Public Conservatories - What Countries Have Them?

1 post / 0 new
Leah Kruszewski
Public Conservatories - What Countries Have Them?

When I was growing up in Virginia, there were few ways to learn a musical instrument: school ensembles, private lessons, and - in some areas - group classes at private music schools or community centers.  In general, that’s the norm in the USA. In Spain, where I live now, similar options for school ensembles, private lessons, and group classes exist, but there is another impressive resource: public conservatories.  Children can audition for the primary school conservatory as young as six or seven. The audition is basically a test of their innate ability to distinguish pitches and understand rhythms - nothing they’re expected to prepare for.  If they’re accepted, they receive private instrument lessons and extracurricular music education, all publicly for minimal fees. If the student’s interest and dedication persist, conservatory offerings can continue through secondary school and even professional music studies.  Students who didn’t start out in primary school can audition into the system at anytime. Even at the professional level of studies, the annual matriculation fee is small - about two hundred dollars. Class hours are less rigorous compared to professional conservatories in the USA, and some music students here complain about that aspect.  But the hours still include private lessons, music theory, numerous ensembles, and other essential courses. A conservatory title at the professional level is a respected achievement and a requirement for any professional musicians seeking work in music education. For a public system, it’s impressive.  

Have you lived or do you live in a part of the world that offers free music education to the public?  What country is it? What is the system like, and what levels of music education does it include? Are residents grateful for the opportunity, or is it taken for granted?  Did you participate yourself or did your children participate? Have I overlooked other public music offerings in the USA?

Loading cart contents...
Load contents