With the “mdw young research award”, our institution has become Austria’s only arts university to recognise outstanding pre-academic papers and diploma papers (authored by students of academic secondary schools and colleges for higher vocational education, respectively) on music-related topics. The first awards ceremony will take place in September 2023.

The mdw seeks to reach society as a whole with its activities, and dialogue between art, research, and pedagogy is a central aspect of its socio-politically relevant work. In this spirit, the “mdw young research award” represents a contribution to the advancement of young people interested in pursuing research that relates to the musical realm.

This new mdw-wide initiative is intended to help support musically interested young people by recognising the research papers that they author as part of their Matura (Austria’s secondary school exit exam that qualifies candidates for university entrance).

You learn to do academic writing, seek out and cite academic literature, and other things like that.

Matthias L., school student

Since 2014, every Matura candidate has been required to author a pre-academic final paper in order to complete their schooling, with this paper being one of the Matura’s three main elements. Numerous prizes have already been created to recognise final papers relating to the natural sciences, equality and gender research, and European themes. But even though a great number of very good music-related papers have been turned in, there’s so far been no national award to recognise them. It is for this reason that’s the mdw has established its young research award.

It’s important that the topic suits you and interests you, because otherwise, you won’t be the least bit motivated to sit down and do the work.

Johanna F., school student

Young people’s diverse areas of interests frequently lead them to topics that they would like to explore and research according to scientific and/or scholarly methodologies in their final papers. To this end, they first have to define and delineate a specific area of interest, formulate research questions, and seek out suitable sources. They then go on to author their first large-scale, cohesive, and well-structured pre-academic texts. No easy task, perhaps, but also an initial step towards academia…

The topics of school students’ music-related final papers can also be found in the broad spectrum of topics covered by the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna—examples of which would be early music, film and television, music education, musicology, electroacoustics, singing and music theatre, popular music, and ethnomusicology.

It feels good having completed such a big paper and now being one step farther towards university.

Kristiane H., school student

The Award Process

Planning and realisation of the mdw young research award is a cooperative effort of the Department of Music Education Research, Music Didactics and Elementary Music Education (IMP) and the Office of Research Support.

Following a submission phase that begins in April 2023, research staff from the respective departments will be invited to produce brief evaluations of the submitted papers. A jury will then select the best papers in light of these evaluations as well as predetermined criteria.

The mdw young research award will be conferred for the first time at a formal ceremony during the final week of September 2023.

This award has bidirectional effects: it benefits the University by bringing in new, cutting-edge topics directly from youth culture, and it benefits society thanks to the University’s direct support of research in the field of music.

Eveline Christof, education sciences professor and IMP head

A Sampling of Paper Topics

Architectural Changes for the Acoustic Improvement of the Local Band’s Rehearsal Space, Audience Engagement and Concert Pedagogy in Concerts for Children, Differences and Commonalities between Classical Vocal Training and Vocal Training for Jazz and Pop, An Original Popular Music Composition, The Influence of Music on New-borns, Leitmotif Technique in the Music of John Williams in Light of Selected Examples, Street Music in Austria since 2000

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