The Näppäri Method

The Näppäri Method is an educational philosophy that seeks to promote more equal distribution of the intangible benefits of music and music-making. By expanding at the hobby level, it is possible to bring a better music experience within everybody’s reach without hindering the emergence of gifted individuals. The philosophy has been developed on the side of the Finnish music education system which is traditionally based on classical music. According to the Näppäri ideology making music should be a natural part of an individiual’s personal life and social interaction.

The message of the Näppäri Method to music education is that a sustainable value system can be achieved by combining the classical musical education with local tradition. This guarantees the preserving of original culture and enrichens musical life. The knowledge and appreciation of one’s own culture also helps in understanding other cultures. The Näppäri Method itself has been built upon the centuries old musical tradition of the Kaustinen village. The method is, however, also adaptable to other traditions.

The principles of the Näppäri Method are:
1. To offer the opportunity to learn music to anyone who wants it 2. To make playing music a part of daily life again 3. To encourage musicians of all ages and levels to play together 4. To keep the folk music tradition vibrant and incorporate it into the curriculum 5. To promote unrestrictive, timeless music education

Näppärit is a flexible group which brings together players of various ages and backgrounds via courses and performances. In some localities there are also Näppäri groups which get together on a weekly basis. The sizes of the Näppäri groups may vary from a couple of musicians to ensembles of as many as 500 players. The most common instruments are those that are popular in the Kaustinen tradition, e.g. fiddle, harmonium, guitar and double bass. The selection of instruments varies, however, according to the group, and Näppäri groups with different wind instruments, pianos, kanteles, percussions and even concert harps have been witnessed!

The music played by Näppäri groups consists of traditional tunes and newly composed material. The repertory is mostly based on fiddle music from Kaustinen and other Finnish regions, but tunes are often brought from other countries also. All tunes are arranged with parts of varying difficulty to allow players of all ages and backgrounds to join in. The easiest parts don’t require advanced instrument skills, and one can even participate by singing!