Current Research Projects


The department of music explores music with diverse methods and in diverse cultural contexts. The spectrum ranges from ethnological studies and regional phenomena to music education projects and studies on the music industry, creativity, or digital media.

Here is an overview of the current projects of the department:

Musical and Sound Memory Spaces in the Post-Witness Era: Remembering the Time of National Socialism in Lower Saxony ( Schoop)

The culture of remembrance in Germany is currently facing major changes and challenges. With regard to the National Socialist era, the "era of contemporary witnesses" (Wieviorka 2006) is coming to an end. In the so-called "Post-Witness Era" (Popescu/Schult 2015), new forms of memory work have to be found. Mediatized forms of remembering are taking on an increasingly important role. Music and sound as media of memory are widespread in this context, but have received comparatively little attention in research so far. The project addresses this research gap and investigates the role of music and sound for the remembrance of the time of National Socialism on the threshold of the Post-Witness Era using the example of Lower Saxony. In doing so, it pursues two central goals:

First, drawing on theoretical concepts from cultural memory studies and the sociology of space, the project examines how spaces of memory are created through musical and sonic practices. Methodologically, it draws on ethnography, qualitative content and discourse analysis, and approaches to music, sound, and soundscape analysis, which are brought together in an integrative music and sound analysis. This innovative approach makes it possible to capture the social as well as the sonic and musical dimensions of memory spaces, thus generating groundbreaking insights for the disciplines of cultural memory studies, musicology, and sound studies.

Secondly, in cooperation with central memory actors in Lower Saxony, the project creates a platform for networking and dialogue between science and practice. Together with the Bergen-Belsen Memorial, the Ahlem Memorial and the Moringen Concentration Camp Memorial, workshops for sustainable remembrance work will be conceived, organized and carried out. The workshops will address the challenges of contemporary remembrance culture, reflect on the potential of music and sound for future remembrance work, and develop strategies for action. The potential of music and sound is also tested and implemented in the development of music- and sound-integrated audio guides in cooperation with the Ahlem Memorial. The aim here is both to remember the past critically and to make remembrance culture accessible to new generations and thus fit for the future.

The results of the project are presented at national and international conferences and published in a project publication together with the cooperation partners. In this way, the project will also provide important impulses for remembrance work in the Post-Witness Era outside of Lower Saxony.

Project duration: 2022-2025

Project management: Monika E. Schoop

Project staff: Thomas S. Köhn

Funding: MWK Lower Saxony (Program Pro* Lower Saxony)

Digital-supported practice in the subject classroom: Competent teachers - individualized learning processes (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

As part of the Future Center for Teacher Education (ZZL), CODIP aims to advance the development of subject-didactic digitization-related competencies of (prospective) teachers for the design and implementation of teaching-learning processes. Thereby, a specific focus is placed on digitally supported, individualized practice in subject teaching.

Within the framework of CODIP, teaching concepts in the subjects of German, English, mathematics, music and sports are developed, implemented, evaluated and consolidated. Colleagues from educational science and psychology accompany these projects by researching cross-sectional topics such as the "data literacy" of (prospective) teachers and their willingness to use digital media for individualized practice processes.

The project focuses on the following three main areas:

1. cross-phase work.

The new teaching concepts will be developed in development teams together with actors from the campus schools and campus seminars of Leuphana University of Lüneburg and implemented and tested in practice with the students.

2 Curricular anchoring

The findings of the evidence-based teaching development in the CODIP subprojects in the five teaching subjects, educational science and psychology are to find their way into the curricula of the teacher training subjects. Digitization-related study content will be anchored both as basic competencies and for specialization in a profile study program "Digital Teaching and Learning".

3 Open Educational Resources

The developed teaching concepts and materials will be prepared as Open Educational Resources (OER) and made available to all teacher training institutions in the state of Lower Saxony via the OER portal.

CODIP is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the joint "Quality Offensive Teacher Education" of the federal and state governments (funding code 01JA2002; project management: Prof. Dr. M. Ahlers, Prof. Dr. M. Besser, Prof. Dr. P. Kuhl).

