Konstmusiksystrar’s pedagogical work focuses on inspiring new generations of female, non-binary and transgender people in the field of contemporary music. We regularly organise workshops that invite participants to explore various sound practices in a safe environment on their own terms. Through Konstmusiksystrars pedagogical work, we aim to inspire young creators to approach contemporary music as a playful and inclusive space within a larger intercultural context. Many of our members were educated in Music Conservatories in Sweden and abroad and have experienced certain patriarchal and conservative structures within these educational institutions. This is often reflected in a failure to include female composers in the educational canon, the low representation of women teaching in composition programmes as well as women being a minority in the industry as a whole. Our goal is to counter some of these failings through our pedagogic work by bringing the work of female, non-binary and transgender people into educational spaces without the burden of tokenisn. Through working collectively and strengthening the sense of togetherness between composers we aim to reduce the competition and elitism that characterises the contemporary music industry. Together with new generations of creators we hope to develop a future contemporary music scene which is more friendly, experimental and diverse.
Workshop participants who have been introduced to contemporary music for the first time in our workshops have later been accepted to Higher Education composition programmes. Since still only 25% of composer students define themselves as female, Konstmusiksystrar’s work is of great importance for diversifying the field. This was acknowledged by STIM (Swedish Performing Rights Society) and RUM (National Association for Young Musicians) who in 2019 awarded Konstmusiksystrar Framtidens Musikpris in the category Enabling for Young Composers.
Since the organisation was founded in 2014, Konstmusiksystrar has organised a wide range of workshops related to acoustic and electro-acoustic music. The pedagogical work has been directly shaped by the members' varied scope of creative interest and practice, encouraging more experimentation and exploration within workshops, and expanding conceptions of the contemporary music genre as a whole. Workshop topics cover: contemporary music history from a norm critical perspective; experimentation with graphic music scores; music through performance art; sound processing; free improvisation; new ways of composing; moving from idea to complete music piece; the relationship between being a composer and musician and a number of other topics. Our workshops have also hosted ensembles and included work-in-progress performance and concerts together with live musicians.
In 2020, Konstmusiksystrar created a series of workshops at Eskilstuna Musikskola, KVAST + KS Workshops
, which were made together with the organisation KVAST (Kvinnlig Anhopning av Svenska Tonsättare). The workshops were directed at string instrument students aged 8-14 years and their teachers. The workshops were carried out as part of KVAST's project Repertoarrycket III, which dealt with gender equality in contemporary music contexts. The project investigated what attitudes there are among young people when it comes to composition and gender. In the workshops, the children were invited to explore extended techniques such as sound objects, graphic scores and the preparation of their own instruments. The children were also introduced to female composers and their contemporary scores without mentioning the composers’ gender or background. The workshops were designed as research labs where we successively introduced exercises designed to evolve and develop with the children’s participation. This reinforced the idea of composition as a process, and something that can be worked on together in a group, without any requirements for performance or evaluation. The workshop’s intentions were to not portray the differences between women and men, but rather to encourage the children to focus on their own creativity and creations. Our hope was that our presence as both educators and composers would naturally help to shift any associations of composition or composers being a male-orientated practice, and let ourselves be role models for the children.
Participating members from Konstmusiksystrar: Lo Kristenson
, Kajsa Lindgren, Rosanna Gunnarsson
, Anna Jakobsson, Konstmusiksystrar project leader.
The separatist sphere has been a large part of our pedagogic work and it is vital for us to continue to create “safe spaces” for lesser represented students and creatives within the contemporary music field, however we have significant experience organising workshops for people of all ages and gender. Previous collaborators include Frilagret and the City Museum in Göteborg, the Museum of Art in Kristinehamn, Murberget Museum in Härnösand and Malmö Live to mention a few. If you are interested in collaborating with Konstmusiksystrar, you are welcome to contact us.