The 17th EAS Student Forum took place in Malmö, Sweden from 14th to 18th of May 2019. The forum was held alongside the 27th EAS conference and 7th ISME regional conference that all shared the same theme: THE SCHOOL I’D LIKE. That extensive theme offered many possibilities for further discussions between participants informal sense of the word as well as in a more informal sense. For all of us, it was a theme that attracted us at the very beginning.
The 2019 forum hosted 25 students from 18 countries: Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Cyprus, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands and Slovenia. The majority of students were somewhere in the final years of their music pedagogy or class teacher studies.
Before coming to Sweden we were each asked to provide a few songs from our country or interesting warm-up activities. All of the materials were collected into a booklet.
On the first day of the Student forum, we were getting to know each other, getting to know around Malmö and meeting our mentors, two inspiring and experienced music professors from Finland and Germany. We also met our student coordinators from Sweden and Estonia. On the very first day, we got straight to work and divided into groups, sharing previously mentioned materials with each other. On day two we discussed the role of music education in our home countries’ schools. We were also part of a longer music improvisation workshop called Stundt. On day three we prepared a presentation of our forum for the workshop we performed at the main conference. Day four was the workshop and on day 5 we individually attended the conference.
Throughout these days we had many discussions, formal at the forum and informal at the hotel, at dinners and so on. We visited concerts, talked about our individual cultures, learnt about Sweden and Swedish culture, got REALLY into fika, which is a Swedish word for coffee and cake break and most importantly, we learnt about music education in schools throughout all Europe. The whole forum was soaked with music. We were singing all the time, played instruments and gathered around the piano. We were also able to do some sightseeing in Malmö.
It was amazing to connect with so many students from 18 different countries, all working towards the same goal, becoming teachers, music teachers and being musicians by heart. It was an honour to get to know so many educational systems, so many different cultures and to exchange opinions on topics that are very important for a young music teacher to be. It was the perfect mix of pedagogical science panels and the art of music. A mix that we music teachers are blessed to be a part of in our everyday life. I believe that we all took new ideas to our home countries and universities and most importantly, we gained confidence that we are on the right path and we’ll carry that confidence through all of our careers. That is why forums of that kind are immensely important for young students.
Eva Širca Likar, BA in Music Education
University of Ljubljana, Academy of Music