Project page:

Songwriting Camps in the 21st Century (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

This project pioneers research into the commercial collaborative songwriting that takes place in songwriting camps. It explores what forms of songwriting camps exist in the 21st century in the UK and Germany in order to understand the interests of organizers (publishers, record labels, individuals) and participating professionals, the collaborative creative processes and interplay of the different skills of different roles (topliner:s, beatmakers, lyricists, producers), the organization of offline and online camps, economic and legal aspects (e.g., royalty agreements), and the role of songwriting camps within the music industry in general.

Funding is provided by the German Research Foundation and the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Collaboration partners:

Dr. Jan Herbst, University of Huddersfield,

Dr. Simon Barber, Birmingham City University, Simon.Barber@BCU.AC.UK

Funded by the German Research Foundation (Project No. 508326423)

Digitality - Diversity - Producing: Practices of Popular Music in Schools and Further Education (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

The joint project "Digitality - Diversity - Producing: Practices of Popular Music in Schools and Further Education (DiDiPro)" is developing diversity-sensitive further education and training courses for (prospective) music teachers at three university locations with a focus on digital music production. Subproject Lüneburg (LG) develops diversity-sensitive workshops for basic and advanced competencies in the use of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) on mobile and stationary computer systems. As a meta-instrument, the DAW forms the central starting point of current producing practice and opens up possibilities for music educators in all musical areas. Especially with the inclusion of interfaces and controllers, the DAW also enables new forms of music making in schools (Ahlers et al., 2022).

However, unlike in England, there is no tradition in Germany of how the competencies for dealing with music (production) technology can be transferred into curricular structures and how more diverse users - from classically trained musicians to self-taught DJs and producers - can become part of joint creative and performative processes. The TP is part of the music didactics with a focus on popular music at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. It is reflected, iteratively developed and evaluated by a cross-phase development team of students, teachers and university lecturers. Especially in the development and evaluation of alternative interface concepts for music creation or editing, the TP connects to results and preliminary work of the MIDAKUK project (BMBF, 01JKD1708B, 2017-2021). In addition, interfaces to ongoing projects on songwriting camps and artistic research (DFG) and digital-based practice (BMBF 01JA2002) will be used.

Cooperation partners:

University of Oldenburg (coordination), University of Münster.

Funding by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, FKZ: 01JA23K03B

ComeArts | further education through networking - networking through further education (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

In the "ComeNet Arts Musik", further education modules are being developed together with seven universities, which, among other things, promote collegial, professional exchange in schools. Conceptually, the genre-specific, music-theoretical and production-related competencies for music creation as well as diversity-sensitive forms of communication about current music cultures and the teaching of critical digital literacy are taken into account.

The development of concepts and materials for teacher professionalization as well as the in-service training modules resulting from the DBR process take into account not only genre-specific, music-theoretical and production-related competencies for music creation but also diversity-sensitive forms of communication about current music cultures and the teaching of critical digital literacy, which is relevant, for example, for the production, use and reflection of AI-based music software, music hacking practices and collaborative digital songwriting.

One goal of the training modules will be to establish forms of collegial professional exchange in schools in order to enable teaching development and the transformation of "digital identities".

Cooperation partners: University of Cologne, University of Duisburg-Essen (coordination), University of Bielefeld, Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Nürnnberg-Erlangen, Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe, WWU Münster.

Funding by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, FKZ: 01JA23K01C

dialoguing@rts – Advancing Cultural Literacy for Social Inclusion through Dialogical Arts Education (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

d@rts is a catalyst for increasing social cohesion and inclusion, using embodied performing arts activities to develop cognitive and affective cultural literacy. We recognise that the performing arts encompass mass-market consumer goods, as well as non-linguistic, embodied and social activities, providing massive opportunities for inclusive participation.
Our target groups comprise actors of all ages and social positions, especially in the school system and in community arts initiatives. We will empower these groups to be artistically active, dialogically related and culturally literate, giving them tools and motivation to improve their own situations and those of others within the overall frame of a cohesive European society, informed by global perspectives.

