Stockholms universitet

Ketil André Thor ThorgersenUniversitetslektor, Docent

Om mig

Jag är doktor och lektor i musikpedagogik vid Institutionen för ämnesdidaktik på Stockholms universitet, där jag forskar och undervisar. Min bakgrund är som lärare i grundskolan i Norge inom flera olika ämnen, men framförallt musik. Med erfarenheter från att spela allt från dansband via klassisk musik till jazz (som är min primära genre i dag) - i kombination med att jag har en ljudteknikerutbildning så har jag ett brett intresse inom såväl utbildningsfrågor som forskning.

Jag delar min tjänst mellan Stockholms universitet (SU) och Stockholms musikpedagogiska institut i Flemingsberg (SMI).


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Possibilism and Expectations in Arts Education

    2016. Ketil Thorgersen. European Journal of Philosophy in Arts Education 1 (1), 96-108


    This article is an attempt to explore some thoughts regarding how different kinds and levels of expectation might (re)construct being in music education. The philosophical lenses through which this is analysed consist of a combination of a Deweyan pragmatism, the possibilistic parts of the philosophy of the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss who draws on Spinoza and finally parts of the philosophy of Deleuze & Guettari. A claim made in the article is that it is important in arts educationto challenge the expected and for the world to be created in an eternally wide, and at the same time claustrophobically narrow set of pathways to experience. To learn a communicative art could in other words imply to learn how to consciously adapt to conventions and expectations of musical parameters and at the same time break with them in ways which are functional in aesthetic communication. An important task in arts education must therefore be to train and develop the skill to imagine as rich a web of possible outcomes to any musical situation at the same time as being aware of the conventions that are at stake and their expected uses in order to understand as well as to play with them. That way music education can help pupils become interesting musicians, composers and listeners who are also critical, creative and happy. As an added benefit, these kinds of possibilistic skills, attitudes and modes might actually be beneficial for both learner and society in most parts of life.

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  • The becomings of satanist musicianship

    2015. Ketil Thorgersen, Thomas von Wachenfeldt.


    The last twenty years the focus of music educational research has widened to involve more than institutional settings for learning music. In Europe, researchers such as Lucy Green, Even Ruud, Anna-Karin Gullberg and Göran Folkestad lead the way for a wave of research of “informal learning processes” in/of music. Musical learning has later been studied in as varied environments as Hip-Hop communities, Punk, online learning of Country and western and Opera and so forth. Studies have even been performed where learning processes inspired by these less institutionalised settings have informed traditional classroom pedagogies. The main body of this research has though been on music genres and practices that always had or lately have acquired a fairly high level of cultural capital in Western society and are accepted as fairly politically correct expressions. This study will instead focus on one of the more extreme styles – both sonically and in ideological terms – of music around today: Black metal.

    Some research has been made on Black metal mainly from a sociological perspective or/and religious perspective, but also with some musicological/philosophical streaks (Bogue 2004). Bossius (2003) and Kahn-Harris (2007) are two pioneering researchers with their studies on the extreme metal scene, with its equally extreme expressions relating to violence, Satanism and fascism. Granholm (2011) and Forsberg (2010) investigate the Black metal scene from a religious perspective and uses Partridge’s (2005) concept of Re-enchantment and Occulture. The concept of re-enchantment can briefly be understood as a description of the post-modern era as characterized by a spiritual rebirth that focuses on personal development and well-being rather than institutional worship. Partridge also argues that the perception of today's Western society is secular, to a great extent is incorrect – thus religious practice only have shifted expression. The other term, Occulture, can be considered as a mixture of Occult and Culture, where culture primarily should be interpreted and understood in terms of popular culture.

    This study departs from a wonder of how young people choose to play a genre that is considered bad on all levels by the majority of the society; Black metal, as well as how the young people who have chosen to play Black metal describe the learning processes musically as well as socially and intellectually that leads up to becoming a Black metal musician.

    The aim of is hence to analyse the musical learning stories of five young black metal musicians from a music educational perspective inspired by the sociological theories of Pierre Bourdieu and the educational theories of John Dewey.

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  • Outcomes Based - Aesthetics?

    2014. Ketil Thorgersen. English Teaching 13 (2), 19-34


    Outcomes-based curricula have become the global norm in the last decennia. School authorities have more or less left behind their old habits of either forcing upon teachers a set of content to teach and methods to use, or leaving teachers alone because they trust their professional knowledge to choose what is best for their learners. The current gospel is different – to preach to teachers what the learner is supposed to have learned after a certain amount of schooling. The teacher is responsible for leading the student to this predefined set of knowledge or skills, whilst students and their parents have become the customers, and the teacher the waiter who facilitates the desired learning prepared by the chef – Mr Jurisdiction.

    In their last book, What is Philosophy, Deleuze and Guattari discuss how science, philosophy and art have different tasks in the construction of knowledge. Whilst the three are considered complimentary to the human quest to develop knowledge, what is most important is that knowledge is not something that is, but something that becomes – just as human beings are in a condition of constant becoming. The way knowledge or insight becomes is different for science, philosophy and art. Science’ role is to;demarcate, pull apart, test and reconstruct current knowledge and phenomena in order to develop new knowledge. Philosophy’s role, on the other hand, is to question truths and invent and present new terms in order to create new possibilities for the human imagination to understand their being in the world, whilst art’s role is to construct the world anew. The arts present a new holistic version of (or at least parts of) the world so as to help us understand our being in unforeseen ways through their appeal to the complete set of human faculties for perception, processing and possibly bypassing narrow expectations.

    So what does this ontological backdrop have to do with outcomes-based curricula? Educational science has not considered knowledge to comprise a set of objects for a very long time. Rather, in all theories of teaching and learning, knowledge is considered to be a series of socially or psychologically developed constructs. The idea that the knowledge outcomes of an education should be predefined so as to ensure maximum quality can consequently be considered to be the antithesis of an education based on educational science. This article questions outcomes-based learning as a viable system for formal education through the study of the syllabi for English as a second language and that earning the mother tongue in the three Nordic countries, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, which have all introduced new syllabi in the last ten years following the introduction of outcomes-based logic. These syllabi will be analysed from the theoretical framework of aesthetic communication developed by Ketil Thorgersen and Cecilia Ferm Thorgersen. Aesthetic communication is an attempt to transcend the division between sender and receiver that theories of multimodality and multiliteracy suffer from, and also to take into account the existential aspects of the arts.

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  • The Internet as Teacher

    2014. Ketil Thorgersen, Olle Zandén. Journal of Music, Technology and Education 7 (2), 233-244


    Social media has led to new opportunities for learning music. In less formalizedsettings, a whole new arena for learning music has developed. The aim of this arti-cle is to investigate student teachers’ experiences of learning to play an instrumentwith the Internet as a teacher. The investigation was done as an action researchstudy where twelve beginning teacher-training students were given the task to usethe Internet to learn how to play an instrument. The students were organized in peergroups to help each other. Documentation of the progress happened through logbooks.The project lasted for half a year in 2011 and had a triple intention: to provide thestudents with experience about learning how to play by help of the Internet, for thestudents to learn to play a second instrument, and to investigate if and how learningpractices for learning an instrument aided by the Internet could be useful in musicteacher training.

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  • Implications of expectations in music education

    2013. Ketil Thorgersen.


    Expectations play a vital role in any part of life, not at least in educational practices. This paper discusses expectation in formal music education from a post-pragmatist, deleuzian perspective where expectation is considered neither solely social nor personal, but rather discursive. Music is considered a kind of aesthetic communication in the paper and different aspects of expectation are discussed in relation to music education. The term “possibilism”, borrowed from the Norwegian philosopher Næss plays an important role in understanding how music education should be concerned with training imagination and facilitate for a wider and richer set of expectations in order to help learners become interesting, aware, critical and happy affiliates of music.

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  • Freedom to create in the cloud or in the open?

    2012. Ketil Thorgersen. Journal of Music, Technology and Education 5 (2), 133-144


    A challenge for teaching and learning in compulsory school music education, is how to make pupils learn music even between school lessons: To let processes of musical creativity and learning exist in a continuum in the pupils' lives rather than just disparate moments in the few music lessons offered. The advance of digital technology combined with the availability of computers for the majority of pupils could present some solutions to this problem, but each solution have their own flip sides too. In this article two possible solutions are presented from a pragmatist perspective: One solution consists of a memory stick with a complete open source operating system complete with software for musical and media learning, production and composition, while the other solution is concerned with Web 2.0 solutions with software running via the web browser. The two solutions have pros and cons regarding didactical impolication, ethical and philosophical implications and legal implications that are important for any music teacher to take into account.

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  • The double feature of musical folkbildning

    2012. Sture Brandström, Johan Söderman, Ketil Thorgersen. British Journal of Music Education 29 (1), 65-74


    The purpose of this article is to analyse three case study examples of musical folkbildning in Sweden. The first case study is from the establishment of the state-funded Framnas Folk High Music School in the middle of the last century The second case study, Hagstrom's music education, is from the same time but describes a music school run by a private company The third case study concerns a contemporary expression of folkbildning, namely hip-hop. The theoretical framework that inspired this article stems from the work of Pierre Bourdieu. The double feature of folkbildning appears in terms of elitist and democratic tendencies, high and low taste agendas, control and freedom.

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  • Democracy, open source and music education?

    2010. Ketil Thorgersen.


    Democracy, open source and music education?

    A Deweyan investigation of music education in digital domains.


