Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies

Project title: Conviction and compromise: : Assessing music performance in an educational context

Project period: 2013 – 2018

Main supervisor: Dr. Jill Halstead

Co-supervisor: Prof. Kari Smith


The project:

Whatever the context, issues of assessment never cease to be relevant for a music educator. In a discipline such as music performance, with its various interpretative perspectives, a set of criteria may be relevant for one performance, but a poor fit for the next. A criteria-based assessment will never be unassailable precisely because the potential for nuances of quality is endless. Nevertheless, students need both practice in performing and qualified feedback that can be used for their further development. Within music programmes at upper secondary level, the range of instruments, genres and repertoire is broad. The aim of this study is to develop knowledge of how teachers perceive and meet the challenges of performance assessment, with specific focus on the intersubjective teacher team.


My project is a qualitative case study at a Norwegian upper secondary school, with observation of assessment meetings and interviews of the teachers in focus groups. There is a time frame of five years for the project, which started in Spring 2013. A pilot study with interviews of teachers at two other schools was carried out Spring 2014, and collections of ethnographic material at the case study school 2014-15.



Elizabeth Oltedal

has a professional background in music teaching and instruction at various educational levels and in recreational music contexts. She holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from the Norwegian Academy of Music. She was appointed associate professor at Volda University College in 2008, and is a part-time PhD student at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen, 2013-18.