Master in Musical Leadership

The Master in Musical Leadership is a new principal subject course within the Master of Music degree. The target group comprises students holding a Bachelor of Music in Education (ODM) or Bachelor of Music who have an ambition to do a Master's degree with an emphasis on project-oriented work. Key features are: 
• subject-design oriented approach;
• enhancement of the student's own musical expertise and leadership;
• firm foundation in practice, with at least two social music projects;
• participation and musical inclusion;
• strengthening of a professional practice, where making music and creative entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand.
The Master course offers the knowledge and skills required to be able to lead musical projects in a range of community settings. 

The Master in Musical Leadership is a programme for music teachers and musicians who are keen to enhance and enrich their expertise in music pedagogy as well as their musical signatures. The Master is therefore closely linked to the Bachelor degree programmes in Music and Music in Education. We offer a practical and reflective teaching environment over a two-year programme (120 credits). The course centres around musical production, leadership and research within a socio-cultural context or else concentrating on school/non-school work. As a musical leader, the student will be dealing with a range of target groups within society. The starting points will be the student's own interests and fascinations. From there, the Master programme focuses on topical (social) community themes such as participation and inclusion. We zoom in on the creative process and the resources (practical, theoretical and research-related) that are needed to set up and accomplish a participatory project as a musical leader.

These projects are the stepping-stones from which other modules are offered. Individual coaching sessions are interspersed with working groups, seminars, masterclasses, research modules and tailored music-making courses.

Vision: Participation, Connection, Inclusion

The master programme is based fairly and squarely on the connective power of music. Music resonates with every single person. Music is a vehicle for endless amounts of music-making, from which we consciously or subconsciously arrive at shared experiences and meanings. Music lets us forge connections - with the world outside, with one another (for instance at musical festivals), with the past (those suffering from dementia), with events in a particular place or culture, with our souls and emotions, and with beauty and aesthetics.

Musical inclusion
The study programme accordingly concentrates on musical inclusion, on making practical music-making and musical experiences accessible by and for a wide range of groups in society, including the socially disadvantaged. Empowerment, social integration, participation and equality all play a crucial part. Musical inclusion assumes equivalent participation by everyone involved, irrespective of gender, cultural background, age, talent or ability. Possibilities are key here, rather than limitations.

The Core: Five Building Blocks of Musical Leadership

Artistic practice: extending and enhancing the student's own musical expertise and signature, to enhance musical leadership.

Project management: chaordic project management, knowledge of leadership styles, theory of organisation, preparing stakeholder analyses and business modelling.

Music pedagogy: pointers for formulating music education projects, particularly employing perspectives from 'positive psychology' in designing social music projects.

Socio-cultural context: insight into the environmental factors (at micro, median and macro levels) that have an impact on the aims and results of the community music project.

Research: design-oriented research, such as design thinking and frame innovation.

The Project

Working on projects is a key element of the course of study. The student initiates two projects: one in the first year and another in the second year. The student is looking for projects that can provide an innovative impulse to the field of community music, proceeding from starting points of participation, connection and inclusion.  
A project might be an inter-generational ‘choir for young and old’; a project where refugees and local residents compose musical narratives together; a musical project where people with some form of handicap present a musical performance that makes them heard; setting up an inclusive project ensemble that concentrates on urgent questions from socio-cultural contexts, ranging from hospitals to local neighbourhoods; producing a musical event with the residents of a care home and their local neighbours.

The project then allows an examination of what will be needed to enhance and enrich the expertise that the student already possesses. This may be divided partly between a fixed course programme and partly meeting the student's own individual learning requirements. This may mean that the accent for one student is on the music pedagogical element, while with another student the focus may shift to project management, further development of musical artistry, research or identifying socio-cultural contexts. 

For each project, students must: 
• initiate, set up, implement and lead the projects themselves;
• consciously address and deploy their own artistic signature;
• apply expertise in music pedagogy, appropriate to the nature of the project;
• demonstrate a connection within the community environment
• enter into structural collaborative arrangements with the relevant stakeholders;
• develop a project plan with a realistic business model.

Social music projects bring practice, theory and research together. Practice indicates the musical projects that the student personally initiates and carries through. The objectives here are to enhance individual musical expertise, musical leadership and musicianship. Theory includes all the knowledge and information required to support and keep developing musical leadership. This encompasses theories on musical leadership, theory of organisation and management and musical theory. Research means design-based research, i.e. the systematic and integrated development of solutions to problems in practice. Musical leadership is articulated through topic-based research, allowing students to position their projects in a broader research context.

Relevance of the Master in Musical Leadership

The programme will equip you:
• to set up and lead community music projects that are relevant to and supported by society;
• to work on the basis of a vision of participation, connection and inclusion;
• to be eminently employable as a professional in cultural and educational institutions, orchestras and ensembles, community settings and as an independent entrepreneur.

This means that the Master links up closely with the Bachelor of Music in Education (ODM) and the Bachelor of Music.

Practical Information

Please click here for the application deadline.


To be eligible for the Master in Musical Leadership, students must already hold a Bachelor in Music in Education or a Bachelor of Music degree. Candidates should submit a covering letter explaining their reasons for wishing to take the course, a social music project proposal in music education and a portfolio when applying.

The project proposal must satisfy these requirements:
• the project proposal has and is embedded in a clear socio-cultural context;
it should involve a range of stakeholders;
• the student will be the musical leader;
• target groups and objectives will be clearly formulated.

The entrance exam comprises the following elements:
• the candidate must make a pitch for the project proposal;
the committee will assess the portfolio. The portfolio must clearly demonstrate artistic qualities, skills in music pedagogy and entrepreneurial qualities;
• an admission interview where motivation, the project proposal and the portfolio are all discussed.

Pelase click here for the date of the entarnce exam.

The Master course lasts two years, is full-time and is worth 120 study credits (2 x 60) divided across five domains:
1. social music projects;
2. making music: artistic practice combined with personal artistic development and the projects;
3. theory in:
a. working groups and thematic seminars dealing with project management, music pedagogy, current developments in the field
b. intervision meetings covering the progress of projects, analyses, pitches and so on;
4. research, linked to the projects;
5. electives.

Completion of this Master programme leads to the international degree of Master of Music (MMus). 

Please contact Adri Schreuder for more information.