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Overview of Professional Music Training System in Germany In general

Total number of institutions

Total number of music students

Professional music training in Germany is organised at the 24 ‘Staatlichen Musikhochschulen’. These are autonomous institutions with university status. They fall under responsibility of and are financed by the Bundesländer (states). Because of the ‘Länderhoheit’ (state sovereignty) regarding education, there are many differences in education systems within the federal State of Germany. In addition, during the last five years many changes took place, such as the transition from a 3-cycle to a 2-cycle system in the field of arts education, which makes it even more difficult to get a clear overview on the system for professional music training. Entry into professional music training is arranged through entrance exams, which normally take place after secondary education has been completed. For very talented young musicians there is the possibility to enter in preconservatoire training at the Musikhochschule already during their secondary education. In Germany, there are no tuition fees, although this situation is currently very much under discussion. Professional Music training in Germany is arranged in different streams, by which the student has the possibility to choose to study for instrument pedagogue, performing artist or music teacher in secondary education. After the first study cycle of five years, there is the possibility to follow a postgraduate course leading to the ‘Konzertexamen’. The recognised tradition of the German Musikhochschulen and their artistically highly qualified international staff makes Germany attractive for students from abroad, which is shown by the large share of foreign students. Universities are also responsible for several subjects related to music, such as music science. Many universities in Germany have undergone or are undergoing the change to a Bachelor/Master system. The Musikhochschulen however did so far not adjust to these developments, mainly because a national law which prescribes that a Master degree can take a maximum of 5 years, meaning that the BaMa system has to become 4+1 or 3+2 years. This means the whole system of Hochschule-education as described above - has to change, preferably to a Bachelor of 4 years. The main issue in the discussions is the maintenance and further development of the high standards in arts education.

In Germany there are 24 Musikhochschulen, and 10 Hochschulen für Kirchenmusik (church music). There are furthermore 7 private conservatoires and 58 universities and other Hochschulen which teach music or music science.

The Musikhochschulen and the Hochschulen für Kirchenmusik have in total


app. 22.000 students Funding

The German Musikhochschulen are financed by the State.


The curriculum at German Musikhochschulen is controlled by the State.

2-cycle system

The 2-cycle system is at the moment under development, as described above.

3rd cycle

At the moment there is not a PhD offered in professional music training, some institutions however are considering the possibility to develop the Konzert exam into a PhD.

Credit point system

Some institutions make use of a credit transfer system, but only for exchange students like in the Erasmus Programme. Some institutions are planning to introduce a credit point system as a credit accumulation system.

Quality assurance

Evaluation was introduced in the 1990s at the L채nder level (the sixteen German federal states) and accreditation was introduced in 1999-2000 as part of the Bachelors/Masters agenda. Programme approval is valid for five years, after which reaccreditation has to take place. The Accreditation Council sets nationally valid standards for accreditation procedures based on the decisions of the standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Culture (the organizing institution for the sixteen federal states). The Council does not carry out accreditation reviews itself, but it does accredit agencies (based on a number of criteria) which then carry out the actual procedures at the institutions. At present there are six agencies in Germany, three which cover all subject areas, and three specialized (one for natural sciences/math/informatics/engineering [including architecture], one for business studies, and one for health and social work). Music institutions are reviewed by the general agencies. Quality Assurance is discipline specific but institutional accreditation is expected to be introduced in the near future. The process is obligatory and public, and makes use of a self-evaluation report and of visitations by peers, who do not receive any special training for this purpose.

Academic year

The academic year is divided into 2 semesters: Wintersemester: Beginning October until middle February Summer semester: Beginning April until middle July These dates will differ in the different Bundes States.

Germany - Professional Music Training System  

Total number of institutions In Germany there are 24 Musikhochschulen, and 10 Hochschulen für Kirchenmusik (church music). There are further...

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