Notodden - Full time

Could you imagine yourself studying blues music at university level? As the only university in Europe, USN is proud to be able to offer a blues programme at its Notodden Campus.

Study facts

  • Progression of study: Full time
  • Campus: Notodden
  • Teaching model: On Campus
  • Application code: Non-EU 6256, and EU/EEA 6246
  • Study level: One- and half-year-programmes
  • Credits: 60
  • Closing dates: Expired
  • Start up: Autumn 2024
  • Teaching Language: English
  • Semesters: 2

Why the Blues?

The programme is suitable for singers, band members or solo musicians. During the entire programme you will be mentored by teachers from the Little Steven’s Blues School – competent teachers with extensive experience of stage and studio, as well as master classes and mentoring by both national and international artists. The blues programme at USN offers you a unique opportunity to explore the musical and cultural universe of the blues, together with other students.

Why Notodden?

Audience at Notodden Blues Festival

Notodden is renowned as Europe’s number one blues destination. In partnership with the Notodden Blues Festival, students will have the opportunity to participate in the festival, as well as in jam sessions and concerts throughout the year. Notodden library has an award-winning blues collection, which includes a huge volume of blues literature and LPs and many artefacts donated by both artists and private individuals. In the fabled Juke Joint Studio, students will make recordings on legendary recording equipment, including equipment from the famous Stax Studio in Memphis. 

What will you learn in the Blues Programme?

Over a period of two semesters you will engage in in-depth studies of the styles and traditions of blues music. Performing and collective music-making are key components of the blues programme. 

You will develop meaningful reflections regarding the significance of this unique Afro-American music on the evolution of popular music. Afro-American music will also be placed in a societal context in which the students, through historical analysis and reflection, establish a broad basis for understanding Afro-American culture in terms of both the past and the present. 

Once you have completed your studies as a blues student, you will be knowledgeable about one of the most fundamental musical genres to permeate contemporary popular music. 

Performance and music-making

Together with your fellow students, you will broaden your skills on your main instrument through group interaction and as a band member. The teachers will provide both individual and group mentoring.

Bluesstudenter opptrer på Notodden Blues Festival

There will be scope for creativity and personality regarding how you solve the various musical tasks, while it is also important that you can place the music in a historical perspective and recognise key elements and artists.

In cooperation with the Notodden Blues Festival, you will have the opportunity to perform concerts at various venues in the town throughout the year. 

Studio work

Another key element of the programme is creating music and recording it in a studio. USN is proud to have the opportunity to use the Notodden Blues Festival’s renowned Juke Joint Studio in the Book & Blues House once a month during both semesters. Using analogue music technology – such as vintage microphones, rare backlines, tape recorders and old plate reverb – in conjunction with state-of-the-art digital technology, you will make your own studio recordings together with others or on your own. 

Juke Joint Studio

Notodden Campus also has his own studio that you are free to use while you are studying. In tandem with the sessions in the Juke Joint Studio, you will be able to work in the studio on campus.

Reflection and immersion in the blues

As well as learning about the different traditions and styles of the blues genre, you will have the opportunity to identify and strengthen your own personal form of expression.

You will also create a project assignment using relevant issues to reflect on the historical and societal role of the blues in popular and contemporary culture. The assignment can either be prepared as a solo or group work and can be submitted as either a musical performance or in the form of a written paper.


In this subject you will acquire an understanding of the bluegrass tradition through listening, imitation, interpretation and in-depth study from a historical perspective. We use the main instrument and voice in order to gain an in-depth understanding of how grooves and harmonics progress through a set of reference songs. Acquiring fundamental skills in bluegrass will give you the key to solving musical challenges way beyond this genre.

Further work and educational opportunities

Once you have completed your studies, you can continue studying or work in music and education. You will be able to use your skills for both performing and teaching. 

You can also take a Bachelor in Folk Music in Rauland. The One-Year Study Programme in Blues will then count as part of the Bachelor degree. With 180 ECTS, you can take a PPU (practical teacher training) and become a teacher in years 5 to 13. The universities in Agder and Oslo offer music degrees at both master and PhD level.

Study Plan

A study plan describes the content, structure and organization of a study programme. To each study plan there is a set of subject plans that describe the different subjects. In the subject plan you will also find a reading list. Below you will find a study model that shows you which subjects that are taught each term. In the study model you'll also find links to each subject plan.

warning The study plan for "2024 autumn" is not published yet. To give you an indication of the structure of this study we are showing you a study plan from a previous year.
Study plan for 2023 autumn

warning The study model for "2024 autumn" is not published yet. To give you an indication of the structure of this study we are showing you a model from a previous year.

Admission requirements

In addition to fulfilling general admission requirements, applicants must complete two rounds of auditions to be qualified for the programme. Full guidelines for the auditions can be found here.

The programme is also open to exchange students nominated from one of USN’s international partner institutions. Exchange students may enrol for one semester (30 ECTS) or a full year (60 ECTS). More information about nomination and application procedures can be found here. 

Any questions?