Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies

Project title: A study of improvisational practices in teaching and musical performance

Project period: Sept 15, 2013 - Sept 15, 2017

Main supervisor: Prof. Brynjulf Stige

Co-supervisor: Prof. Knut Steinar Engelsen


The project: The theme for this PhD-project is to study improvisational practices among musicians, teachers and teacher students. An important aim is to investigate what characterizes improvisation within performance, teaching and teacher education by using terms related to improvisation, such as interaction and vocabulary, and study how they occur and influence each other in improvisational processes. The theoretical framework of the study is sociocultural theory, and improvisation is considered as part of cultural and social contexts.

The PhD is article-based and build on an ethnographic research strategy, using participatory observation and stimulated recall interviews as key methods. Each article in the project will focus on one of the selected improvisational contexts mentioned above.

The PhD-project is connected to the research project IMTE ( Improvisation in teacher education: Curricula and practice in dynamic interplay), run by The University College of Stord/Haugesund.


Åsmund Espeland is educated music teacher and guitarist from the Grieg Academy in Bergen, where he also conducted his Master Degree in Ethnomusicology in 2003. Espeland has been working as Assistant Professor at The University College of Stord/Haugesund since 2006, and has professional experience as teacher in Culture School and Upper Secondary School.