Nordic Performance Master in Folk Music, NoFo

The Master's Programme in Nordic Folk Music gives a high level of artistic skills in ensemble playing based on folk music traditions in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

KMH offers the joint Nordic Folk Music Programme together with:

  • Sibelius Academy (SibA) in Helsinki, Finland,
  • Danish National Music Academy of Music (SDMK) in Esbjerg, Denmark,
  • Ole Bull Academy in Voss, Norway.

Admission takes place every two years and the language of instruction is English.

Video: Nordic Master in Folk Music


Before starting the studies on postgraduate level, you must have completed an undergraduate study programme of at least 180 ECTS, taken a B.A. in music or acquired corresponding qualifications in your speciality.

Your application must be accompanied by a diploma substantiating your eligibility.

Focus on Collaboration and Exchange

You apply to one of these university colleges and the education leads to a Master's degree from your home college.

The programme benefits from group collaboration and the competence and education culture of each partner college, which provides a good foundation for and a current insight into Nordic folk music as well as a unique opportunity for international and intercultural exchange.

The first semester and parts of the last semester are on KMH. The other semesters are spent at the partner colleges through exchange studies.

Programme Content

In order to prepare for your future vocational career, courses with the aim of deepening the knowledge of the main instrument, ensemble play, arrangement, composition and music theory are conducted.

Also courses in marketing and stage performance are included. You also get the opportunity to take elective courses and student-driven artistic projects and a degree project.

We had the best teachers in all of the schools and met fantastic people everywhere. And the best thing was that I could do both – I could be a solo musician and do my own thing – and create a successful band (Rim) and try out a lot of ideas at the same time!
Sunniva Abelli, alumnus

Courses in the Programme

Each university college contributes to the programme with it's special competence for you to develop as a musician. Following courses give you the best conditions to become a Nordic folk musician.

Instrument Studies

Teaching within the main instrument is based on your own profiling and your degree project, so the actual content and distribution of different elements can look very different for each student. Student and artistic supervisor/main teacher summarise the content of the course.

The following elements are normally included in the instrumental courses regardless of instrument/song:

  • Instrumental technique, based on techniques used in Swedish and Nordic folk music,
  • Repertoire profiling based on your profile,
  • Artistic expression, interpretation, variation and improvisation within the genre,
  • Methodology in the field of instrumental and artistic problematisation and independent artistic work,
  • Playing and singing for concert and dance – developing the ability to handle and plan a performance situation,
  • Ergonomics – knowing how to perform and practice so that you do not hurt the body.


Ensemble plays a central role in the programme. To the ensemble, the course's arranging and composition lessons are linked and you as a student are composing and arranging for the ensemble. It's when you play in the ensemble that you work creatively to find new ways to express yourself in the various Nordic folk music traditions.

Particular focus in the ensemble courses is to listen, follow and lead, to play music with different metric structure, analysis and development of musical form, repetition technique and group dynamics in the ensemble.

Vocational Courses

A general goal that permeates the entire programme is that the transition between education and professional activities should be as smooth as possible. As part of this endeavour, you will gain knowledge in:

  • the international music market for folk musicians,
  • legislation relating to a career as a freelance musician,
  • copyright issues,
  • construction and negotiation of contracts,
  • information about different networks, organisations and organisers in folk music.

You also get a practical and theoretical orientation in local folk music traditions regarding stylistic features as well as historical, socio-cultural and music-theoretical aspects.

In addition to this, special interest is devoted to working with promotion, distribution and production of various types of information/PR material.

Degree Project

Although it passes over all four semesters, the thesis is regarded as a coherent course with a clear final goal. Part of the course's activities take place at the four education institutions but with KMH supervisor and part-examinations each semester with KMH examiner.

In addition to your own artistic work and development of the instrumental skills, the course, whose final goal is the presentation of your independent degree project, also contains supporting elements that aim to give you the opportunity to develop new expressions of Nordic folk music together with your fellow students.

You will be able to develop your reflective ability in the course, and to formulate and report this. This is done through seminars and supervision where you are given the opportunity to put your own artistry in relation to questions about creative processes, musical aesthetics and knowledge development.

You also get to work with analysis of Nordic folk music based on tools and analytical methods developed within the various Nordic folk music traditions – to promote stylistic awareness and creativity within the framework of musical tradition.

Joint Tour

As a preparation for future work life, the final exam will be scheduled for the fourth term together by the student group and will be conducted in the context of a joint tour of the four participating Nordic countries.

After the Programme

One of the strongest drivers behind NoFo is to prepare students for a life as a professional musician in a Nordic folk music scene.

You will gain experience in planning and implementing various performances in terms of artistic content, marketing and finance.

In addition, you will be able to plan a Nordic tour and join an ensemble while deepening your artistic skills – invaluable knowledge for a folk musician seeking an international career.

Previous students are distinguished today on the Nordic folk music scene and work as freelance musicians in different constellations.

NoFo has provided me with invaluable knowledge, contacts and experiences for my professional life, as a musician, performer and music teacher. It really expanded my artistic vision and courage, my pedagogical work and above all my confidence. I get to use my NoFo knowledge every day, whether I am teaching Twinkle Twinkle on the violin to a 5-year-old, or creating a solo performance.
Sven Midgren, alumnus