Dr Avra Pieridou Skoutella is an intercultural musical artist, an academic music educator and early childhood music education expert and trainer, an anthropologist of music and musical childhoods, and academic researcher, writer, presenter and publisher. She has established and leads several pioneering initiatives in the fields of music learning/teaching/creating, and performing, academic course development, interculturalism and positive emotions in musical participation, music cultures, social inclusion and peaceful coexistence of people and the development of the music profession in Cyprus, the Mediterranean region, Europe and beyond.
Dr Pieridou Skoutella holds the Certificate ‘High Impact Leadership’ (with excellence) from the University of Cambridge (January 2020). The Certificate is recognised as a professional qualification from the UK Continuing Professional Development Certificate Service.
She is the Founder of the non-profit academic organization C.C.R.S.M. Cyprus Centre for the Research and Study of Music (2012) (www.cccrsm.org.cy) which coordinates large scale EU funded projects and takes part in Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships among European organizations, universities and networks for the advancement of the music profession and entrepreneurship in music. CCRSM publishes academic monographs and music education manuals with funding from Erasmus+ while organizing workshops, seminars, conferences and courses in collaboration with several national and international stakeholders such as the European University Cyprus, the Private Preschool Association, Pancyprian Association of Music Teachers, the University of Granada and University of Santiago de Compostela Spain, Arab Academy of Music, MERYC European association, European Music Council, University of Corfu Greece.
Academic and scholarly work
Dr Avra Pieridou Skoutella is the author of the academic book Small Musical Worlds in the Mediterranean; Ethnicity, Globalization and Greek Cypriot Children’s Musical Identities (2015/2020) published by Routledge Press (London), the only book-length music anthropological research on children, music and learning in the Greek world, the Mediterranean region and Europe. She has presented research papers in local, regional and international conferences around the world and she has published research articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals and publications in education, music education and ethnomusicology in UK, USA, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Greece. She has been a member of the Academic Committees of International Academic Conferences in Cyprus, Greece, and Spain.
She was a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Music Education: Research of ISME (2014-2020). She is currently a member of the International Editorial Board of the newly established Journal of Art, Design and Music founded by Cairo Helwan University and published by Elsevier Publishers. After the invitation, she contributed four entries to the SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture (USA 2019).
Dr Avra Pieridou Skoutella regularly presents invited and keynote research papers and workshops in local, regional and international academic conferences and training sessions for educationalists, musicians and parents in Europe, the USA, Middle East and Australia. She has given workshops on early childhood music education and interculturalism in Australia (Brisbane, Sidney), Spain (Madrid, Granada, and Santiago de Compostela), Italy (Rome), Greece (Athens, Corfu) and Cyprus.
Academic Keynotes and invited lectures-Topics of expertise
She was the keynote speaker at the ‘III International Congress of Music and Culture for Inclusion and Innovation’ (Spain, May 2021) organised by the Universities of A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela and University of Vigo and the collaboration of significant stakeholders from Spain, Portugal and Brazil. She was a keynote speaker at the International Symposium ‘Music Education and Didactic Materials’ at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain (January 2019) with IARTEM (Int. Association for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media). She was also a keynote speaker at the IMS International Musicological Society Conference for the Balkans and the Mediterranean (European University Cyprus, September 2017), at the International Convention of Music Education of the Arab Academy of Music (Arab League) (Lebanon, April 2016). Avra was invited speaker at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal, October 2016), at the Euro-Arab Youth Forum Conference Cyprus (Cyprus, October 2015), at the Academic Conference on Ethnographic Research and Education (Heraklion University, Crete, Greece) etc.
She was invited by the Cyprus National Agency to represent Cyprus and give presentations at the ‘30-Years Erasmus+ Celebrations Conference Erasmus+ Best Practice Projects’ (Bonn, May 2017) and the Conference ‘Paths towards Citizenship through European Cultural Heritage’, (Palermo, Italy, September 2018) by Indira Erasmus + National Agency in the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
Dr Pieridou Skoutella’s keynote presentations and workshops expertise include: musical identities in music education and training of educators and music educators; identities and music education curriculum development; synergies of musicology disciplines for innovative music education publications and products; positive motions in intercultural music education; evaluation tools in intercultural music education; early childhood music education, mimesis, pretend play and intertextuality; multiculturalism and interculturalism in early childhood and primary music education; cultural heritage, European citizenship and music education; innovation and inclusion in music and culture; leadership in music; compassionate love, solidarity and empathy-in-music and music education; MusiChild Publications as a way ahead for new European identity; musical heritage, Mediterranean and musical enculturation.
Music Education manual publications
She authored and co-produced the publication Cypriot Traditional Songs for Children; through Music Education Practices (2008) which includes a series of Songbooks, a music learning manual and a CD with children traditional singing from the east coast of the island, collaborating with George Dalaras and prominent Cypriot musicians and artists. The Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus has accredited and included this publication in the public educational system of the Republic of Cyprus. The publication led to the revival of Cypriot traditional music for children in the country. Avra presented the publication and related interviews in CyBC cultural broadcasts and by the main news of the Corporation. For this work, the municipality of Paralimni honoured her. All country newspapers Politis and Kathimerini devoted articles to this publication.
Avra also designed, co-authored and produced the 4-languages online manual Early Childhood Music Education in the Mediterranean for music educators and edited and co-authored the corresponding academic multi-authored ebook Early Childhood Music education in the Mediterranean, both being publications of CCRSM with Erasmus+ funding.
