Studying music in Amsterdam
All those who choose to study at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA) opt for a multi-faceted programme with plenty of scope for personal development. Supervision by first-class teachers and a stimulating environment will ensure that students develop into top-class musicians performing at the highest level. Thanks to many special projects, a strong relationship between theory and practice is guaranteed during the course. Students benefit from the high quality of education within the conservatoire and from the rich cultural climate of Amsterdam. As a result, they not only train to become excellent musicians or teachers, but also versatile artists with a wide set of skills.
Approximately twelve hundred students from the Netherlands and abroad take courses at the CvA in the fields of classical music, jazz, early music, opera, Latin and pop music. The many special projects during their studies will provide them with real-life experience of the industry. For example, they get to perform in the Concertgebouw, the Bimhuis, the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, the Beurs van Berlage, Melkweg or Paradiso.
The atmosphere at CvA is very international. A large number of foreign students come to study in Amsterdam for a period of time and many of our students spend a few months to a year studying at a conservatoire abroad. The CvA collaborates with academic institutions all over the world. Moreover, we regularly invite guest teachers from the Netherlands and abroad to lead workshops, clinics and master classes.
Bachelor’s and Master’s programme
The educational programme consists of two phases: a four-year bachelor’s degree course and a two-year master’s degree course. The master’s degree is open to a limited number of talented students. The bachelor’s and master’s degree courses provide a thorough preparation for the profession of teaching, performing arts and/or creative musician. During both phases there is ample room for personal choices and students are given the opportunity to explore new avenues.
Preparatory course, Young Talent, other courses
Prior to the professional training, there is a preparatory course in which students can acquire the instrumental and/or vocal skills, musical comprehension and theoretical knowledge necessary for successfully completing the entrance examination of the bachelor’s degree programme. The Sweelinck Academy (classical) and the Junior Jazz College (jazz) are open to very talented children who are ready to take lessons at conservatoire level at a young age.
The CvA also offers opportunities for further training and contract tuition for professional musicians who wish to acquire or stay updated on specific knowledge and skills. Every summer musicians from outside the conservatoire can also follow a Summer Jazz Workshop or an Early Music Summer School.
More information about these study programmes can be obtained from the relevant departments.
Practical experience in the professional field
The Conservatorium van Amsterdam organises and facilitates a variety of festivals, masterclasses, courses and workshops. Participants from our own country and from all over the world make these into exciting events and we work together with leading venues and concert halls. For example, we organise projects with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Nationale Opera en Ballet, the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw and MOJO. Furthermore, students perform in venues such as the Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Bimhuis, Melkweg, Paradiso and other leading international venues.
Through our contacts with top music schools all over the world, students can participate in exchange programmes at other renowned conservatoires. Master’s jazz students can participate in the European EUJAM programme at the conservatoires of Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and Trondheim.
Many graduates find a place in mixed professional practices. They form chamber music ensembles, jazz or pop bands; play in orchestras; teach private lessons or lessons and workshops at music schools; set up projects; lead their own ensembles or choirs or find work in cultural management or as music journalists. During the course a lot of attention is paid to solid preparation for the practical and business aspects of the professional music industry, which is constantly evolving.
Students of the ‘Music in Education’ programme are primarily trained to teach music in primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. An important new field of work is the development and implementation of educational programmes at large music institutions. Many graduates also work as choral conductors, music consultants, ‘Algemene Muzikale Vorming’ (AMV) teachers (teachers of general musical education) at music schools, leaders of instrumental ensembles, in social-cultural work or in cultural management. Another option is creating and performing ‘community music’ with amateurs and professionals. Students who aspire to this qualification can follow the interdisciplinary Master’s in Arts Education at the Amsterdam School of the Arts after obtaining their bachelor’s degree.
for Dutch students
Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA)
The Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA) is part of the Amsterdam University of Arts. The CvA has (limited) various scholarships available for students who need financial support for their studies, and for exceptionally talented students.
In addition, the conservatoire has the following funds at its disposal:
- the Musicians of Tomorrow Foundation to support children and young people with exceptional musical talent on their way to the concert podium;
- the Nuijts Foundation offers financial support to under-18 students of the Young Talent department, who play the piano or a string instrument;
- the Jacques Vonk Fund, for piano students in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam for the benefit of studies in general, a study period abroad or a special project; and
- the Foundation Music is More Support Fund, to support students who have run into financial difficulties due to the corona crisis.
More information can be found on the Funds and Scholarships page of the CvA website.
Amsterdam University of Arts
Have you fallen behind with your studies due to special circumstances? In some cases, students from the Amsterdam University of the Arts may be able to obtain financial support through the Profileringsfonds.
DUO study grants
Sometimes special circumstances prevent you from graduating on time. Or you may even have to stop studying altogether. Under those circumstances, DUO (Student Finance Department) may make an exception to the rules of the performance-related grants. Strict legal conditions apply to this ‘performance grant provision’. For more information, visit the DUO website on study delays.
For students outside the EU
Holland Scholarship – aimed at international students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to do their bachelor’s or master’s degree in the Netherlands.
