Principal-study pianists are trained as soloists, orchestra musicians and accompanists in all spheres of the musical profession and as improvisers in modern jazz settings as well. Alongside the principal study there are special technical courses which focus on composed music, piano technique and sight-reading.
Teachers are Rob van Bavel, Karel Boehlee, Hans Vroomans, Harmen Fraanje, and for technique Gert Jan Vermeulen and Laurens de Man. Aaron Parks is regular guest teacher/Artist in Residence of the piano section. Gerald Clayton en David Virelles.Over the past years guest teachers have included Brad Mehldau, Jason Moran, Joey Calderazzo, Larry Goldings, Danilo Perez, Vijay Iyer, Gerald Clayton, David Virelles and Jozef Dumoulin.
Co-ordinator: Harmen Fraanje
Candidates will be selected beforehand by means of a recording of three pieces to be uploaded to the application form by the candidate. At least two of these pieces should be in the jazz idiom; the third one is the candidate's choice. If the candidate's playing on the recording does not match the required level, they will not be invited to the entrance examination.
Please note: candidates will not be admitted solely on the basis of the recording; being invited to the entrance exam does not mean candidates are admitted to the school.
During the entrance examination, the candidate is tested on:
1. Playing skill
a. The committee will choose from three pieces from standard jazz repertoire prepared by the candidate (among which one blues and one ballad), in which the candidate shows the committee that he/she both masters the instrument and has a reasonable rhythmic, harmonic and melodic understanding.
b. Two pieces from the classical repertoire, or written out jazz etudes and solos (bring 4 copies of sheet music for the committee).
The committee reserves the right to interrupt the candidate's playing as according to the committee, he/she has supplied enough information (because of the limited time of 30 minutes). Therefore it is important for the candidate to show his/her skills as quickly as possible: not too many and/or too long solos of fellow players, no unnecessary repetitions.
2. Hearing, tempo/timing and reading skills
This may consist of:
- repeating by ear lines and chords
- accompanying by ear an unknown, simple piece, without any previous information
- filling in (with a logical bass line) of a harmonic progression to given chord symbols
- being able to play a given piece (melody and chord symbols)
The committee supplements the examination with some exercises which must show the candidate's skills which have not been sufficiently disclosed up till then.
The possibilities to follow a principal subject study will be discussed by the committee. Important issues for the assessment are:
- musicality, hearing and melodic understanding
- feeling for rhythm and tempo
- affinity with the instrument and the music styles which are directly connected with this instrument
but besides these also:
- creative skills (arrangements and improvisation)
- knowledge of chords (major, minor, dominant seventh and half diminished chords with their augmentations) and playing skill of chords (two-hand voicing)
- technique, among which fingering, toucher, major and minor scales, broken chords
- sight reading (chords, notes and rhythm)
The candidate must submit via the application form three links (YouTube, Soundlink etc). to audio or video recordings of their performances. On the basis of these materials, the committee will assess the candidate's level. If the candidate's level meets the requirements for the master's degree programme, the candidate may be invited to do a practical audition. In this audition, the candidate will play three pieces, including:
- one original composition
- one jazz standard *)
*) originality and a high level of improvising are required
Candidates may bring their own accompaniment. It is also possible to make use of a conservatory trio; if you wish to do so, please state this on the application form.