focus on the micro levels of sound and composition. While this approach is not necessarily wrong, it is insufficient for musical forms other than popular music because it hinders musical expression and creative activity. We were able to see this quite clearly during the jurying of submissions to a national composition contest that was established in 1990 for young people. As sequencers have become common tools, the musical submissions have become more similar, almost stereotypical. In short, a need for another kind of software was clearly apparent.
A problem in fulfilling the task of teaching composition in the classroom is the lack of an arena for presenting the finished works; there is a need for the students to show their work. Children’s activities and products are often placed on the sidelines and not considered important because they do not meet professional standards. NoTAM therefore chose to develop a model where the children’s compositions would become part of the Norwegian festival scene. Their works have been integrated into local or national festivals as natural components in the program. Of course it is not possible to include all music that is made by pupils in schools, but these kinds of concerts show educators and pupils alike that their work is valued in the professional music community and thus serve as an important motivating element.
The composition workshop Breaking the Sound Barrier was originally conceived as a composition contest with submissions from school classes, which occasionally engaged in projects with visiting composers. Although Breaking the Sound Barrier was in place prior to this project, it was developed and radically changed through NoTAM’s engagement. While student works were performed at specially promoted concerts, the composition project had deteriorated and suffered from a lack of focus for many years and there was no clear idea of how the project was to be developed in order to meet the new challenges of computer software. A revitalization of this potentially exciting project was crucial in order to maintain its aesthetic relevance as a creative program for children.
Nationwide attention was granted the project through collaboration with the public broadcasting system NRK, which provided TV and radio coverage of the events.
Software development for the project was funded as part of NoTAM’s normal operating budget, with additional funding provided by the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs and the National Center for Educational Resources.
NoTAM developed the concerts, which constitute an integral part of the project, in collaboration with the Ultima festival, The Concert Institute of Norway and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). The Concert Institute of Norway and the National Center for Educational Resources will continue to support the project as collaborative partners.