‘Take it In, Not to Heart’: Making Expectations of Collaborative Learning Explicit
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s BA (Hons) Scottish Music, founded in 1996, was the first higher education degree programme dedicated to traditional music in the UK. Starting from first principles, the programme designers were able to incorporate an ethos of participatory and collaborative learning in programme delivery. The ethos of the programme – given popular expression by the Scottish folksong revival that began in the 1950s – is that traditional music is only fully realized when re-created and re-interpreted with continual reference to, and reverence for, the past. The contemporary embodies and propels the historical; what is ancient is continually made fresh. Today, the forces of contemporary and cross-disciplinary fusion that underpin a great deal of folk ensemble work both contextualize and reinforce the equally strong soloist tradition in piping, Scots song, Gaelic song, fiddle, clarsach and other longstanding traditional disciplines. The role of collaboration in this musical renewal is vital, and this is nurtured in the Scottish Music programme in a series of modules entitled ‘Professional Practice’.