SPD – an elaboration

By: Lena Gregersen & Torben Jensen
Position: Associate professor at Royal Academy of Music, Aalborg/Arhus, Denmark

The Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus/Aalborg (RAMA) is a state institution under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Culture, charged with responsibility for the further education courses in music, and for otherwise contributing to the promotion of musical culture in Denmark. The programs have been given the highest status, both nationally and internationally. This means that they measure up to the best comparable courses on offer abroad. RAMA trains students for careers as professional musicians, and, depending on the course taken, students graduate either as solo performers or as music teachers.

The BMus (Rhythmic Music and Dance Education) degree at The Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus, is a 3-year study course (180 ECTS credits) in which students acquire specialized knowledge, skills, and qualifications to become rhythmic musicians/singers as practitioners and teachers in ‘Singing, Dancing and Playing’ (SDS) as well as teachers of a main instrument.

The degree course offers a broad palette of teaching and inspiration in the form of subjects, projects, concerts, courses, trips and much more. All of these help students to develop their musical and artistic personalities – without forgetting the all-important aspect: to be able to work together with others in a creative and dynamic way. A special element in this course is the annual tour with a show that students create from scratch and which combines movement, theater and music in a very specific way. In addition the study trip to Africa, Cuba or Brazil (normally) is an important part of the course – also used as a springboard for creative processes in relation to the teachers role.

There are also a multitude of alternative possibilities for students – not least in the form of cooperation across the range of courses and genres, since the Academy of Music also runs programmes within classical, electronic, rhythmic and global music. We encourage students to become involved in this cooperation and to make use of the international openings as regards exchanges and study trips

SDP – Singing, dancing and playing – an elaboration

This topic is based on the roots of rhythmic music, and the fact, that rhythmic music originally is cohesively connected and inseparable to body movements – dance.

When we say “dance” we mean both dance in an ethnic, traditional way, but as much awareness about and focus on using the body in context with music.

One of the reasons why SDP was introduced as a way of approaching music and movement at RAMA was to educate dancers with a profound understanding to music, and musicians being able to and comfortable with using their body and having an understanding of dance and dancers. SDP strive for the communication and synergy between musicians and dancers.

Another equally important focus in the SDP is the awareness on the powerful possibilities there are in this special way of ​being together​. SPD transcends age, cultural background, interests and skills.
SPD stimulate, strengthen and facilitate the possibility of being together to sing, dance and play in a creative and non-elitist way. We have a strong focus on group energy, and we work consciously with the social aspect in every musical setting.

The art of having fun – using body, voice and music.

In SDP we work a lot with African and African influenced music and dance cultures. We study and practice original traditions, also by visiting the cultures in their original environment. But just as important is the creative work with the styles: to make them relevant, useable and meaningful in our own culture. Ownership, creativity and personality count as much as stylistic credibility and skills.