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Professional choirs develop team learning

Published on 17.10.2022
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Markus Yli-Jokipii johtaa EPCC:tä ja Tampere Cappellaa yhteisharjoituksissa.The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tampere Cappella in a workshop in the beautiful Satamakatu Hall.
What is the outcome when we bring together about thirty singers from both sides of the Gulf of Finland to consider their work – namely choral singing? At least beautiful music and good ideas.

TAMK’s Choral Academy is a development project in professional choral singing. It studies Estonian and Finnish professional singers’ work communities from the team learning perspective. The project also improves prerequisites for professional choral singing on the way towards the international top under the guidance of top-level professionals. The artistic partners are the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) and chamber choir Tampere Cappella. 

The key aim of the Choral Academy programme is to establish how the choral community best develops to the top level as a team. 

“TAMK is well-known for its top expertise in team pedagogy,” tells TAMK’s Senior Lecturer Timo Nevalainen, who works as an expert of the field in the project. 

The COVID-related meeting restrictions postponed the project’s workshops and activities by a year. In addition to planning, we made a visit to Tallinn last semester. Eventually on 24 September 2022, EPCC singers, choir master and partnership manager spent an intensive workshop day in Tampere. Timo Nevalainen worked with the choirs and the choirs were conducted by Senior Lecturer and Tampere Cappella’s Artistic Director Markus Yli-Jokipii as well as by EPCC’s Choir Master Lodewijk van der Ree

Important lessons from the workshop day 

In addition to practising the concert repertoire, the artistic work process, feedback provision and reception in a close work community, building of trust, conflicts and commitment were discussed during the day at TAMK Music’s Satamakatu Hall. The participants also shared their ideas on the productive and administrative viewpoint and planned future project measures. 

“There are interfaces and same challenges on both sides of the gulf but both project partners also received ideas and development tips,” says Markus Yli-Jokipii. 

EPCC’s Lodewijk van der Ree praises for the work with Tampere Cappella: 

"It was a joy to work with Tampere Cappella! They are an excellent chamber choir, motivated to make music together, and with a wonderful sound. The workshops we did with them were valuable lessons for us from EPCC as well, not in the least because of the important perspectives on teamwork and leadership offered by Timo Nevalainen. It was an inspiring weekend in Tampere!" 

The coaches selected among the singers of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir will work with Tampere Cappella’s singers in workshops during the season 2022-2023. The project will culminate in an event organised in May 2023, which includes a team learning and artistic development seminar and a joint concert of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tampere Cappella in Tampere. 

The Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Pirkanmaa Regional Fund granted the Choral Academy spearhead project funding in spring 2021. The project is administered by TAMK. 

Text: Susanna Ihanus and Emmi Rämö
Photo: Johanna Ahonen