Introducing Wolf-Georg Zaddach as MA Course Leader at BIMM University Berlin
In 2021, we launched our new master’s degree MA Popular Music Practice at BIMM University Berlin and were happy to welcome a new group of postgraduate students who were looking to further deepen their professional and academic skills in the field of popular music.
We are delighted to have BIMM University Berlin lecturer Wolf-Georg Zaddach as course leader for our first master’s degree in Berlin and caught up with Wolf to talk about his background in the music industry, his research projects, jazz and the course.
What made you want to work in the music industry and what has your musical journey been like?
When I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to make a living with music, in any way. Since I met quite a lot of musicians back in the day, I learned that ‘surviving’ by only playing the guitar would be very hard. I was also very interested in broader questions, not just regarding music history or theory, but also society and politics. So, academia in general seemed to offer the perfect path for this. Hence, I decided to study quite a lot of different things including musicology, jazz guitar, history. As an artist, I’m quite happy about this path, even though it meant a lot of work and sometimes struggle. Music can do so much more than just simply entertain.
You studied Jazz Guitar and also undertook research in the field of jazz. What fascinates you about the genre?
Jazz is a fascinating genre that potentially allows you to do a lot of different things with it. I love how it transgresses the boundaries of genres as well as our – being honest – pretty limited western harmony. But the most important thing is improvisation. It can be one of the most artful forms of expressing yourself: being in the moment, reflecting intuitively as well as consciously on your feelings, your mood, and thoughts through sound. It can be so personal. The older I get, the more I feel like I understand how rich this actually can be, and that still amazes me.
You recently have received a funding commitment for a scientific network on Artistic Music Research for the period 2022-2025 from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Germany’s largest independent research funding organization. Can you talk a bit more about your research projects and what they are about?
Artistic Research is a fairly new field, some say a new research paradigm, emerging as such in the 90s and growing especially since the Bologna reform (a series of agreements made between European countries to offer comparable quality at universities) in the 2000s. There have been other research traditions that are pretty close, like practice-based research in the UK. The difference is that we focus more on the actual creative doing where a lot of knowledge and knowledge production is at play. It is actually pretty Western to accept knowledge and knowledge production only in discursive forms, like writing. The sensual understanding has its own worth that we as Western societies are slowly re-discovering, just like we are slowly re-discovering the worth of indigenous knowledge, for instance. The aim of the network is to bring together international experts in the field to enhance the music-focused perspective, establish some guidelines and create connections to ‘traditional’ research fields, like musicology.
You joined BIMM University Berlin as the course leader of our very first MA programme that launched in 2021 – what has been your highlight so far teaching the MA?
To me, the very different backgrounds, talents and visions the students have are so impressive and enriching. It is wonderful to see how students grow within their personal field of interest.
Why do you think the MA Popular Music Practice is the perfect course for any music student looking to develop as a music professional and explore their musical interest in more depth?
The MA is perfect to further develop and strengthen skills that are required and expected from everybody who wants to work with music nowadays – a structured way of learning and adapting, and the ability to collaborate and self-organise. With the ever-changing circumstances in the so-called creative industry, we need to incorporate those skills for a healthy and ideally life-long career. The MA enables the student to grow as a creative person through research, critical thinking and group activities, and be prepared for future challenges.
What is your advice for any student interested in studying the MA Popular Music Practice at BIMM University Berlin?
Come and join our virtual open days, chat with us and current students to make your own mind up.
Are you interested in studying for a Master’s at BIMM University Berlin and developing your professional music career and want to find out more about who will be teaching you? More about our lecturers you can find here and attend an open day or contact our Admissions Team for more information by sending an email to email@example.com or via phone at +49 (0) 30 311 99 186 (Berlin).