Music Teacher Training in Norway

 

I. Background / Organisation

II. Curriculum

III. Learning and Teaching Approaches

IV. Assessment / Examination

V. Current and Future Challenges

I. Background / Organisation

Norway is one of the few European countries where the profession of music teacher is not formally regulated. However, a system of required qualifications exists. All programmes include practice in schools and varying degrees of performing skills. The same goes for educational theory.

University colleges, universities, conservatoires and the Norwegian Academy of Music provide training for music teachers. Teachers who are trained at conservatoires place greater emphasis and skills in performance. They often have difficulties getting a job in the public primary or secondary systems because their subject base is too narrow, and most of them will teach in municipal-run music and culture schools.

The institutions themselves decide on the Bachelor level programmes. There are national curricula (loose frameworks) for all nationally approved teacher programmes. Masters and PhDs have to be approved by a special ministerial body for university colleges.

II. Curriculum

There are two main pathways in Norwegian Music teacher training, one aimed at classroom teaching and one with instrumental/vocal specialisation. There are several variants of training in each main pathway.

Training for Classroom Teachers

         A four-year general teacher programme (240 ECTS) where teachers specialise in music: Specialisations can be from 30 to 120 credits. This educational programme is offered by university colleges, many of them specialising in teacher education. A teacher certificate is awarded after four years, qualifying graduates to teach any subject at any level in primary and secondary education. Parallel to this, students receive a (academic) Bachelorís degree after three years and may use their fourth year as part of a Masterís programme in music education. There is also an opportunity to take a one year teacher training programme for students who already have a Bachelorís degree in music. This can be studied on part-time basis over two years. After five years a Masters degree is obtained.

         A four-year programme in practical and aesthetical education: This programme consists of compulsory subjects and electives. The compulsory subjects are music, art and craft, Norwegian and educational theory and practice; each of these is 30 credits. Additionally students must choose two 30-credits courses out of the following: drama, dance, physical education and domestics. Students can specialise in any of the above-mentioned subjects (both compulsory and elective) up to 90 credits. A teacher certificate is awarded after four years, qualifying graduates to teach any subject at any level in primary and secondary education. Even in this case, students receive a Bachelor degree and are allowed to continue on a Masterís programme in music education. Four university colleges offer this educational programme.

         Three-year programme for kindergarten (180 credits) where teachers receive foundation courses in music education (10 credits) and where they may specialise in music for an additional 30 credits. Programmes are offered by university colleges.

         Four- and five-year subject based programmes which consist of three years of subject studies (Bachelor) and on top of that educational theory and practice for one to two years. This Masterís programme is offered by universities and the Norwegian Academy of music. University colleges are now also offering variants of the programme. Students receive certificates for lower secondary schools or (for Master programmes) upper secondary schools.

Training for Instrumental/Vocal Teaching

         Three- or four-year Bachelor programmes offered by conservatories, in some cases also including dance and drama. Most students on these programmes will work in public culture (music) schools. Some also work in upper secondary or tertiary education.

         Five-, six- or eight-year programmes at Master or PhD level in music performance and music education. These programmes are in some cases offered by universities (e.g. the Grieg Academy), in some cases by the Norwegian Academy of Music. Graduates work in all kinds of institutions, such as culture schools, tertiary education and upper secondary education.

The Norwegian Academy of Music

Below follows a description of the main contents for the Bachelorís programme in music education at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Bachelor qualifies students for both classroom and instrumental teaching; the Masters course is more theoretically orientated and prepares for PhD studies.

 

Graph 1: The break down of main contents at the Norwegian Academy of Music for the Bachelorís programme in Music Education (240 ECTS).

 

III. Learning and Teaching Approaches

The number of students in one ďgenerationĒ on the Music teacher training study program (Bachelor) at the Norwegian Academy of Music is 24. The one year teacher training program has also 24 students per year, both full time and part time. The quota of taught hours for the Bachelorís programme is 15-20 hours per week and for the one year teacher programme 10-15 hours per week.

Teaching takes the form of one-to-one-lessons as well as teaching in groups. In study plans the studentsí independence and ability to cooperate is emphasised.

Graduates from the Bachelorís programme at the Norwegian Academy of Music are qualified to work as music teachers in different parts of the musical environment. Apart from instrumental/vocal tuition and music theory, subjects taught on this course include pedagogical theory, teaching methods and teaching practice.

IV. Assessment / Examination

Both academic qualifications and musical entrance requirements must be met. All applications are dealt with handled in accordance with national requirements for admission into higher education. To enter the undergraduate courses at the Norwegian Academy of Music, foreign applicants should normally have an education corresponding to British A-Levels or equivalent, the German Abitur, the French baccalaurťat or an equivalent. Admission to the postgraduate programmes requires a completed undergraduate study programme from the Norwegian Academy of Music or a corresponding programme. The programme is open to applicants with a background in classical music as well as jazz, pop or rock music or traditional music.

In 2003 a reform was carried out in Norwegian Higher Education. The Quality Reform introduced a degree structure, grading system and quality assurance system in line with the Bologna Process. The grading scale conforms to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) rating scale with the letters A (best) to E for pass and F for failed. The reform also meant the establishment of a quality assurance agency, The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). This is an independent agency with the task of carrying out external quality assurance of higher education and tertiary vocational education in Norway.

The teachers for primary and secondary schools are fully qualified after they have passed all elements in the Bachelorís programme (240 ECTS) and other requirements laid down by the Ministry of Education. The title of the qualification is Bachelor of Music Education.

V. Current and Future Challenges

The Bologna process has come a long way in Norway. However, some programmes are still in the process of being transformed from the old system to the new system. This means it will still take some time before the new system is being fully realised in terms of programmes. Therefore, in this period of transition changes are taking place rapidly. However, the nationally approved teacher education programmes have been revised recently, and new revisions will probably not happen until the eventual instalments of a new political regime.