Group vs. Individual

The NoFo Master’s programme is in many ways different from other master’s programmes. It is very much based on the group rather than the individual. This has influenced not only curriculum and the course of studies, but also my way of thinking of it. I have had a tendency not to think about myself, my needs and whants, but rather, what does the group need or whant, and even more, what is possible within this group.

This impact can also be seen in my writing. After having written for a while I realised I had a tendency to write we and us instead of me and I, even if my outspoken aim with this text is to try to capture my development and my ideas. And even more, I actually found it difficult to write me sometimes, especially when it came to describing input from teachers and teaching. Probably this has to do that I often didn’t really feel that the teaching was directed towards me as an individual, but rather towards me as part of a group and even more to the group as a whole.


Together with my classmates at the NoFo proramme, I formed the band Tranotra which has been my main forum for ensemble playing and group work throughout these two years.

The group concists of
Benjamin Bøgelund Bech (DK): clarinet and bass clarinet
Olaug Furusæter (NO): fiddle
Markus Räsänen (SWE/FI): free-bass accordeon
Sven Midgren (SWE): fiddle & viola

Some of the things we have done together can be read about here. There is also some musical examples here and here.

It has been very interesting to work so closely together with one group for such a long time. We have had the possibility to do a lot of experimenting and trying out different musical ideas. Almost all the work with arranging has been done together, and we have been able to let the process take a long time, allowing the ideas to grow slowly. I think all this time together in the rehearsal room, is actually our main quality and the main explanation to why we sound as we do, and how we have been able to create music on the level where we have done it. In our case, I would probably say that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. But in the end it has also been quite limiting, to only work with one group for such a long time. Working with the same people (and people you didn’t chose yourself) all the time means compromising with the same people all the time, and there is a limit as to how many different ideas you get the possibility to work with.

During NoFo I feel that I’ve got so much inspiration, and ideas going off in all different directions, but within Tranotra there is only a small section of all these ideas and all this inspiration that has had a forum to develop in. All the other ideas has had to be put on hold and kept for the future. Of course in a way, you always have to chose and prioritize between what ideas to work with and develop, but previously I’ve had several different groups and forums to develop different kinds of ideas in, so this situation was quite different.

In the end I think it has been worth it, and I have learned a lot from it. I think we have managed to create some really good and interesting music which I am actually quite proud of.