Community music and community musicians: New era, new needs, new roles

Στάμου Λελούδα, Βαρβαρίγου Μαρία, Αγαλιανού Ολυμπία, Ραφαέλα Τρούλου, Σταύρος Ξάκης, Μάνος Κούρτης


Session Κοινοτική μουσική και κοινοτικοί μουσικοί: Η νέα εποχή, οι νέες ανάγκες, οι νέοι ρόλοι ( Saturday, 16-Apr-22 17:00:00 EEST )

The symposium aims to shed light on the scientific and practical fields of community music through highlighting its presence internationally and its formal beginnings in Greece in the last few years. The symposium presentations aspire at leading the audience not only to an understanding of the basic principles and tools of community music, but also to a deeper understanding of the new needs that have arised in our rapidly changing world that creates huge challenges at a personal and collective level, and the new roles that we can have as humans, musicians and educators. The five (5) presentations aim to provide the audience a holistic view of the scientific and practical aspects of community music, starting from a historical overview, continuing with its basic principles and characteristics, and then focusing on important facets of it, such as the importance of facilitation, hospitality and creativity for contributing to the people’s wellbeing and sense of community (Bartleet & Higgins, 2018). The various ways of facilitating a group (hierarchical, collaborative, autonomous) and the six dimensions of facilitation which also represent aspects in the teacher – student relationship (Creech, Varvarigou, & Hallam, 2020), will be discussed. Another presentation will discuss a flexible, open proposal for organizing a community music meeting or program aiming to improve group dynamics. This proposal is based on systemic and intercultural approaches obviously influenced by the Orff approach, employing improvisation and composition as its basic tools. On the basis of arguing that family can be viewed as a structural community unit, a music program designed for an older family member suffering from dementia will be presented. The symposium will also involve presentations of programs that are implemented as part of research studies and practicum experiences taking place in the context of the program of graduate studies “Music & Society” at the University of Macedonia. These are a community music program for older people residing at a nursing home, and a community program collecting and donating music instruments and offering free music lessons to children and youth living in shelters and elsewhere. We will also discuss the problems, aspirations and prospects for the development of community music in Greece. Each presentation underlines the transformational power of community music for participants and facilitators, either in the context of organizations dealing with socially vulnerable groups or in the context of formal and informal education (Schippers & Bartleet, 2013). The symposium ultimately aims to lead the audience to realize that community music – by placing humanism at the center of art – can develop the expectation of a better self and the creation of smaller or larger communities of empathy, acceptance and respect, communities where there is space for all “voices” to be heard (Higgins, 2012), thus leading – long term- to better societies. 


Lida Stamou - Beginning with and aiming at humanity: Community music as science and practice

The presentation aims to introduce the audience to community music as this has been formed in the last decades as a scientific field of study and as a field of practice. The definition as well as a historical overview of community music will be attempted. We will discuss its basic principles, its connection with music education, and the new social reality and needs that community music faces. The transformational effects of community music at a personal and collective level, as well as the importance of togetherness, hospitality and creativity in the context of structures for socially vulnerable groups or in formal and informal educational contexts will be discussed. Ultimately, the presentation will aid at realizing that community music can – by placing humanism at the center of art – nourish the expectation of a better self and the formation of smaller or larger communities of empathy, acceptance and respect, where every “voice” is important, and has space and time to be heard. As a Greek poet said, “[…] in one’s life there is always something deeper than itself; the life of others.” (Tasos Leivaditis)


Maria Varvarigou - The role of community musicians: ways and dimensions of facilitating

Realizing their roles as a community musicians can provide facilitators with tools for nourishing participants’ musical skills at a cognitive, emotional and social level. Community musicians can facilitate in three different ways that can be also combined; the hierarchical, the cooperative and the autonomous. These ways of coordinating are linked with the six dimensions of coordination, which also represent aspects in the teacher-student relationship (Creech, Varvarigou and Hallam, 2020). The presentation will analyze these ways and dimensions of facilitation and will provide participants with practical examples of community programs which have produced positive effects for both facilitators and participants. 


Olympia Agalianou - Aiming at social cohesion

This presentation aims to present a way to work in community music. This way has evolved through many years of experience in open artistic programs in Greece and internationally, while working with several groups facing difficulties or social exclusion. This is about a flexible and open proposal for organizing a meeting/program, based on systemic and intercultural approaches inspired by the Orff approach, and employing improvisation and composition as basic tools. The approach presented here aims at creating and nourishing the way group members relate to each other in this journey of pursuing social cohesion. 


Rafaela Troulou & Lida Stamou - Starting from the family as the basic community unit: The experience of music facilitation with an older person in the family suffering from dementia

Community music and community musicians – through their actions – aim basically at the formation of strong ties among the members of the group they are working with. We argue that family is the first and basic community unit to which we belong. This presentation reflects the experience of music facilitation with an old family member in the presenter’s family suffering from dementia. Through narrating her thoughts, concerns and feelings, the presenter/music facilitator presents a multi-layered web of relations, behaviors and interactions coming up as a result not only of music but also of being members of the same family. The presentation ultimately aims at discussing the possibility of music interaction and facilitation in the context of family for (re)forming profound bonds among its members. 


