Bologna Process 20 years: Higher Education Transformation and Student-Centred Learning in the Music Sphere

Conference “Bologna Process Beyond 2020. Fundamental Values of the EHEA”

The Bologna declaration signed in 1999 marked a new epoch in the field of higher education by launching a new universalised system encompassing 48 countries and creating the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). In order to celebrate this remarkable event, the University of Bologna, in cooperation with the European University Association and Magna Carta Observatory, hosted the conference “Bologna Process Beyond 2020” dedicated to insightful and thorough discussions on the main hindrances for higher education on the current stage, as well as its role in society. The proceedings of the academic conference with participants from more than 70 countries have been recently published (available here for download).

The conference provided teachers, researchers and students with an opportunity to discuss the most concerning issues related to the future of the EHEA. Five main sessions were underlined as the key pillars of the Conference, namely:

  1. Academic Values

In order to create an appropriate environment for education process and to make alma mater the real treasury of knowledge, one should think first of all about embracing academic values while combatting clientelism, corruption or commodification sadly permeating higher music education institutions.

  1. Student-Centred Learning

A voice is often raised regarding the standardisation in assessments of performances and the classroom traditionalism hindering the development of individuality and freedom of choice being so crucial for students on their path towards future successful careers. In proceedings of the conference, a range of best practices and innovative solutions for addressing the mentioned obstacles for comprehensive education programmes are presented.

  1. Providing Leadership for Sustainable Development, the Role of Higher Education

The concept of Sustainable Development is becoming increasingly important in the modern society. In the field of education, the concept of Sustainable Development takes on a new dimension due to the need for transforming the traditional education system and elaborating new approaches for enabling students to build a future career based on their leadership skills, innovative thinking and interdisciplinarity of their education.

  1. Social Dimension of Higher Education

It is not a secret that obstacles for the Higher Education System are manifold, starting from the inequality and ending with the elitism and lack of diversity at higher education institutions. Paying a specific attention on the social side of university’s activities is more than ever crucial due to the diverse societies we are living in.

  1. Careers and Skills for the Labour Market of the future

Skills should be at the core of education programmes in order to meet the demands of the increasingly changing labour market. A new epoch demands new competences for building communities and developing leadership qualities. Traditional systems of employment could be a significant obstacle for students striving for a future career in the field of their interest, thus it is pivotal to find a way through the maze of the labour market.

AEC SMS Project: Article Published on Student-Centred Learning in Higher Music Education

The Working Group on Learning and Teaching of the Strengthening Music in Society (SMS) Project launched by the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC) has been working on multiple programmes related to student-centred learning. The article “Student-Centred Learning in Higher Music Education” written by its representative and the director of AEC Stefan Gies underlines several outcomes of the project work, as well as presents three successful examples of incorporating new approaches in higher music education institutions.

It is noted in the article that music performance education is characterized by peculiar characteristics differentiating it from most other academic studies. For instance, one-to-one tuition and master-apprentice tradition are key features that on the one hand emphasise a student-centred education while on the other hand in some cases lead to a lack of student independence. Hence, the main goal of the projects elaborated by the AEC in partnership with the Platform for Learning and Teaching in Music Performance Education (LATIMPE) and the Centre for Excellence in Music Performance Education (CEMPE) at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo has been to draw attention to interesting examples of projects and practices in higher music education institutions around Europe that are based on features such as student-centredness, teacher collaboration and interdisciplinarity.

The article sheds some light on three examples of teaching practices oriented towards student-centred education in the field of music, notably projects at the French Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon, the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and the Rhythmic Music Conservatoire (RMC) in Copenhagen.

Higher music education sphere known for its rigidity should be adjusted in order to meet the new demands dictated by the labour market and social transformations taking place in our rapidly changing society. The article thus presents just some of the possible solutions to address the current issues and prepare the world of music education system for the nearest future.

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