If you want to study music, you will find a variety of studies offered at music and art academies, conservatories and at universities.

The study field at a glance

The Music Department is divided into three areas: music-practical or artistic, music-pedagogical and -science courses. The aim of practical-artistic and pedagogical training is to prepare for an artistic or music-pedagogical profession and to impart the required technical knowledge, skills and methods. In contrast, musicology includes primarily the theoretical and historical aspects of music.

  • In the artistic study programs of instrumental music (solo, orchestral and chamber music) as well as in the study programs of church music, singing (solo, choir) and conducting (choir and orchestra conducting), the first priority is the development of the musical practice abilities on the respective area. There are also study courses for becoming a répétiteur (coaching singers and playing the piano for music and production rehearsals) and composition. In all courses ear training and aural skills, as well as music theory such as music history and harmony are taught.
  • In social work skilled workers who can design, accompany and initiate musical-social educational programs are increasingly required. Therefore, the music pedagogical courses convey not only musicological and music practical but also socio-pedagogical knowledge. This means that you not only gain theoretical but also practical knowledge. In addition to ear training or music history in these courses students learn how to introduce children and adults to music.
  • The historical-scientific field is divided into music history, systematic musicology and musical folklore and ethnology — such as music ethnology, ethnomusicology, and world music.
  • Music teachers at general schools are also educated at music academies and conservatories but also at universities. In addition, teachers at music schools and free-lance music teachers are trained. At state conservatoires, as well as at church universities, church musicians such as coral conductors or organists with B (necessary for becoming a full time job at church) and A (becoming a cantor at main churches) level are educated.

Offered courses

The artistic and pedagogical bachelor’s programs are usually at music academies and conservatoires, sometimes at universities or pedagogical universities. Possible names for the study programs are: Early Music, Historical Instruments, Choral Conducting, Conducting, Orchestral Conducting, Singing, Opera / Concert, Instrumental Music (e.g. accordion, wind instruments / percussion, guitar, woodwind, piano, strings), Jazz, Pop and World Music, Classical Music, Folk Music, Church Music, Electronic Composition, Film Music and Sound Design, Opera Repertoire, Vocal Pedagogy, Instrumental Pedagogy, Music Pedagogy, Music Education, Musical, Music Research and Media Practice, Music Theory and Ear Training, Applied Musicology.

Contents of the course

Depending on the course of study, for example, the following contents are offered for practical-artistic music studies:

  • Conducting, choral conducting: choral conducting, orchestral conducting, coaching, score reading, musical work analysis
  • Singing: Vocal didactics and methodology, breathing and movement technique, speech training, singing, university and chamber choir
  • Instrumental music: strings, wind instruments, piano, harp, percussion, musical analysis, ear training, ensemble, music history, music theory
  • Composition: instrumental composition, electronic composition, music theory, music history
  • In music education programs, for example, these contents are on the syllabus: rhythmic, didactic, organology (such as guitar or piano), social pedagogical foundations, music education, speech training, body training, and music psychology.
  • The historical-scientific field is divided into the basics and methods of musicology, music history or historical musicology, systematic musicology, music and mediality, notation and source studies as well as musical folklore and ethnology.

Admission criteria & study application

The artistic qualification related to the degree program must be proven during auditions. Above all, an educable singing and speaking voice, the mastery of a major and secondary instrument, good hearing and knowledge of the general music and harmony theory are expected. If there is an outstanding artistic talent, the A-Level (school leaving certificate) is not required. This only applies to courses that end don’t end with the state examination entitling to become a teacher. (In these cases the “Abitur” is compulsory).

For the education of free-lance music teachers other regulations apply.

Possible careers after graduation

Graduates of this field of study can work in the fields of music, singing, composition, music education, journalism and editing.

Employment opportunities can also be found in the field of drama, dance, movement art or theater, film and television production.

Music teachers work at general education schools. Other employment opportunities outside the school services are limited, e.g. in the media, in record companies or music publishers.

Highly gifted and well-educated graduates of music studies work as solo vocalists, conductors, choir masters and conductors at opera houses, music theaters, state and private orchestras or as music teachers and private music teachers. Professional musicians are also needed for amateur choirs and entertainment music.