Using the post-colonial insight that culture is necessarily heterogeneous, d@rts has four related objectives:
1. Understand how performing arts activities relate to cultural literacy in official discourse and documents across partner countries 2. Use this understanding to build dialogues and co-create physical and digital actions with heterogeneous groups within our target audience
3. Develop assessment tools for these actions, enabling measurable growth in cultural literacy
4. Use our findings in recommendations for cultural and educational policies that build long-term social cohesion and inclusion Based on these objectives, the overall outputs comprise:
1. Documentary, survey and participatory research findings
2. Performative DIALOGART actions for cultural literacy
3. Policy and practice recommendations to increase social cohesion via cultural literacy actions inspired by the performing arts d@rts imagines new futures and creates hope and social cohesion through performing arts education. By creating participatory spaces and facilitating dialogues, we empower voices seldom heard. d@rts thus advances cultural literacy, and enhances social cohesion and resilience, to build an inclusive future for Europe.

Project partners:


Funded by the European Commission (EU HORIZON, topic: CL2-2023-HERITAGE-01-07)

Music Industry Resilience Acceleration Programme (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

The music sector is a bridge between two forces: the arts and business. Only a resilient, interconnected, and innovative music ecosystem can lay the groundwork for artists to thrive, reach new audiences, and be financially successful. The sector is currently challenged by a difficult economic environment brought on by external shocks (COVID- 19, Climate Change) and disruptive technologies. Three main developments endanger its resilience: a shortage of skilled workers; the emergence of new technologies and business models (streaming, AI); and how to green a sector that is based on transnational music exchange. Business support organisations, sectoral agencies and local public authorities have the leverage to increase the sector’s resilience in their local music ecosystems. However, they are lacking knowledge, capacities and tools necessary to put resilience-boosting activities into action.

The solution Music Industry Resilience Acceleration Programme (MI-RAP) will address this challenge through: 1) Tailored training programs/campaigns to provide workers with skills relevant to work in a changing industry 2) Strategies/action plans to foster innovation and inner/cross-sectoral collaborations
3) Guidance to support green practices for resource-intensive music events

The MI-RAP will be available on an online resource hub and transferable to actors outside of the partnership. Its implementation will support music businesses and artists to flourish, be innovative, and prosperous.

Funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme, Co-funded by the European Union

Lüneburg Jazz Histories (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

Together with local actors, contemporary witnesses and initiatives such as the "Jazz IG", the history of Lüneburg's jazz scene is being processed, archived and later presented in exhibitions and other formats.

Following the project of the former employee, Dr. Zuther, an important contribution to regional music history will also be made here.

Sponsor: Sparkassen Foundation Lüneburg

Finished Research Projects:


Here you will find a selection of completed research projects by lecturers in the Department of Music:

Sounding Memories: Nazi-Persecution and Anti-Nazi Resistance in the Music of Contemporary Germany ( Schoop)

The project investigates contemporary musical practices that engage with the memorialization of the Nazi period and WWII in Germany, with a focus on resistance to and persecution by the regime. The project builds upon the premise that people construct representations of the past through musical practices, and takes into account a wide range of musical genres (e.g. singer-songwriters, experimental and art music, punk rock and hip hop), social actors and sociocultural milieus. Considering memory as a mediator between narrated past, lived present and imaged futures, special attention is devoted to the novel musical resources and collective sensibilities mobilized in the process, and to how sounding the memories of the Nazi past offers a critical arena to address current social issues in Germany and in Europe, including racism against immigrants and refugees, the resurgence of far-right and xenophobic movements, and the struggles resulting from socioeconomic marginalization and inequalities based on ethnicity, religion or gender. The project pursues these objectives through four complementary research scenarios, emphasizing different aspects of musical practices of memorialization. These encompass a study of the Sinti and Roma minority (cultural identity), a study of the urban memoryscapes of Berlin (locality), a study of current media practices and musical performances (mediatization/performance), and a study of musical practices and remembrance in Hip Hop (genre/music scenes). 

Project duration: 2017-2020

Principal Inverstigators: Monika E. Schoop (Leuphana University Lüneburg); Federico Spinetti (University of Cologne)

Researchers: Thomas S. Köhn (Leuphana University Lüneburg), Martin Ringsmut (University of Cologne), Sidney König (University of Cologne)

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), project no. 359573469

Musical Interface Designs: Augmented Creativity and Connectivity (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

How professional musicians and music educators make music has fundamentally changed under the conditions of material-digital transformation processes. This concerns not only the music-making things used (instruments, software, apparatuses), but also the coordinates and relationships between physical, sensual, aesthetic, social, and cultural conditions and forms of aesthetic practice (Jörissen 2014). The relations between human and non-human actors in the overall setting of music making are also renegotiated. Professional music educators and musicians thus find new basic conditions for their own musical and music-pedagogical work, which are reflected professionally against the background of a professionally formed musical habitus as well as a highly sensitized physical-practical perception with regard to instrumental music-making on the one hand and new digital-material musical music-making things on the other.

