Report of the 24th EAS Conference
by Rūta Girdzijauskienė
Conference theme: “Looking for the Unexpected: Creativity and Innovation in Music Education”
Vilnius, Lithuania, 16-19 March 2016
The annual conference of the EAS took place in Vilnius – the capital of Lithuania. During the conference we aimed to exchange ideas on the concept of creativity, to share good practices in fostering creativity in a variety of musical contexts, and to generate thoughts for research and innovative projects.
Prior to the main conference the delegates had the possibility to visit schools and become familiar with reality of music education in Lithuania. Two groups of participants took advantage of the chance to get an inside impression of Lithuanian school life in three different schools.
The programme of the main conference comprised research and practice papers, reports of projects, symposia, poster presentations, practical workshops. Eighty-three presentations in 41 sessions took place over 4 days. The dominant topics at the conference were: innovative methods of teaching and learning, the personality of a creative teacher, creativity in teacher’s education, creative use of ICT in music education, creative music performance, composing and improvisation.
In the national music teachers’ section of the conference, which provided simultaneous translation into Lithuanian. The keynote speakers of the conference, members of EAS board, eminent in the field of musical creativity research and practice, delivered their presentations.
Delegates were also able to attend seven concerts in the best concert halls of Vilnius city. Twelve student groups were invited to present Lithuanian musical culture. Among them well known choirs, vocal groups, bands, which regularly participate in various projects, festivals and achieve highest awards at national and international competitions.
The four conference days were full of exchange of ideas, of the sharing of good practice in fostering creativity in a variety of musical contexts, and of colleagues generating thoughts for research and innovative projects.
Conference scheduled three keynote speakers in the programme: Pamela Burnard (University of Cambridge, UK), Gintautas Mažeikis (Vytautas Magnus University, LT), Magne Espeland (Stord/Haugesund University College, NO)
Pamela Burnard discussed the practice imperative of diverse musical creativities to connect education, academia and industry sectors. She explored what is distinctive about the pluralism of creativities, how to think anew about the way young people learn, to reflect and engage their own human capital creativities. According to Pamela Burnard, successful musicians are entrepreneurs who have well-developed skills in diverse musical creativities – drawing on and developing creative leadership by motivating and collaborating with others.
Gintautas Mažeikis asked to consider the necessity of developed breakthrough and multiple alternatives as opposition to ideological interpellation, to pop cultural banalization, and to the manufacturing of reality. He presented a critical theory about creativity developed by a philosopher, a composer and a critic T. Adorno.
Magne Espeland focused on creativity and improvisation in music education and teaching. He argued that teacher education needs to establish a typology of professional improvisation in teaching that includes sequential, dialogic and exemplary teaching practices, as well as spontaneous reflection required in situational moments. Delegates were asked to consider how creative educational actions could be the essence of professional and inclusive teaching.
A hundred and ninety-one participants from 33 countries registered for this conference, among them 26 students from 13 countries who participated in the Student Forum and 11 doctoral students from 11 countries who participated in the Doctoral Student Forum. Twenty-two EAS national coordinators were presenting perspectives on creativity in their country’s music education context. About two hundred Lithuanian teachers had the chance to become acquainted with the ideas concerning the development of creativity and, through musical activities, with innovative teaching methods.
The conference organisers
Five universities and academies that prepare music educators had been collaborating to bring this conference. They are: Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Klaipėda University, Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, Šiauliai University and the Music Academy of Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University. Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science and Lithuanian Music Teachers’ Association were partners of the organizers of the conference.