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Education is the greatest investment of a country. It develops young people it establishes well-shaped personalities and responsible citizens. It is also a basic social element that has to be provided in all the levels of educational system. Someone doesn't become free or happy because is educated. Through education we realize that we are happy. It induce that there is only one freedom that matters, the one of the mind. Further down, I am going to focus and compare two different curriculums. On the one is music curriculum in Cyprus and on the other music education in Finland. There are two reasons why I have chosen to compare these two models. The first one is because Cyprus is my country and as a future teacher there, I would like one of the best music curriculum models. The second one is that Cyprus is going through an educational reform, based on the Finnish Music Curriculum. The students of Finnish schools may do not differ from other students in the world, but their performance stand out. It is widely accepted and based on international research, that the educational system of Finland is high efficiency, although the cost is lower than in European countries.
I will start with a small general review on music curriculum. In Cyprus nursery schools are optional for children between the age 2-5 and music lessons last 30 minutes, 3 times a week. The other two days they might have theatre or telling musical stories. The children are obligated to attend pre-primary school for one year from age 5-6 and the music lesson keep on also 30 minutes, 2 times a week. The primary school lasts from age 6-12 and the gymnasium 13-15 and both are also obligatory. In both primary school and gymnasium music lasts 45 minutes, 2 times a week. In private schools, the music system is the same. The music teachers in government nursery and pre primary schools are not specialists and they don't have any special qualifications. Sometimes private nurseries and pre-primary schools bring a specialist music teacher, paying extra. In primary schools usually the teachers are non-specialists, but in the universities where they study they have 1 hour music lesson once a week, which I believe is too little. On the other hand, in gymnasiums teachers are specialists and should be music graduates from a university recognized by KY.S.A.T.S. KY.S.A.T.S is the Cyprus Council for the recognition of qualifications.
Every country has its detailed programme which includes the aim, objectives, content, methodology and evaluation methods for every lesson. The most important goal of a detailed programme is the development of personality and creativity and the preparation for life. The aim of the detailed programme in Cyprus, according to the Ministry of Education and Culture (1996) is: "to assist students' progressive entry into the world of sound, develop their musical sensitivity through the understanding and use of sound patterns, which are an essential element to the development of their inner emotional and innate musical abilities. In this way they become able to enjoy and create music, as well as to contribute both to their own musical development and to that of society". There are several objectives and outcomes in the detailed music programme. The most important objective, on my opinion, is the children to become acquainted with, love and respect their national music tradition. Another one is that the pupils will develop their listening and musical ability and also will enjoy, appreciate, accept and listen to good quality music. An outcome from the lesson will be that pupils would be able to sing correctly and with pleasure By learning various forms of pieces they develop the ability to create music and by this way they can learn to express their inside world, which is also an objective. The understanding of theory and history of music is a significant outcome as well as to gain knowledge on music technology. In order to achieve all these, a teacher needs the curriculum of the music lesson. The content is divided into listening to music, singing, music and movement, use of instruments, creative works through music and reading and writing of music.
Children in Cyprus have also some extra curriculum music opportunities. They can participate in government orchestra for youth, where they learn an instrument for free. The instruments they teach are those that have fewer requests from children, like saxophone, trumpet, and cello. They can also have private instrument lessons in a house, where they pay around 25-30 euro per hour. There is an alternative choice of going to a music school where they pay around 70 euro per month, which most parents prefer because of the low cost. In music schools is essential to have lessons on theory, harmony, solfege and history of music where they cost is around 40 euro if in a group or 90 euro private. There are several recitals and concerts that take part in Cyprus, performed twice or three times a month in a theatre hall, where pupils can attend. Special facilities for Cypriot students are the different competitions either instrumental or singing competitions.
