Helsinki Summer School

Program Description


Helsinki Summer School

PLEASE NOTE! This course was held in 2015, new courses will be arranged in 2017

Target students

The course aims to be as multidisciplinary as possible, encouraging collaboration between students from different academic backgrounds. The ideal candidates are advanced Bachelor’s or Master’s students of musical practice, musicology, social studies, history, semiotics, cultural studies, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, language studies, gender studies and pedagogy. Familiarity with music theory is considered an asset, but it is not mandatory. The teaching methods involve team-working within the class, so that single disciplinary gaps can be amended by cooperation. The course will be divided into groups of 4–6 students at the beginning of the course, so that the groups will have a range of competences.


This course explores the development of the popular music style of Heavy Metal. The primary focus will be on the history of the genre and its importance in contemporary western society. Much attention will be on Finland, where HM is particularly successful and characterises musical culture more than in other European or non-European countries.

Learning objectives

The students will appreciate the importance of Heavy Metal music in western musical culture, its historical development and the characteristics of the subculture related to the music. This subculture is particularly strong in Finland, and Finnish HM is recognised worldwide as a key manifestation of this musical style. The students will also achieve competences in music critique, musical theory, the sociology of music, music semiotics and cultural studies. Furthermore, the course gives them a solid basis to critically understand popular music genres other than HM.

Course format and teaching methods

Lectures, multimedia material (musical examples, films, documentaries), workshop/seminar activities, group discussions. Classes take place five days a week, from Monday to Friday.

During the lectures (provisionally 9.00–11.00), the teacher addresses the history of HM and its interaction with society and other fields of culture. The teaching methods are:

  • Reading and commenting on course material (e.g. books, articles), or commenting on previously assigned readings.
  • Viewing/listening and commenting on multimedia material.
  • After the lunch break, the course continues with workshop/seminar activities focused on group work (provisionally at 12.00–14.00). This includes:
  • Analysis of readings and audio/video examples about specific topics proposed by the teacher. The group work results in writings or slide presentations to be discussed in front of the class. Assignments outside the classes are meant to be worked on mainly in teams.
  • Some seminar meetings with musicians or experts in the field of HM studies (see ‘Lecturers and teachers’).
  • Once/twice (max.): attendance in the evening at a medium/major HM concert. This is subject to events taking place in Helsinki at the time and on the ticket price (roughly €15–30).

Teachers and lecturers

The course is held by PhD candidate Paolo Ribaldini, University of Helsinki, whose research topic is HM music, and whose educational background involves classical and popular music practice, musicology, philosophy, and philosophy of music.

Means and criteria of assessment

Attendance at lectures 20%. Participation in seminars, group work 40%. Final essay/exam 40%.

At the end of the course, the students are required to write a short essay (3000–5000 words) about a topic chosen from a list of options (6–10) given by the teacher. For those students who prefer an alternative option, the essay can be replaced by a written exam on one of the days of the course.

The number of credits is counted as follows:

  • 4 hrs classes x 5 days/week x 3 weeks = 60 hrs
  • about 2 hrs individual/group work outside classes x 5 days/week x 3 weeks = 30 hrs
  • preliminary readings and final essay = about 45 hrs
  • TOTAL = 135 hrs (5 ETCS, if 1 ECTS = 27 hrs work)
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated June 30, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
17 days
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
Finland Helsinki
Application deadline Request Info
End date Aug. 18, 2017
Duration 17 days
Price Request Info