3 QUESTIONS CHECKIN - Q&A with pupils from Norway

From left: Line, Lukas and Andrian




23.05.2024 kl.14:24

In a series of short interviews we explore the thoughts various interested parties have on art experiences for young audiences. Here we speak with Adrian, Line and Lukas from the 10th grade at Teigar Secondary School in Norway.
Q1: What is your best memory from a concert or performing arts experience? 

Adrian: I loved the concert we attended recently. With a woman who sung and rapped in Sámi. Maxida Marak. She was really good at showing that you can perform in different languages and genres, and the different themes in her music were about how the Sámi people were losing their land, etcI thought that was really good. I really liked that she incorporated historical context into what she was singing about.

Line I really enjoyed the piece Story, Story, Die, where they were dancing. That particular piece was about a theme thats especially important for today's youths, such as mental health. It was beautifully made and executed and it was easy to make personal interpretations from the piece. You could relate it to anything you felt was appropriate. There was just something about this piece that stayed with me even after the show, and I later thought that this piece was related to something even bigger than I initially thought. I felt like this piece encouraged me to reflect critically and form personal opinions.

Lukas: What I remember most vividly was the circus performance Circus Cirkør. It was fun to watch. You wanted to watch and then you didnt want to watch simultaneously- it felt really immersive. In addition, it was a good combination of music and choreography etc. Overall that was just a really good experience.


Q2: What is art for you? 

Line: For me, art is very free flowing and its a separate world you can really immerse yourself into and interpret things based on your personal experiences in life. Art is a clever tool to get immersed into something without necessarily having to put it into words- immersion can happen through visual and auditory elements. Because art is so free and open to interpretation you can always relate it to something personal- so no one will feel left out.

Adrian: In my opinion, art is a way of expressing yourself. You can explore your emotions and feelings from a different perspective- differently from how you would read a book, for example. You automatically get a different interpretation and reaction to art.

Lukas: I dont have a particularly close relationship to art, but art doesnt just have to be paintings or texts. Anything can be art, like football- if the player does a nice catch, or something. That can be art. Dancing can be art. Most things we do can be art, so its very much up to individual interpretation. Like I said, I dont have a very close relationship to art, but a lot of things can be beautiful, and I think football is art. Sports in general. Anything that is beautiful can be art- but then again, it doesnt even have to be beautiful to be art.


Q3: What do you think teachers can do to ensure that pupils have meaningful art experiences?  

Adrian: I think that teachers can be more vocal about what we are going to see and why we are seeing it. I dont mean necessarily what the piece or play is about, but just give us a heads up as to what we should consider before seeing it. That would also eliminate a lot of awkwardness and misunderstanding. Ive noticed students can laugh at certain shows we see- which is understandable if something is funny- but I think a lot of the time that comes from not being informed about the show or piece beforehand. This information shouldnt be a lecture or a lesson- more so just a discussion about what were about to see and experience.

Lukas: I agree, it shouldnt become a lecture or a task, because then that can really take away from the enjoyment of what were seeing. If you go to a festival and get asked to give a summary or an essay about your experience there, you wont enjoy it as much because youll always have to take mental notes. It takes the focus away from the festival or the experience as a whole. I agree with what Adrian said about the teachers informing us about the contents of the pieces and performances beforehand. Like with Maxida Marak’s performance, I dont know who that is so it becomes hard to relate. 

If were going to watch music, it feels strange to be sitting down. I would rather be standing up for a better experience. But that depends on what type of music- classical music would be more appropriate to sit down for, but not Hip-Hop type of music.

Adrian: There should be a bigger focus on being respectful. We experienced several times that the crowd started clapping or making other distracting sounds during the performances. Additionally, if the teachers do want to make these shows into a lecture or a lesson, they should teach us methods to extract information from the shows we see. As students, we live completely separate lives when were not at school- so we can gather from these shows aspects that are helpful for us in other areas that are not linked to school work or school life. Its also about growing as a human being, so I think it would be helpful to learn some techniques to gather information about these shows without having to do it as a school-assignment. This would help us better reflect and critically think about what were seeing.

Line: Another thing that can be done is giving the students more time to get to and from the performance physically. When we are told that were seeing a show, my first thought it how am I gonna get there and back in time. As soon as the show is done we have to hurry back- there is no time to process or think about what weve just seen and experienced.  

Lukas: Most of the impressions and thoughts happen after the show. It happens in our heads as we go home or back to school. Thats when the thinking actually happens. So yes, there should be more time for critical reflection immediately after the performances. Maybe even shift the timetables so we dont sit through a period of norsk/Norwegiandirectly after a performance- allocate time to discuss and reflect upon what weve seen.  

Adrian: We can talk about the subject matters etc. without it being an assignment or a task. We could have discussions as a class. That would be more interesting for students because they want to come back to their class with information to share- instead of coming back to a time of norsk/Norwegianand thinking that what we just saw wasnt important or worthy of proper reflection. While we are on our way back from a performance, we struggle with the buses. Sometimes the buses dont run or they are full, youll be late to class and penalised for this. 

Lukas: We have a lot of focus on school subjects in every other facet of our school lives. Everything doesnt have to be academic.