Network of European Minimal Music Organisations
Music is one of the most powerful tools to create bonds between people and to foster joint learning. On the one hand, it creates cultural identity, but it also promotes common, transcultural developments and social cohesion. Music plays a special role in adult education, as it is able to promote key competences such as civic engagement and of course creativity and innovation.

The NEMO project focuses on a particular branch of contemporary music that is especially suited to involve people in the creative process – “Minimal Music”. Minimal music is a unique blend of African, Indian, Indonesian music, jazz and occidental tradition that was born out as a counterpoint to the complexity of European music in the 1950s. Steve Reich, La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Philipp Glass were the pioneers of a musical movement whose name from art – Minimal Art – was transferred to music without circumstance.

What is Minimal Music?

Get to know a genre of music beyond the well-known categories of classical music, rock, and jazz, that utilises all kinds of instruments and connects many cultures of the world.
Minimal music originated in America in the 1960s and spans a wide range from medieval music to Erik Satie and techno. The means are minimal, and the results are maximal. It is music that consists of simple elements but creates a magical world of sound. From a small one-bar rhythmic pattern, a 20-minute musical process can emerge. A process that always sounds different, that always creates new shapes despite constantly repeated elements. And not only repetition became the essence of minimal music, but gradual, sensitive changes.
This idea of gradual change grew out of the unique mixture of African, Indian and Indonesian music, of jazz and occidental tradition.
Besides Ravel’s “Bolero”, the models for this actual world music include the works of Erik Satie in particular, but also the medieval form of the organum. Minimalist processes tended to be able to last indefinitely, and in this respect, they were able to eliminate the contradiction between musical and physical time. They were an ideal counterpoint to the complexity of 1950s European music.

Minimal music is fascinating and timely; it is exciting and meditative at the same time. The gradual unfolding of this music, its rhythmic liveliness and harmonic weightlessness make listening a unique experience and encourages own composing.

The pedagogical approach in the project assumes that this music can appeal to and involve professionals as well as amateurs, younger as well as older people. Moreover, minimal music connects different cultures and can be described as a real form of intercultural music. It does not only aim at “exercising and performing” but also on “creating” music as a joint creative outcome.


The project aims to strengthen minimal music as an inclusive medium at the European level.
It will collect good practices and bring together the pioneers of Minimal Music in a Europe Network and on a joint professional basis.
It will make Minimal Music more known in Europe to bring about the potentials in the adult education community. To achieve this, the project aims to develop a multimodal system for Continuing Professional Development modules for different kinds of professionals dealing with music and adult learners. These modules will be piloted in 2-3 blended learning events consisting of conferences/concerts and workshop formats which will be delivered at three European locations.
Eventually, the project seeks to develop a network and a strong valorisation platform to offer its future services to a growing community of like-minded organisations and individuals.

Target Groups

People of all ages can listen to, join in, perform and create Minimal Music.
Hence the ultimate target groups are adult learners, in our case especially those who are in precarious situations, for instance in integration processes in which they lack the opportunities to express themselves. For them, Minimal Music is a way to participate, to contribute to a whole, to become creative and to construct a joint piece of art.

To bring about this learning a specific “art of facilitation” is needed.
As this “mathetical” approach is still often unknown territory the project seeks to set up a pool of good practice and to
create a network of institutions and individual who would follow the MM approach.

Hence, adult education institutions, music schools and conservatoires, as well as specific ‘socio-cultural’ groups, e.g. self-help groups and other institutions that work more informally on social cohesion processes, are involved in the programme provided by the NEMO project.