More information in English can be found on AHK.nl: click here.
Financial support for interfaculty projects
Would you like to involve students from other academies in your graduation project? Or have you always wanted to work with students from other academies? Then the AHK can offer financial support your project from the budget for interfaculty projects. This budget was created to give students the opportunity to look beyond the confines of their own academy.
Cooperation between students from different academies often results in special projects and valuable experience. Students who would like to set up their own project in collaboration with students from another academy can receive a financial contribution of up to €1,000 including VAT. To be considered, you can submit an application on firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about what the application should include can be found on the AHK intranet MyAHK.nl. You will need to log in with your student account.
If you are at least 18 years old, enrolled on a full-time course and meet a number of conditions, you can apply for Student Finance via DUO. To do so you will need:
- a DigiD, a personal login code for the entire government. You can apply on digid.nl and it will take at least three working days;
- a personal OV-chipcard, to upload the student travel allowance.
You can apply for this in two ways:
- directly on the government website: Duo; or
- through Studielink: this will enable you to register for the study programme, arrange payment of the tuition fees and apply for the student grant at the same time.
Please note that registration for the CoA courses needs to be done through https://www.conservatoriumvanamsterdam.nl/apply/aanmelding/.
- Study finance page of the AHK
- Website DUO (Study Financing), about what exactly the study financing entails
Are you not (or no longer) entitled to a study grant and are you under 56 years old? Then you may be able to borrow money to pay for your tuition fees. See: life-long learning credit.
Do you want to stop your study financing?
Then you must do two things: stop your study financing and convert your student public transport card into a regular public transport card. You can arrange this yourself via DUO stop funding.
Are you a non-Dutch national, who lives, studies or works in the Netherlands?
If so, you may be eligible for study financing via DUO. This depends on the following 3 things:
- your nationality or residence status;
- your age;
- the course that you are following.
The conditions are listed on the financial information pages of the AHK website.
STIP – Student information point of the CvA
If you have a practical question about studying at the CvA and you don’t know where to find the information you need, send an email to email@example.com. We will do her best to answer your questions – e.g., on housing, insurance etc. – or refer you to the student information desk.
The Student Information Centre is located on the 10th floor.
Mondays to Thursdays, 11.00-15.00 o’clock
Student counsellor of the CvA
The CvA student counsellor provides information and guidance to students on both practical and personal matters relating to study conditions and student life.
If you are experiencing problems during your studies, the student counsellor will work together with you to try and find possible solutions, so that you may proceed with your studies as best as you can or for you to decide to defer or discontinue your studies. Conversations with the student counsellor are confidential and personal information is handled with great sensitivity. Generally speaking: the sooner you reach out, the better you can be advised.
Students can approach the counsellors about the following issues, among other things:
- problems with your study (including an imminent delay in study completion);
- exceptional circumstances, such as illness, psychological problems or other impairments;
- possible changes to the educational programme, or the manner of assessment or testing;
- enrolment and termination of enrolment, stopping or deferring your studies;
- regulations regarding the propaedeutic year/first year of the degree programme and binding study advice (BSA);
- In case of unforeseen problems with the financing of your study;
- information about health insurance;
- complaints and appeal procedures;
- legislations and regulations.
The CvA student counsellor is Heleen de Kam. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study association CODA
CODA is the study association for and run by CvA students. All CvA students can become a member.
PURPOSE: connecting students from different study programmes and study years with each other socially and musically.
- Connecting socially: drinks on the first Thursday of every month, parties, interdisciplinary musical events and a members’ weekend.
- Connecting musically: study-related events and workshops.
More information and registration: www.coda-cva.nl or in the corridors.
The Conservatorium van Amsterdam has more than one hundred bilateral contracts with partner institutions all over the world. As part of these collaborations the CvA organises exchange programmes, which enable CvA students to study abroad for a semester and students from our partner universities to spend a semester at the CvA. An extensive overview of partners within and outside Europe can be found on the CvA website.
CvA students can study a semester abroad at one of our partner institutions, depending on placement options and completion of the required courses at the CvA. Information about the application procedure and deadlines can be found on MyAHK (under ‘Going abroad’) or by contacting the Internationalisation coordinator.
Ruth Graf-Fleet – internationalisation coordinator
The British departure from the European Union (the Brexit) on 31 January 2020 has consequences for UK citizens who want to study in the Netherlands. Your rights are regulated on the basis of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which the EU and the UK have concluded. In this agreement no agreements are made about studying from 1 January 2021 onwards. UK citizens are therefore treated the same as non-EU/EEA citizens. Whether you are entitled to study financing and statutory tuition fees depends on your residence permit. In most cases, you will not be entitled to statutory tuition fees and study funding.
For the most up-to-date information, please visit the central government’s page on Brexit and higher education.
The Amsterdam School of the Arts (AHK) can support students who have been admitted to a preparatory programme, or a bachelor’s or master’s degree programme with their visa and residence permit applications.
The AHK Central Student Administration can act as an intermediary between the applicant and the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
You can find more information on the visa procedures webpage of the AHK.