Bosnia and Herzegovina

National coordinator: Nermin Ploskić

Music in Schools

Education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina includes preschool, primary, secondary and higher education. Bosnia and Herzegovina doesn’t have a state-level ministry of education. On a state level, the Ministry for Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina coordinates activities within all education institutions in the state: two at entity level (FBiH and RS), ten at cantonal level (FBiH), and one at district level (Brčko District). In general educational institutions music classes are included in preschool, primary and secondary education. At a preschool level, music education is mainly conducted through activities such as listening to music, singing, dancing and graphically representing sound and music. In primary compulsory schools, the subject Music Culture is present from grades 1-9, students mainly have it once a week with an exception to certain grades (twice a week, mostly in lower grades). In secondary schools – gymnasiums, the subject Music Culture, in general departments, is mainly taken in the first and second grade and students have it once a week. In other departments of the gymnasium they are held twice a week in the second grade and in some parts of the country once a week in grades 1-4. Apart from regular classes, students in primary compulsory schools and gymnasiums can develop their musical abilities in extracurricular activities in the school choir and orchestra.

The aim of music classes in the mentioned levels of education is to awaken the interests, love and development of a positive relationship towards music, the revelation and development of sensibility and musicality, as well as children’s creative and aesthetic abilities. Through the teaching of music, children acquire musical competencies, adopt the language of music through symbols, ideas and concepts, compare musical periods and styles, and get acquainted with the most significant musical achievements. Becoming acquainted with the music of their own culture, children build awareness of different, but equally worthy individuals, people, cultures, religions and traditions. Another task of teaching music is to reveal and develop children’s musicality with specific abilities; to develop a musical recollection and creativity, in order to for children to become independent and social; to encourage, develop and nurture children’s creativity in music by means of individual, group or collective music teaching.

Professional music education in Bosnia and Herzegovina: primary and secondary music schools. In addition to primary compulsory and secondary schools, students in Bosnia and Herzegovina can attend a primary or secondary school for music and ballet education. Classes in primary and secondary music schools are conducted as individual (instrument), group (vocational subjects) and collective (choir and orchestra). Primary music schools and primary ballet schools, which students attend parallel to a primary compulsory school, last a maximum of 6 years (5 for ballet school). Students at this level of education attend classes of a core subject – instruments which they have opted for, Solfeggio with Music Theory, as well as group musical classes – choir and orchestra. Prior to enrolment, students take an entrance examination. Some of the tasks of primary music and ballet education are to: educate students with the basic developmental rules of music; enable students for musical expression through voice and instruments, that is, through movement (dance); develop a positive attitude towards different forms of aesthetic creativity and the need to participate in the public and cultural life of the community.

Secondary music schools and ballet schools can also be attended parallel to another secondary school or individually in the duration of 4 years. Secondary music schools mainly offer two departments – a general/theoretical department and instrument department – for solo performers, and if the school has the capacities or legally provided possibilities, there may also be a department for ballet. Prior to enrolment, students take an entrance examination. Some of the tasks of secondary music and ballet education are to: enable students a systematic acquisition of general, vocationally-theoretical and practical knowledge of specific areas of music; contribute to the development of aesthetic culture and heighten the level of general and personal culture of a student; develop a positive attitude towards different forms of aesthetic creativity and the need to participate in public and cultural life of the community. Musical education in primary and secondary schools has a general main aim to develop knowledge, skills and other creative and aesthetic potentials to prepare students for a continued musical and professional development and schooling in institutions of higher education – Academies of Music.

If you have any questions about music in schools or music teacher education in this country, feel free to contact the national coordinator!


Music Teacher Training

In education system of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the music lessons from the 1st to the 4th or 5th grade of the primary compulsory schools are held by general teachers. General teachers don’t have special music education, but the basic one that gain at the Faculties of Pedagogy. From the 5th or 6th grade of the primary compulsory schools to the end of the secondary school, music lessons are led by the specialised music teacher who finished the university education at the Academy of Music.

Depending on the chosen department, the students of the faculty for general teachers are acquainted with the contents and basics of musical activities in preschool ages, the subject of Music Culture up to the 5th grade, and through a pedagogical and methodical group of subjects they are prepared to work in lower primary school classes. The curricula is comprised of familiarising students with the basics of music theory, musical forms, history of music, orchestra instruments, basics of piano playing and Orff’s instruments, didactic games, as well as attending classes and including specialised practical activities in in preschool ages and lower grades of primary compulsory schools.

There are 5 high music institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar, East Sarajevo and Bijeljina (private faculty). High music education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is organized in three cycles: Bachelor/undergraduate studies (lasts 4 years, carry 240 ECTS credits), Master studies (lasts 1 year – 60 ECTS credits), PhD studies (lasts 3 years – 180 ECTS credits). In accordance to trends and situations in other countries, students in Bosnia and Herzegovina usually have to complete a Master studies in order to be able to work in any educational institution. Academies of Music train students to work in primary compulsory schools and gymnasiums on music classes, as well as to work in primary and secondary music schools on musical-theoretical subjects and instrument classes.

The Academy of Music in Sarajevo, as the oldest institution of higher music education, is the only one offering 3th cycle studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the course Methodology of Music Teaching/Music Teaching Methods students at this institution at the Department of Music Theory and Pedagogy, over the course of four years in 1st and 2nd cycle of studies, are familiarised with all the basics of music classes and activities in preschool, primary and secondary education. A course based on the knowledge from psychology and pedagogy prepares students to independently shape music teaching through the acquired knowledge and other theoretical subjects with respect to the laws and existing curricula in schools. Through regular classes, tutorials, and practical work in educational institutions, course offers a wide scope of knowledge and information – from basic methodical schemes to the use of modern technologies and didactic methods in music classes. During the 2nd cycle of studies, students are acquainted with the possibilities and basics of music classes with children with disabilities as well as inclusive classes. The school practice of the students lasts throughout all four years while attending methodical course, and from 2020, after a curricula audit on University of Sarajevo, it has been particularly intensified in the last semester of the 2nd cycle of studies in which the students spend the entire semester doing school practice and writing their final research work. In this way students are encouraged more on individual work and preparation for the labour market in the best possible way.

After graduating, students are instructed to do a one-year internship in schools after which they can pass a professional examination and receive a certificate on being able to individually conduct classes in educational institutions.

If you have any questions about music in schools or music teacher education in this country, feel free to contact the national coordinator!