The project will organize ten listening groups based on active music listening and casual conversation. Photo: Katja Tähkä

Helsinki libraries educate customers in new music contents and music making

Helsinki City Library has launched a project to educate customers in music, how to make music and how to experience music. The project allows library customers to familiarize themselves with new music contents and to try out making music. The project, begun in October 2019, will extend to the end of 2020. The project also trains the library staff in music pedagogy and equips them with skills to better present library collections and services to customers. 

Physical loans of music from libraries and physical sales of music have been reduced as music offerings have largely moved to the web. Digitalization has, however, diversified music offerings to consumers and offers them new opportunities. The new project seeks to familiarize both library customers and the library staff with these opportunities. 

Project partners comprise the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Käpylä Music Institute’s folk music studies, Global Music Centre and Music Archive Finland. The project is supported by the Regional State Administrative Agencies. The Helsinki City Library staff cooperates with these expert organizations representing different musical genres. The cooperation forms the basis of open and free-of-charge music listening groups and music workshops organized by Helsinki City Library. The listening groups and workshops are most suitable for those who wish to listen to new music or to try out making music. One purpose of the project is to reach those citizens who may not previously have used library services at all. 

The majority of the listening group meetings and music workshops will be held at the Pasila Library, which has one of the largest collections of recordings in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The Pasila Library collection includes roughly 30,000 music CD’s alone. The project is also joined by other active music libraries in Helsinki, that is, the Itäkeskus, Kallio and Töölö Libraries. 

The first listening group meeting will be held at the Pasila Library on Tuesday 29 October, from 17–18. The DJ for this listening group, based on active music listening and casual conversation, is the Finnish-Bulgarian singer Anna Dantchev, the communications officer of the Etnosoi! festival, who will play records by Etnosoi! artists. There will be altogether ten listening group meetings during the autumn of 2019 and the spring of 2020. Every meeting will have a different topic, and no registration is required. 

The first music workshop will be held at the Pasila Library on Thursday 31 October, from 17–19. This workshop will allow participants to make music creatively and to enjoy the music. The music workshops will focus on diverse topics including biological rhythms, song writing and signing. The workshop leader is the musician and music educator Tuuli Wallenius. There will be five music workshops during the autumn of 2019 and the spring of 2020. The workshops will be conducted according to the wishes of participants. No registration or earlier experience with music making is required. 

The times and dates of other listening groups and music workshops will be announced as soon as they have been confirmed. The times and dates will be published on

helmet.fi/opimusiikista (page in Finnish; the Finnish title of the project is Opi musiikin tuntijaksi, taitajaksi, kokijaksi!)  

Helsinki libraries provide diverse services for those interested in music. Library collections include recordings, notes, music books and music magazines to borrow. Customers can use electronic materials available online, practice playing instruments and borrow instruments, play in groups, sing, learn how to record and to work in a studio, record a music demo, and perform – even how to make band T-shirts and gig posters. Libraries also provide personal music coaching.

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