Stavros Xakis, Manos Kourtis, & Lida Stamou - Community music research studies and programs by the Program of Graduate Studies “Music & Society”

The presentation will focus on actions which have been organized and implemented in the context of the major “Music Education and Community Music” which operates as part of the Program of Graduate Studies “Music and Society” in the Department of Music Science and Art at the University of Macedonia (director L. Stamou). We will present the Group of Volunteers formed in the context of the graduate studies program, its goals and actions. We will present a community music program implemented in the geriatric department of a public health institution, as well as a community program for collecting and donating musical instruments to children and young people who live in shelters. Other community programs which are to be implemented in refugee centers will also be presented. The publication of the first scientific journal in Greece for community music titled “Music and wellbeing” as well as the organizing of the first Panhellenic Conference of Community Music in Greece in September 2022 in collaboration with the International Center for Community Music (UK) and the Greek Society for Music Education, will be announced. 

  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες στο σχολείο, στο ωδείο και στην κοινότητα
  • Σύνδεση της μουσικής εκπαίδευσης με την καθημερινή ζωή
  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες, δια βίου μουσική μάθηση και ευζωία
  • Η μουσική διδασκαλία-μάθηση σε τυπικά, μη τυπικά και άτυπα περιβάλλοντα
Keywords community music, community music, facilitator, socially vulnerable groups, education
Language Ελληνική
Author(s) CV

Lida Stamou is professor of music education in the Dept. of Music Science and Art at the University of Macedonia (UoM), Thessaloniki, Greece. She is director of the graduate study program “Music & Society” and the Baby Artist early childhood music program at UoM. She has founded and coordinates the Group of Volunteers “Together with Music: Music and Musicians for a Better Society”. She obtained her Ph.D. in music education from Michigan State University and has a taught as an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is certified in Suzuki violin teaching, in the Orff method, and in Music Learning Theory. For a number of years, she has been president and member of the Board of Directors of the Greek Society for Music Education (G.S.M.E). She has been a Fulbright scholar. 

Μaria Varvarigou is a Lecturer in Music Education at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. She has been researching the impact of music making on health and wellbeing across the lifecourse, effective music teaching and learning in higher and professional education and in primary school education, and intergenerational music making for many years. She is the co-author of the books: Active Ageing with Music: supporting wellbeing in the Third and Fourth Ages (2014) published by the IoE University Press; and Contexts for Music learning and participation: developing and sustaining musical possible selves through informal, non-formal and formal practices (2020) published by Palgrave.

Olympia Agalianou.  Degree in sport science and physical education (N.K.U.A). PhD in pedagogy (N.K.U.A.). Studies in Orff-Schulwerk (Moraitis School), degree in music harmony. Studies in dance therapy (GADT) and systemic epistemology (A.I.A.). Co-author in collective editions in Greece and abroad and in Greek school textbooks. Publications in academic journals and conference proceedings. Educator in adults’ education programs. PE teacher in primary education (1998-2017), educator in Orff-Schulwerk studies (Moraitis School 2006-2016), external collaborator in European University Cyprus (2014-2016). Today, serves as Special Teaching Staff in the Department of Early Childhood Education, N.K.U.A. and teaches in master degree programs in University of Macedonia, Democritus University of Thrace, Ionian University and N.K.U.A.

Rafaela Troulou is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Music Science and Art of the University of Macedonia.  Her doctoral thesis dea;s with the impact of community music-making on the musical, emotional, and cognitive development of older people with and without dementia. She is also an early childhood music educator, working – since 2014 – in the Baby Artist Program, a music program for infants and toddlers. Since 2016, she has also been working as a music theorist at the Municipal Conservatory of Nea Propontida. Her research interests cover the scientific fields of community music, music education, and early childhood. 

Stavros Xakis lives in Thessaloniki and works as a music educator and music producer for videogames. He has graduated from the Dept. of Music Science and Art at the University of Macedonia and he is now a student at the Master's Program «Music and Society" at the same university, specializing in "Music Education and Community Music". His Master's thesis includes a research study on the potential of developing programs of collecting and donating musical instruments for children who belong in socially vulnerable groups in Greece.

Manos Kourtis is a musician, an electric guitar teacher and a composer. He studied classic harmony and electric guitar in Kostas Matsigos Music School, and also jazz harmony and jazz guitar at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He has collaborated with rock, pop, metal and blues artists and also with Greek folk musicians. He has worked in music schools, teaching guitar, jazz harmony, and jazz workshops and seminars. He also works and plays in concert halls all over Greece and participates in recordings. In 2020 he begins Master level studies at University of Macedonia majoring in "Music Education and Community Music", in the context of the Program for Graduate Studies "Music and Society”, while also running a community music program in Agios Panteleiomonas Day Centre for Chronic Disease in Thessaloniki. Today, he works as a teacher and he has 11 recordings with his own compositions.