‘Polifonia’ Working Groups

The project has had five working groups, each of which had been designed to be coherent internally but also complementary to others.

Working group 1, Assessment and Standards, has taken up the work on assessment begun in the latter stages of ‘Polifonia’ II and has drawn upon expertise from the earlier working group. It has aimed to:

  • strengthen shared understanding of assessment methods, procedures and standards in European higher music education
  • highlight innovative examples of assessment in, or suitable for, competence-based learning and examples of the involvement of students in these processes
  • explore how external examiners might be used to enhance objectivity and the exchange of expertise

The work of the group also has connected to developments in the field of assessment and standards taking place in Australia through the involvement of the Faculty of the VCA and Music of Melbourne University.

Working group 2, Artistic Research in Higher Music Education, has followed on from the overall mapping exercise on the role of research in higher music education executed in the previous cycle. Focusing on the role of artistic research, the group has aimed to:

  • develop a European Platform for Artistic Research in Music
  • reflect on the content and structure of the 2nd cycle, addressing how programmes at this level in higher music education should combine professional preparation with preparation for relevant Doctoral study
  • identify those teachers with experience in supervising and examining in the field of artistic research in music and provide institutions with easier access to this information

The group also has subsumed within its membership the international ‘Pentacon’ grouping of conservatoires, and has drawn upon the resources of the Society for Artistic Research (SAR).

Working group 3, Accreditation and Benchmarking, has taken the existing European-level and subject-specific approach to quality assurance in higher music education to the next stage of development. It has aimed to:

  • develop existing expertise through further institutional and programme review visits,
  • fine-tune the criteria and procedures
  • build up a solid reputation in this area of expertise in both the higher music education and quality assurance sectors

Crucial to the strength and integrity of the group’s work was the close cooperative relationship between the AEC and the National Association of Schools of Music (USA). NASM has had a long history of work in the area of sector-based accreditation and has been of support in the development of European initiatives in this area.

Working group 4, Educating for Entrepreneurship, has brought together representatives of higher music education institutions and professional music organisations. It has aimed to:

  • explore innovative, “entrepreneurial” ways of structuring music-making across Europe
  • determine the shared skills and competencies this entails
  • map existing approaches to such training in conservatoires
  • provide guidelines and appropriate training for higher music education institutions and the profession

The group has benefited from the external perspective provided by a leading US conservatoire active in this field.

Working group 5, Recognition, Monitoring and Joint Degrees, has promoted mobility in the higher music education sector through a variety of activities. It has aimed to:

  • achieve a European-level agreement on how to deal with recognition issues in higher music education institutions
  • develop a methodology to facilitate reciprocal external examining arrangements in higher music education
  • carry out case-studies to identify mobility and recognition issues in European joint degrees

The group has drawn upon the expertise of European conservatoires that have been particularly heavily involved in exchange programmes and joint degrees. It, too, has had an international partner in the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, an institution with over 20 international partnerships, most of them with European institutions.