Bernhard Ernst Scharl - Music pedagogy

Staging Elementary Music Performances: In the Field of Tension between Process and Product

This research project examines the staging processes of elementary music performances from the perspective of elementary music educators.

Elementary music is never music alone, but always combined with movement and language. As an independent form of music-making, elementary music-making, the praxis of elementary music education, is open to any prerequisites and can therefore be learned and experienced by people of all ages, regardless of previous musical experience. By intensively perceiving, experiencing and understanding music in all its diversity, it opens up spaces for experience on a physical, emotional and cognitive level.

One of the guiding principles in this context is process-orientation. In the framework of elementary music education, however, performance situations will be found in various forms of presentation. Like any form of presentation, these require staging. For those leading this process, the performance situation poses specific challenges against the background of the considerations on the process orientation of elementary music making. In contrast to stagings in an institutional theater environment, where there is usually a division of responsibilities for the individual theatrical elements, elementary music educators are responsible for a variety of tasks in the planning, implementation and execution of performances in elementary music education contexts.

Based on these considerations, this dissertation uses a qualitative interview study to explore the questions of how elementary music teachers shape the staging process of elementary music performances, what role considerations of the performance situation and elementary music-making play, as well as what challenges arise as a result and how these are faced.

First supervisor:   Irena Müller-Brozović, ABPU
Second supervisor: Univ.Prof. Dr. Peter Röbke, mdw


Bernhard Ernst Scharl is a performer as well as a music and theatre educator. His academic, pedagogical and artistic work operates at the intersection of music, theatre and pedagogy. In his perception, these areas are not only equal; they complement each other.

Bernhard Ernst Scharl began studying at the Konservatorium für Kirchenmusik St. Pölten (“Lied.Messe.Oratorium.”) while still a pupil. He also studied solo singing, music theatre directing and vocal pedagogy in Vienna and Berlin. He completed the latter with distinction with a master's thesis on the political dimensions of Hans Werner Henze’s operas (“Hans Werner Henze im Diskurs mit seinen Librettist*innen - Die Oper als politisches Medium”) as well as a specialism on “Musiktheaterpädagogik” and “Musik.Theater.Film.Gender.”.

Engagements as a singer have taken him to various stages and concert platforms in Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan. He has worked both in professional theatres and in the independent scene as a performer, stages musical and spoken theatre, and regularly performs with various formations as an improvisational theatre player.

Bernhard Ernst Scharl sees educational work as an artistic activity, whereby work with people from early childhood through adulthood as well as integration groups are equally central to his work. A particular concern of his is to enable all people, regardless of age, social, cognitive and physical abilities, to participate in artistic processes.

Bernhard Ernst Scharl teaches music and theatre pedagogy, particularly at colleges for elementary and social pedagogy in St. Pölten and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz.