SEK 3 million for research into how music can help students

Music is fellowship and joy for many, while making music together also helps us to develop important skills. The ways in which music improves student creativity and the ability to collaborate and communicate are to be studied in an international research project that has been awarded SEK 3 million from Erasmus. 

Alice Framba, from Italy, plays basson in the Linköping Symphony Orchestra. Göran Billeson

“Music at Linköping University will deepen its relationship with music research. It’s well-known that certain skills improve when we make music”, says Merete Ellegaard, assistant director musices at Linköping University. “We are now planning a two-year research project to study in more detail which skills are involved and how music can improve these.”

“In particular, what do we learn when participating in musical activities? And how can we work more actively to contribute to the development of these skills? This is what the project is intended to answer. But for me, it’s also about making the significance of music for students more visible, and showing what musical activities give the students”, says Merete Ellegaard, who leads the LiU part of the project. Photo credit Göran Billeson

The project is to study soft skills, such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, reflection, creativity and flexibility. It is also a goal of the project to develop methods to study these skills. 

“Soft skills have been highlighted at EU level as important for the future. These skills, together with knowledge, are important to have onboard in the transition from university to working life”, says Merete Ellegaard. 

International collaboration and exchange

The project has been given the name MEETS – Music in Higher Education to Develop Transversal Skills, and is led by the Italian university Collegio Borromeo. Linköping University is one partner in the project, while others are universities and university orchestras in Estonia and Spain. The European Network of University Orchestras, based in Uppsala, is also participating.

The international nature of the research collaboration makes exchange visits possible. Musicians from Linköping University will have the opportunity, when the situation associated with the corona pandemic allows, to play together with musicians from other countries. 

Music at LiU 

Music at Linköping University has four associated ensembles: the Linköping University Male Voice Choir and the Linköping University Chamber Choir, led by Director Musices Christina Hörnell, and the Linköping University Women’s Choir – Linnea and the Linköping University Symphony Orchestra led by Assistant Director Musices Merete Ellegaard.

Photo credit Peter ModinThe principal commission of Music at LiU is to conduct musical activities and provide music at the university’s events. The centre is also responsible for courses in orchestral performance and choral singing. This international research collaboration will deepen ties between Music at LiU and research. 

“It’s very exciting. By participating in this research project we show that we want to be pioneers in the field and that we can contribute important knowledge about the value of culture and the role that music plays in student development”, says Merete Ellegaard. 

Translated by George Farrants.

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