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NMH Students the Most Satisfied With Their Instructors

The results from the nationwide Student Survey show that NMH students are pleased with their instructors. The Norwegian Academy of Music ranks top amongst all public universities and university colleges with an average score of 4.3 out of 5.

The students answered questions such as whether their instructors make the lessons engaging, whether they convey the material in a way that is easy to understand, whether the teaching covers vital parts of the curriculum, and whether the teaching encourages the students to participate actively.

We communicate closely with our instructors, so we get to know each other really well.

Karen Elise Fridtjofsen
Karen Elise stands outside in front of a snow-covered bush and smiles at the camera. She has glasses, turtleneck and a woolen cardigan.

“The instructors are passionate about their subject”

Karen Elise Fridtjofsen and Sigmund Skjeldrum Toppe are both students in the Bachelor in Music Performance programme and very happy with the quality of the teaching at the Norwegian Academy of Music. They say the instructors are incredibly knowledgeable, well established in the music industry and usually very passionate about their subject.

“We communicate closely with our instructors, so we get to know each other really well,” Karen Elise says. “They’re more than just instructors – they’re also mentors because they know the music industry”.

Sigmund agrees: “They’re at the forefront of their fields, so they’re up to speed with what is happening in the music industry. That benefits us.”

Sigmund and Karen Elise also believe that music is different from other subjects because, for most people, it is more than just a job or a study programme. They think this generates added enthusiasm.

They’re at the forefront of their fields, so they’re up to speed with what is happening in the music industry.

Sigmund Skjeldrum Toppe
Sigmund stands in front of a snow-covered bush and smiles at the camera. He is wearing glasses and a turtleneck jumper.

Closeness, professionalism and respect

“It’s about three things: closeness, professionalism and ethics. Teaching at NMH often takes place in relatively small groups and one-to-one. This creates a degree of closeness between students and instructors and comes down to a question of trust. The students deal with multiple instructors over the course of a week, and I think that’s extremely important,” says Guro Gravem Johansen, jazz singer and associate professor of music education and aural training.

“I can only speak on behalf of my own specialisms, music education and aural training, but we are always working to stay up to date and observe how the discipline is developing. We discuss with colleagues and seek external impulses in international networks. It’s important that we maintain a sense of professional humility so that we don’t get stuck in a rut and keep repeating the same teaching year after year. As well as keeping up with research from Norway and abroad, we at NMH also contribute with some good research ourselves.”

“The third thing is ethics. We must listen to the students, give them room to experiment, respect their individuality and try to empathise with their experiences. It’s especially important for those of us working in music education to practise what we preach. When trying to train students to become good instructors, it’s important that we are also good at what we do,” says Guro Gravem Johansen.

Good and constructive feedback means leaving the students feeling good about themselves afterwards and for them to be inspired by it.

Guro Gravem Johansen

Constructive feedback should create a feel-good factor

According to the Student Survey, NMH is better than average at giving constructive criticism and praise. The survey asked the students whether their instructors and peers give constructive feedback. This can tell us something about the study environment.

Guro Gravem Johansen believes listening is the main thing when giving constructive feedback.

“We have to try to understand who the students are and where they’re coming from. We must always look for strengths and positives in what the students are doing, establish what’s behind it, what they are thinking.”

According to Guro Gravem Johansen, excellent and constructive feedback means leaving the students feeling good about themselves afterwards and for them to be inspired by it. “This means you have to be very conscious of what you’re doing. I always try to think about how my students can interpret what I say and do. But ultimately, it’s about empathy.”

“It’s important for professional musicians to be able to co-operate, and at NMH, we are taught how to give constructive feedback,” Karen Elise says. Sigmund brings up forums and masterclasses and how the different study programmes and instrument groups employ other feedback methods. Both students point out how this brings the students together.

Room for improvement: organisation and information

NMH scored slightly lower on how its study programmes are organised and how information is provided. The Academy falls to a 3 rating, although this is still above average.

Numbers from the Student Survey

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