Antonis Ververis was born in 1982 in Athens and raised in the island of Lesvos, Greece. He studied Musicology and Music Education at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Sociology at University of the Aegean. He received a Master’s degree in Choral Education from Roehampton University, UK and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Lynchburg College, USA. In 2017 he completed his PhD dissertation at Aristotle University where he conducted out research on gender stereotypes in Music Education. His research interests also include children’s singing and vocal development, with emphasis on boys’ changing voice, and teaching methods of traditional Greek music.
Having taught at secondary schools for nine years, currently he teaches courses on Music Education and santouri (a traditional Greek instrument similar to cimbál) at University of Ioannina, Greece. As a choral director, he has conducted in Italy, Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria.
For the researchers of Greek traditional music, 1988 is regarded as a landmark year, as it coincides with the founding of the first Music Secondary School in Greece. According to Dionyssiou (2002), one of the innovations of these schools was the inclusion of Greek traditional music in their curriculum, something that happened for the first time officially in a state educational institution. Until September 2018, there were 47 such schools operating in most major Greek cities. In their first 30 years, Music Secondary Schools seem to have made an important contribution particularly to the field of traditional music, as a significant number of graduates that are professionally active today –either as performers or as teachers– suggests (Kapsokavadis, 2017). It should be mentioned that the first teachers of traditional instruments in these schools were active folk musicians that ‘had learned’ their art orally. Interestingly, as most of them had no previous formal training in music or pedagogy, they were given the title empirotechnis (εμπειροτέχνης), which can be translated as ‘craftsman by experience’. A second attempt towards the ‘institutionalization’ of traditional music in Greece took place in 2000, when two university schools of music started offering bachelor’s degrees with this specialization, filling the gap in the market concerning ‘officially-trained’ teachers of traditional instruments. This paper explores the shift from informal to formal music teaching and learning of traditional Greek music by examining related documents and studies from the last 30 years. A special focus is given to teaching methods and methods of transmission, with reference to the ‘dilemma’ between orality and literacy.