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Innovative Conservatoire Seminars
  • Tailor-made professional development designed to stimulate knowledge exchange and reflective practice in teachers in Higher Music Education.

Innovative Conservatoire Seminars

The InnovativeConservatoire seminars provide tailor-made professional development to stimulate knowledge exchange and reflective practice in teachers in Higher Music Education. I Chair this international partnership, and design and deliver the seminars with co-founder, Bart van Rosmalen, and a group of creative directors. The seminars ask teachers to engage with both core values and innovation in the process of teaching and learning in conservatoires, and to become key players in the growing international community of practice-based research.

Seminars are held twice a year as a three-day residential programme at different venues across Europe. They use, and are continuing to evolve, a range of collaborative creative and reflective working forms, and the development of improvisation skills is a key part of the process. The seminars have established a community of practice, with a particular spirit of collegiality and enquiry, and numerous spin-off development projects have resulted from this. An evaluation of the early seminars has been published (2010) by the European Association of Conservatoires: Researching Conservatoires: Enquiry, Innovation and the Development of Artistic Practice in Higher Music Education. This includes details of some of the working methods.

The InnovativeConservatoire began in 2006, through cooperation of several European Conservatoires dedicated to exploring the potential of collaborative professional development for their teachers at an international level. Between October 2008 and October 2010 the collaboration was extended through the Polifonia project of the AEC and the SIDA project, bringing 35 teachers from 16 conservatoires together to share practice, reflect and research. There are now more than 30 conservatoires involved in the project, with participation growing all the time. Themes covered have included the musician in society; one-to-one and small group teaching; assessment and feedback; student-centred teaching; health and well-being; practising; improvisation and creativity; voices of the artist in society; methodologies in practice-based research; presence and performance; masterclasses.

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In a nutshell

So why should you be interested in Learning in and through the Performing Arts?

The collaborative processes of the performing arts open a pandora's box of possibilities for artistic, personal and organizational development. They are subtle and multi-layered, embodied practices that can yield much more than what individuals bring to them, creatively and in terms of human exchange. My work is about continuing to develop these processes for the twenty-first century, so that artists can adapt to their changing contexts and enable their work to take root as creative entrepreneurs, and so that the processes of the arts can be shared and enhanced through exchange with other disciplines and across cultural contexts.