Notodden Blues University

Would you like to study blues music at a university – full time? As the only university in Europe, USN is proud to offer 60 ECTS credits blues education at Notodden campus. From its start in 2018 dozens of young and aspiring blues enthusiasts from Norway have graduated with a blues degree. The University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) welcomes applicants from all over the world. As a blues student you will get the opportunity to perform at the internationally renowned Notodden Blues Festival.

Why blues?
The study is suitable for singers, band members or solo musicians. During the entire programme you will be mentored by teachers from the Little Steven’s Blues School – competent teachers with extensive experience from stage and studio work, as well as master classes and mentoring by both national and international artists. The blues programme at USN offers a unique opportunity to explore the musical and cultural universe of the blues, together with other students.

Why Notodden?
Notodden is renowned as one of Europe’s premier blues destinations. In partnership with the Notodden Blues Festival, students will have the opportunity to preform and participate at the festival, as well as in jam sessions and concerts throughout the year.

What will you learn in the blues programme?
Over a period of either one or two semesters (autumn and/or spring) you can choose between four different 15 ECTS subjects: Performing the Blues, Studio work, Blues & Society and Bluegrass.

Performing the Blues (15 ECTS)
In-depth studies of the styles and traditions of blues music – from Delta blues via Swing, Jump, Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Roll, Soul to contemporary Blues. Performing and collective music-making are key components of the Performing the Blues programme.

You will also develop meaningful reflections regarding the significance this unique African American music has had on the evolution of popular music. The music will also be placed in a societal context in which the students, through historical analysis and reflection, establish a broad basis for understanding African American culture in terms of both the past and the present.

Studio Work (15 ECTS): Record your own music at Juke Joint Studio
Another key element is creating music and recording it at a professional studio. USN is proud to have the opportunity to use the renowned Juke Joint Studio during both semesters. Using analogue music technology – such as vintage microphones, rare backlines, tape recorders and old plate reverb – in conjunction with state-of-the-art digital technology, you will make your own studio recordings together with others or on your own.

Notodden Campus also has its own recording studio that you are free to use while you are studying.

Blues & Society (15 ECTS): Reflection and immersion in the blues
As well as learning about the different traditions and styles of the blues genre, you will have the opportunity to identify and strengthen your own personal form of expression.
You will create a project assignment using relevant issues to reflect on the historical and societal role of the blues in popular and contemporary culture. The assignment can either be prepared as a solo or group work and can be submitted as either a musical performance or in the form of a written paper.

Bluegrass (15 ECTS)
In this subject you will acquire an understanding of the bluegrass tradition through listening, imitation, interpretation and in-depth study from a historical perspective. We use the main instrument and voice to gain an understanding of how grooves and harmonics progress through a set of reference songs. Acquiring fundamental skills in bluegrass will give you the key to solving musical challenges way beyond this genre.

Application deadline: April 15, 2024

Programme coordinator Espen Fjelle




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