Classical Bachelor's Degree Programme

The Bachelor of Music course consists of a propaedeutic year (first academic year) and a main phase (second, third and fourth academic years). The propaedeutic year has an introductory nature, and may lead to students being advised not to continue their conservatory study. The propaedeutic examination concludes the first year of study.

During the main phase (second-fourth year) the required subjects are evaluated annually by means of in between exams. The learning track is determined in close consultation with the principal subject teacher.

A bachelor's diploma in music will be conferred on candidates who have successfully completed the vocal/instrumental principal study programmes. This also applies to the principal subjects of conducting and composition.


In addition to private lessons with the principal study teacher, lessons in ensemble playing are an essential part of the course. Students are offered ample opportunity to gain experience in a wide variety of ensembles, including the symphony orchestra, chamber music groups, baroque ensembles and contemporary music ensembles. Secondary subjects like piano, first- and second-year choir, drama, thoroughbass and conducting ensembles are also among the practical subjects.

Subjects such as solfège, analysis, harmony, counterpoint and music history help students develop their inner ear and musical perception. Contemporary music is given much attention, especially within the framework of subjects like analysis, music history and cultural history.

Active participation in chamber music forms a significant part of the Classical study programme. In consultation with their principal study teachers, students are encouraged themselves to take as much initiative as possible in integrating chamber music into their all-round programme. During the bachelor's programme students perform two chamber music works a year for an examining committee. This generally takes place during the chamber music examinations held in December and April. The bachelor's programme includes certain compulsory projects, intended to accomplish two major goals. A primary objective is to gain experience of chamber music written in widely contrasting periods, including twenty-first-century music and even works composed in the student's own composition class. An added aim is to impart students with the realization that a historical and analytical understanding of compositions can be of benefit to performance.

With the Bachelor' s Diploma in Music of the CvA students are qualified to teach at a music school or centre for artistic education.

Methodology, pedagogy and internships are part of the programme and help to create a solid foundation for those wishing to establish their own teaching practice or to work in music education in the broadest sense of the word. In addition, the student prepares himself for the practical and business aspects of the music profession. A special programme - the entrepreneurial artist (DOK - De Ondernemende Kunstenaar) - has been designed to help students develop all the skills required in professional music life. This programme is supported by the website, which has been developed in cooperation with Kunstenaars & CO. The DOK programme can be structured to a large extent by the students themselves.

Students who already have a Bachelor's Diploma in Music and who start their studies in the first or second year, will take the pedagogical subjects unless they can prove that they have succesfully completed a similar programme. For more information please contact the Pedagogical subjects coordinator of the department concerned.

Part of the study programme can be tailored to the students' own wishes. Thus the programme may focus in particular on chamber music, ensemble projects, orchestral playing, historical performance, world music, improvisation, live electronics, studio technique and instruments related to the principal-study instrument. More in-depth study of theoretical or educational aspects is also possible.

To give an example of the possibilites within this part of the study programme, this video shows students participating in an educational internship in children's day care nurseries.

The Coaching Department has a supporting and integral function in the Classical study programme. The répétiteurs provide piano accompaniment for all instruments where necessary. Their task is also partly pedagogical: in consultation with the principal study teacher, they provide a supplement to the student's principal private lessons. In this regard, aspects such as performing prepared repertoire in performance situations, stage presence, practice techniques and musical understanding of the relationship between the solo voice and orchestra are addressed. An overview of the répétiteurs' time allotment per principal subject will be made available at the beginning of the academic year. The student will find the name of his/her répétiteur on the schedule and is responsible for making the first appointment

The subsidiary subject of piano helps students taking the general theoretical subjects and allows them to develop accompanying skills in relation to the principal instrument which they will need in the music world. The course lasts for three years. For students whose principal subject is voice, orchestral conducting or theory, the course lasts for four years. At the end of each academic year, the students' progress is assessed by means of an individually administered examination. Following the final year, the student will conclude this subject with a performance lasting approximately twenty minutes during which he/she will present a varied programme. Accompanying vocal and/or instrumental compositions is a required component of the interim and final examinations. The student's proficiency in harmony at the piano will also be evaluated.


Throughout the course of study high priority is given to ensemble and chamber music playing. Each year sees the formation of orchestras and ensembles. Intensive orchestral and chamber music projects take place during which a varied programme is studied. In recent years the CvA has embarked on intensive collaborations with professional venues and specialized ensembles and festivals. Orchestras and ensembles of the CvA regularly collaborate with professional ensembles and frequently appear at festivals at home and abroad. 

Players in the Symphony Orchestra participate in two annual projects which focus on developing a varied repertoire. Each project involves performances in the Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, the Concertgebouw, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, deSingel in Antwerp and other major music centres in the Netherlands and abroad.

The autumn project focuses on late-Romantic and twentieth-century repertoire; the spring project features Classical and early-Romantic works. The orchestra is conducted by renowned guests, such as Ed Spanjaard, Otto Tausk, and Adrian Prabava, as well as conservatory staff.

Brass and woodwind students acquire orchestral experience in the Wind Ensemble. Each project is concluded with a public concert. First years' string and wind players are offered elementary training in the First Years' String and Wind Orchestra also culminating in a concert. There is also a percussion group, CvA-Percussion, and especially for brass students there is the brass ensemble CvA-Brass.

Score Collective is an ensemble formed by the best master's degree students of the CvA. The repertoire consists of music from the past fifty years, including new works by composition students.

Early Music students have ample opportunity to obtain ensemble and orchestral experience, in smaller (chamber) music ensembles, but also in more extensive settings such as in the Sweelinck Baroque Orchestra, which yearly gives several concerts throughout the country. Through cooperation with the Utrecht Conservatory, students of both schools may participate in each other's projects.

The Classical Department has several choirs: the first year ensemble for the first year vocal students, the choir practicum for conducting students, and the choir for all other first and second year students.

Programme details

Study load
240 credits

Study length
4 years, full-time

Language of instruction
Dutch and English

CROHO code
34739 (B Music)

Bachelor of Music