Avra founded the International MusiChild™ publications and products brand. MusiChild™ serves as international music and music education innovation hub and high impact intercultural musical growth system signifier. The publications advocate and decisively put forward the perspective of multiculturalism and interculturalism in early childhood music learning and teaching, departing from the long history and multi-dimensional past and the present musical mosaic of the Mediterranean region and the European continent. Her publication ‘Mediterranean Musical Cradle: Two Songs from Cyprus and Spain’ (2018) incorporates innovative sound technology and real female singing and instrumental playing. The publication received the logo of the 2018 Year of European Cultural Heritage by the Italian Erasmus+ National Agency as a statement of European Cultural Heritage in contemporary times. The Spanish media corporation Goiena, is devoting an article for publication in their magazine, Puenta (2019).
Dr Pieridou Skoutella and CCRSM have led and took part in several European funded projects. She designed and coordinated the distinguished Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership Early Childhood Music Education in the Mediterranean; raising children’s musicality, testing music learning and enabling teachers’ preparation (2014-2017). The project received two distinctions (a) as best practice Erasmus+ project, representing Cyprus in the 30 Years Erasmus Celebration Conference in Bonn Germany (May 2017) and (b) as a statement project of cultural heritage, representing Cyprus in Erasmus+ International Conference in Palermo Italy, ‘Citizenship through European Cultural Heritage’, September 2018.
Recently CCRSM took part in the Erasmus+ KA2 Project STAMP Shared Music Activities for Music Professionals (2016-2019) coordinated by the European Music Council with the participation of large music professional networks of Europe (www.stamp-music.org). Within this project, Avra led and developed the first international series of training live webinars on music and entrepreneurship and the development of a training handbook for disadvantaged youth in music and social inclusion. CCRSM is transforming research findings from these two projects into entrepreneurial acts and products for the benefit of society at large.
Mediterranean Forum Leadership
Dr Avra Pieridou Skoutella leads the establishment and development of the Mediterranean Forum of Musical Childhoods, an international initiative that aims to bring together music education, anthropology, musical psychology and ethnomusicology academics and music professionals in the fields of musical childhood and music education and relevant stakeholders from all countries bordering the Mediterranean basin, along with internationally acclaimed academics and researchers. The Forum’s first International Conference took place in April 2018 in Nicosia Cyprus hosted by the European University of Cyprus http://www.musichildhoodsforum.com/ and organized by CCRSM. The event hosted for the first time academics and music professionals and educators from 15 countries, along with colleagues from several Arab countries.
Music Teaching–Music Education programmes–Tertiary Education
Avra was the co-developer of the Bachelors of Music Programme of Arte Music Academy, the first institution of tertiary music studies in Cyprus, where she lectured in music education, Cypriot musical tradition, multiculturalism in music education, ethnomusicology and music leadership (2002-2008).
Dr Avra Pieridou Skoutella has taught for several years the music subject in public elementary schools. In 2002 she designed and established the registered early childhood music education programmes Preludio™ which include classes for babies, parents, toddlers and young children, music educational workshops and family concerts. They were connected with Arte Music Academy for the years 2002-2008.
She has designed and led many interactive educational and family and elders concerts on European art music, Cypriot musical tradition and world music collaborating with musicians and musical ensembles. Notably, she was the designer, educator, and presenter of the educational programmes of the Foundation of Cyprus Symphony Orchestra during the seasons between 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. Avra comprised these programmes with workshops for the teachers, workshops with the children, educational concerts with the orchestra and family concerts.
Academic Education- Professional Training
Avra Pieridou Skoutella has been Post-Doctoral Research Scholar at the IoE-UCL University of London in music education and anthropology of musical childhood (2012-2014), and a Fulbright-CASP Scholarship recipient at the Eastman School of Music- University of Rochester, USA. She holds degrees from the Pedagogical Academy of Cyprus (1990-1993), the Eastman School of Music-University of Rochester USA (B.M. Dean’s list, 1994-1997), Reading University UK (MA 1998) and Institute of Education- University of London (PhD 2006). With additional US governmental scholarships, she studied at the School of International Training in Vermont and with the Multi-Track Diplomacy Group in Boston topics on multicultural communication and confidence building, negotiation and conflict resolution techniques. She studied the Zoltán Kodály approach at the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Hungary. She attended graduate studies in early childhood music education and the Dalcroze approach at the Eastman School of Music (Summer 1998) and training sessions and workshops with the animator of the London Symphony Orchestra educational programme. She is a certified trainer of the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus for Professional Qualifications and Lifelong Learning and a certified Infant Massage Instructor.
Music Training–Intercultural music journey:
- Early years lessons in classical ballet followed by 25 years of classical guitar learning and performing. Secondary instruments were European classical piano and classical clarinet.
- Member of many choirs performing Greek and Cypriot folk and traditional songs and Western classical repertoire in Cyprus, UK, USA and Hungary.
- Over 15 years of participation in local Cypriot and Greek folk and traditional dances groups in secondary school, at the Pedagogical Academy of Cyprus dance group and the University of Reading Greek folk dance group.
- Member of the Gamelan music ensemble Lila Muni at the Eastman School of Music (1994-1997)
- Constantinople lute (lafta) learning with the Greek virtuoso Christos Tsiamoulis
- Training in Latin America and African rhythms with late Prof Robert Kwami, University of London.
- Classical vocal coaching with Voice Professor-Opera Soloist Sona Gargaloyan, since 2014
Membership and Professional Affiliations
- Founding member and first Secretary of EGTA Cyprus (European Guitar Teachers’ Association)
- Founding Member and the first Treasurer of the Music Education Association of Cyprus
- Member of the International Musicological Society
- Member of the International Society of Music Education
- Member of the International Society of Ethnomusicology