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Music Activities to Support Pupils at risk in upper secondary schools (MASP)

Music Activities to Support Pupils at risk in upper secondary schools (MASP)

Recent studies suggest that music and arts-based activities have positive effects on school dropouts, as participation in such activities offers resources for coping with mental illness, building self-esteem and fostering new social relationships and participation. However, there seems to be a gap in the research literature regarding how music and the arts can be used in school settings to reduce school dropout. Inspired by relevant literature, focusing on the music, but also including other art forms, this project examines how pupils at risk of leaving upper-secondary school education can cope with mental problems and psychosocial disabilities through a new model of music- and arts-based interventions that we term : usic ctivities to upport upils at risk in upper-secondary schools. The MASPMASPneed for solutions in the Nordic school settings is prominent. During Covid-19, key values in Nordic Schools, such as inclusion, adaptive education, and democracy came under pressure. Digital schooling changed the location and contexts for social interaction, and this had ramifications for the pupils’ social life, mental health and well-being. Certain groups, such as children and youth at risk, were likely to have been more adversely impacted by the pandemics due to factors such as distance learning and home schooling. To face the challenges posed by the present post Covid-19 situation, MASP will invite pupils and teachers to co-create knowledge and material that can be used to decrease school drop-out. By opening creative and aesthetic spaces in the school environment, and by establishing arenas for music making and cultural participation, the voices and resources of young people can inform and influence the way we understand the present situation. By building on skills and competencies inherent in the young generation, through interests and insights in phenomena such as popular music culture, gaming and other art forms, the project draws on expertise capable of forming the way we understand modern schooling. MASP will provide novel knowledge on how music- and arts-based creation and cultural participation may enhance inclusion, foster social competencies and promote the transfer of knowledge between school workers, pupils, and relevant policy makers. In sum, through comparative mixed-methods case studies in Norway, Finland, and Denmark, MASP can increase our knowledge on how to better support pupils at risk of dropping out of upper-secondary education.

Project facts


Music Activities to Support Pupils at risk in upper secondary schools (MASP)




15.12.22 - 30.06.25



Research group



University of Bergen


Universitetet i Bergen

Project members

Viggo Kruger
Bente Isabell Borthne Hvidsten


Universitetet i Bergen, NORCE