Going further, I will present the Finnish educational musical opportunities. In Finland there are only private pre-primary schools for children between the ages 3-6 which are optional. From ages 7-12 children are required to attend lower comprehensive and at the age 13-15 the upper comprehensive, also compulsory. Generally speaking, comprehensive schools are those for children with all ability levels. In Finland this term it is used with this meaning but also in the sense that every child has to complete the nine years from age 7-15. The music in Finnish private nursery schools lasts 45 minutes almost every day. In both lower and upper comprehensive music lasts 1 hour, once a week. Moving on to the music teachers and their qualifications in school, in pre-primary school they are not specialists but some basic knowledge is needed. In lower comprehensive usually the teacher of the class teaches the music without any music qualification, but they have some music hours in the university they studied. In the upper comprehensive they are specialists and have a degree in music.
In this paragraph I will concentrate on the objectives and outcomes of Finland's detailed music programme. The objectives are that the pupils will learn to express by singing, playing instruments and moving. They will learn to appreciate the heritage of other cultures and understand the diversity of the musical world. They will also learn to use different elements of music to compose. The elements that are expected from the students to learn are to sing in unison with others and know how to act as members of a group. In addition are expected to recognize the music they hear and be familiar with the history of music of several countries. The curriculum that Finnish schools consists from a vary repertoire of songs and singing exercises and instrumental repertoire. It is also consists from composing, using sound repetitions and improvisation and vocal and instrumental repertoires of Finland and other countries music.
There are of course extra curriculum opportunities in Finland where children who are keen in music they can attend. The music playschools are for parents who want their under 7 year's old child to learn music. Children under 3, attend the class with one parent. The duration of the class ranges from 30-90 minutes, depending on the age of the child and from the school policy. The classes structure does not includes instrumental studies but involves listening to music, playing instruments, singing, playing games and movement. The aim of the lesson is to support the children cognitive, emotional motor and social development. Attending to music playschools, it does not quarantee automatically entry in Music Schools. Music Schools provides music education for children from age 7-18 but they often have a kindergarden and the fees are around 300 euro per semester. The duration of the class is 30-60 minutes and most popular instruments that are being taught are piano, guitar, violin and flute. The students that are playing orchestra are required to play in school bands. The basic curriculum consists of instructions of an instrument, theory, history and solfege. In order to attend these schools children are chosen through examinations and auditions. The teachers should have Master of music and Pedagogical studies. The playschools are divided into two parts. The general curriculum where children attend without auditions and the extended curriculum which is only for talented students and auditions are being used. The extended curriculum is also divided into two levels. The basic level where studens finishes around 15 years old and the institute level finishes at the age of 18. Another significant after school music opportunity is the Sibelius academy. It is the only music university in Finland and one of the biggest in Europe. The teaching takes place mainly at weekends and the tuition fees are 340 euro per year. They teach lessons such as composition, jazz and folk music, chamber music, orchestral playing and music theory. In Finland there are some special facilities for talented students, like youth orchestras, competitions, festivals, funds and scholarships.
Coming to an end I will revise and make some comments from the comparison between the Cypriot and Finnish music curriculum. In general education, Cypriot children are required to attend a pre-primary as a year of adjusting, before primary school in contrast with Finland where the pre-primary school is optional. In music in schools Finland gives more importance in music from the early age, by having music lessons almost every day, oppose to Cyprus where music lessons are 3 times a week. About the music teachers in schools in both countries the system is exactly the same but the level of the teacher qualifications in Finland is higher. The objectives of detailed music programme are similar, but Finland is more varied and the outcomes of both countries are vital. As long as the curriculum matters, Cyprus curriculum is too poor and simple.
There are some recommendations to make for both countries, but mostly for Cyprus. It would be very useful if in Cyprus could provided music playschools for age 2-5 and music schools for age 7-15. Music specialist teachers should be teaching not only in gymnasium but also in pre-primary schools. Unfortunately there are not many musical opportunities for children that love music and it would be nice if it could be provided. It's very important if scholarhips for talented children could be given to support some children who are poor and can not develop their talent because of the costs. Last, the government could cover some costs because the fees for private lessons are too much. If this is not possible a government music school could be created where the fees will not be so high. For Finland the recommendations are less because they already have much more musical opportunities than Cyprus and the curriculum is more organised. Still, the music in upper and lower comprehensive schools is not enough and the music teachers should also be specialists.