our materials in a busy work routine. It has been an ongoing assessment of how to best make attractive and easily accessible study materials to the teachers, while keeping focus on the music and on the concert as a holistic musical experience. 

In 2015, a new school reform was introduced in all public schools in Denmark, increasing the tendency to focus on learning and learning aims. In this context, Levende Musik i Skolen, took the opportunity to move towards a more team-based approach allowing LMS producers and teachers to collaborate on each teaching material. 

In that process all study materials were updated to comply with national objectives within different subjects as drawn up by the Danish Ministry of Education - as a result of the increased focus on learning and in a time that leaves the individual teacher with a decreasing amount of time for preparation. This has so far resulted in a clear increase in usage of the study materials, and more positive responses in evaluation feedback from the schools.

5. Practical examples LMS

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate the study material as part of the school curriculum in the beginning of the new school year in August. The material is therefore produced and published for download on the LMS website already before the summer holidays. 

The teaching material direct itself to one or more subjects, often being music class, and have both short and longer teaching courses. The material always provides a short "obligatory" section that asks the teacher, as a minimum of preparation to listen to a few pieces of music from the concert and introduce other essential concert elements. 

The front page clearly lists the different learning aims referring to the curriculum the material considers, and all materials contain sheets for the teacher as well as sheets for the students ready to print.

In 2012, LMS with great success, introduced student apps as part of some materials for the older classes, allowing students to access information, music clips etc. from their smart phones and computers. 

Below, you can have a look at a couple of examples for inspiration.

Teaching material for Piano Visuals by Danish Pianist Jacob Nielsen performed at YAMsession 2015 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Teaching material for Swedish guitar duo, the Gothenburg Combo, performed at Korvat Kävelylle, showcase of the Finnish school concert organisation, Konserttikeskus in March 2016.

The translation of the LMS teaching materials takes place as part of the Blackboard Music Project.

6. Summary

This toolkit article was brought to you by the Blackboard Music Project. The aim is to share and strengthen our joint knowledge around concerts

for young audiences. We hope that you have found it interesting and please feel free to drop us a comment to let us know what you think.

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