The aim of the project is therefore, on the one hand, to record the status and changes in musical self-concepts and pre-existing attitudes with the help of quantitative methods. On the other hand, by triangulating with qualitative methods, the potential influences of one's own general digital competence as well as instrumental expertise on one's own music making are to be made describable. Based on the discourse on expertization, the focus will also be on the extent to which a musical engagement with digital-material music-making things influences one's own instrumental and playing concept. In this way, music pedagogical connection possibilities, chances and also profession-related resistances and their consequences, potentials and new requirements for professional music pedagogical action are shown.

The questions, which are of central interest, concern

    the change of aesthetic experience and new possibilities of musical-creative expression potentials in individual as well as collective perspective,

    the resulting fundamental consequences, potentials and requirements for professional music pedagogical action under conditions of (post-)digital culture as well as

    forms of digital affirmation and skepticism of professional musicians and music educators in dealing with musical interfaces and technologies.

As subproject 2, the research project is part of the BMBF-funded (10.2017-09.2021) collaborative project of FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg and Leuphana University of Lüneburg on musical interface designs in youth-cultural aesthetic, professional-musical practices and non-formal settings of cultural education. Subproject 1 (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg) focuses on the specific meanings of "post-digital" (Jörissen 2016), hybrid materialities of musical interface designs for aesthetic, creative and artistic practices of contemporary youth cultures. By combining results from youth cultural and professional life and work contexts, not only a comparative perspective is integrated, but also a dense description of the overall phenomenal field of dealing with MusikmachDingen is made possible.

Interview video MIDAKuK subprojects 1 and 2.

Duration: 2017-2021. project collaborator: Carsten Wernicke, M.A.

Funding by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, FKZ: 01JKD1708A.

Profile "Digital Education" (Prof. Dr. Ahlers)

Over the course of the project, the goal is to initially establish a profile study program in the area of "Digital Education" within the Bachelor's program "Teaching and Learning" or to complete the preparatory activities for its establishment. This measure is still unique in Lower Saxony and would symbolically manifest the existing competence of Leuphana University to the outside world and lead to an improved profile of the polyvalent Bachelor's program and thus also to an improved positioning of the graduates in their later fields of work.

The idea of a profile study is understood here as the possibility to deal with aspects of digital education as well as digital teaching and learning settings in a defined amount of time by means of a separately available curriculum and via specially designated course offerings within the teaching subjects, but also in psychology and pedagogy, as well as a final thesis that is as close as possible to the subject area. In the long term, this option is also to be examined and continued in the GHR300 master's program.

For this purpose, the following sub-goals must be achieved during the project

a) The existing expertise at the faculty must be sifted and subsequently assembled in an expert committee that will accompany the development and implementation from a scientific and didactic point of view. In addition to teachers, this also includes institutions such as the teaching service and its digital teaching officer. Furthermore, student representatives can also contribute their needs here. In this committee, the didactic concept of the profile studies will be discussed and an evaluation concept - in cooperation with the Quality Development and Accreditation Office (Team Q) - will be developed prior to its establishment. A "Critical Friend" will be invited for an internal discussion before its completion.

b) Discussions are held with the institutes to identify modules in which offers for profiling - for example in the areas of digital teaching/learning methods, e-learning or subject-related media didactics - can be made on a regular basis.

c) In cooperation with the Dean of Studies of the Faculty of Education and the teaching service, a process for the establishment of the profile study is developed, in which the identified modules and examination components for the acquisition of the profile are mapped and which leads to the committee run and the final establishment of the profile study.

d) to start a public discourse at the university, in which the interdisciplinary and cross-faculty exchange on aspects of digital education and a dissemination of the own expertise(s) and approaches is made possible.

Funding by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture (Innovation Plus (2019/20), number 19).