    Music has not been solely temporal for more than a century, and musical performance has not been created exclusively in real time by humans since the piano roll entered the stage in the late 19th century.  The mechanical, and later the digital, music industry has changed music as a social phenomena, increasing the availability of music to listen to, tools to create music with as well as distributional and communicational aspects of music. Music consummation happens either through live music as it always has, or through a recordings which today is mostly digital.

    Digital tools for creation, evaluation, distribution and consummation imply particular challenges regarding ownership and intellectual property which influence and have consequences for music education both as practice and philosophically. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how licensing of music software and music can be understood in relation to democracy in music education. A deweyan pragmatism will be used as a lens through which to discuss this purpose. In this paper, the focus is on software licensing, only slightly touching upon the similar discussions regarding music licensing and availability of research.

    In Dewey's writings, democracy is more than a political system. Democracy is a desirable way of social interaction in “conjoint communicated experience”[1]. Experience is seen as shared, and education is seen in the light of a pragmatist meaning of truth, where meaning is created and recreated through social interaction. For education to be good in a Deweyan democratic sense, it would have to facilitate free speech, respect, free access to knowledge and multiple ways of accessing and producing knowledge.

    Digital tools have, despite the overall increased accessibility to knowledge, forums for expressions and expressional tools, brought new challenges into the music educational domain. How to deal with music available in the digital domain, and as such being eternally reproducible without any degradation of sonic quality is one such challenge. On the one hand, music from everywhere and anytime can be reached by a mouse click, but on the other hand, music is usually distributed as intellectual property and as such it is illegal to redistribute the music even in an educational setting. Another related challenge concerns the software used in music classrooms.

    Software on the two major operative systems, Microsoft Windows and Apple OsX is usually close sourced and having end user agreements which prohibit any modification of the software. If these softwares are compared to other musical instruments, the software are not owned solely by the musician, since the software, unlike other instruments, cannot be modified, repaired or improved. Lately there has been a reaction against the lack of democracy in the software industry through the open source movement. Open source music software are not backed by any large company, but instead developed by groups of developers releasing the code for anyone to improve and change. However, the software might not have the same level of stability and general usability for beginners. The possible educational implications of choosing a proprietary solution versus open source alternatives will be discussed.

    [1]    Dewey, John (1999[1916]). Democracy and education: an introduction to the philosophy of education. [New ed.] New York: Free Press p. 130.

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  • Estetiska lärprocesser som estetisk kommunikation

    2015. Ketil Thorgersen.


    Estetiska lärprocesser är ett begrepp som har fått fäste i svenska pedagogiska diskurser utan att det har fått någon klart definierad betydelse varken i dagligt användande eller i forskningen. I detta konferenspaper utreder jag hur begreppet estetisk kommunikation kan introduceras som ett didaktiskt klargörande i arbetet med estetiska lärprocesser. Detta utredande sker i linje med John Deweys' förståelse av lärande som ”delande av erfarenheter så att de blir gemensamma erfarenheter”. Utgångspunkten för didaktisk teori om estetisk kommunikation utarbetades initialt i min lic (2007). Sedan dess har begreppet utvecklats och bearbetats i såväl egna publikationer som sampublikationer. Estetisk kommunikation tar sin utgångspunkt i en förståelse av att människan ständigt rekonstruerar sin värld genom interaktion med andra människor, vilket sker genom en mängd olika modaliteter som kompletterar, och samverkar med varandra. En didaktisk konsekvens av detta är att uppmärksamhet bör riktas mot utveckling av förståelse, medvetenhet och kunskap om de olika modaliteternas egenskaper, styrkor och svagheter, samt vilka roller som finns till hands i den estetiska kommunikationen. Det estetiska i estetisk kommunikation förstås i relation till tilllblivandet av de meningsskapande mellanrum vars blivande inte enbart kan förklaras genom logiskt rationellt verbalspråk. I enlighet med såväl Dewey som Deleuze och Guattari är en del av konstens uppgift att (re)konstruera oväntade och nya förståelser av världen i dessa meningsskapande mellanrum. Estetisk kommunikation som didaktisk teori behandlar följande aspekter:

    • Medvetande om dig själv som subjekt – dina (potentiella) roller och estetiska kompetenser
    • Medvetande och uppmärksamhet mot andras roller och estetiska uttryck
    • Medvetande om sammanhanget där kommunikationen sker
    • Medvetande om intenderade och uppfattade funktioner av estetisk mediering och dess potentiella variationer

    Dessa är sammanvävda och måste förstås i relation till andra krafter i kommunikationen så som:

    • Förväntningarna till alla involverade i kommunikationen
    • Drivkrafter som driver och motverkar kommunikationen
    • Varje involverad individ och grupps partikulära erfarenheter
    • Diskursiva maktstrukturer, historier och doxa

    Presentationen bjuder in till en diskussion kring hur lärande kan förstås som demokratisk holistisk praxis i ett samhälle där skolan inte längre har kunskapsmonopol.

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