It’s no secret that Finland and metal go hand in hand, as historically this country has been a sort of mecca for the genre. This makes it obvious news that their higher education system is now starting to recognize metal as a part of culture and music history worth teaching about. A three-week course called “Heavy Metal Music in Contemporary History and Society” is coming to the University of Helsinki this summer, stressing the relevance and influence it has had on modern society.
This course is taught by Paolo Ribaldini, a PhD candidate and metal musician. Ribaldini conducts research at University of Helsinki about modern development of heavy vocals and the philosophical/sociological parts of heavy metal music – something you may not expect from someone who studied classical/popular music in his undergraduate years. He’s also studied heavily in musicology and philosophy of music. On top of his studies, he plays in a band and was mentored by Tarja Turunen of Nightwish on Season 4 of “The Voice of Finland” this past year.
With this course, Ribaldini hopes to unite students from various educational backgrounds to encourage collaboration and the sharing of what their teachings can apply to the culture of metal. Along with students studying music, he encourages those studying the social sciences and humanities to join in on the discussion. Class participants will delve into the sociology of music as well as developing critique and theory knowledge through this course.
This class isn’t all about sitting in a room and talking however. Professor Ribaldini stresses that there will be a lot of music listening during class time, and the students will take outings to various shows to become familiar with their local metal scene.
If you’re interested in learning more about this awesome course, you can do so here. Below is a video introducing and explaining the course, featuring Professor Ribaldini himself.