Music in Future Nordic Schooling The Potential of the Relational Turn

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Kari Holdhus Magne Espeland


In this article, we discuss general school music in light of the fairly recent focus on rela­tionality, specifically in pedagogy but also in related academic fields, such as psychology, aesthetics and philosophy. The main focus of the text is directed towards what we refer to as the relational turn in education, emphasizing school music in Nordic and Western countries.

The article is inspired by two recent Norwegian reports indirectly suggesting that the accountability and cognitive skill-oriented school policies within the Norwegian education community that have dominated for the past 20 years might be inadequate. The reports propose a new direction focusing more on creativity and inclusivity with an emphasis on deep learning and the social and emotional impact of education.

By investigating the relational turn in education as well as relationality in the fields of philosophy, psychology and aesthetics, we argue that many of these relational approaches may contribute to renewal of the rationale, as well as the construction and practice, of school music as a future curriculum subject.

In the last part of the article, we discuss how three internationally known disciplines of school music, namely music-making (singing and playing), composing and listening, could be renewed by pedagogies inspired by the relational turn.

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