National Coordinator: Demosthenes Dimitrakoulakos
Demosthenes Dimitrakoulakos is the National Coordinator of Music Education for Luxembourg for the European Association of Music in Schools and is the Academic Leader of the Arts at the International School of Luxembourg (ISL), where he supervises pedagogy and curriculum design for music, visual arts, theater and film. Demosthenes teaches the following programs at ISL: Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), and the International Baccalaureate (IB), covering a holistic approach to music education through music theory, composition, music research and performance. Demosthenes has been a consultant for the development of the IB Music Curriculum and is a former IB Music Diploma Examiner. In addition, Demosthenes works as a music editor for Editions BIM International Music Publishing and is a member of the Advisory Board for the International Society for Research and Promotion of Wind Music. Prior to moving to Luxembourg, Demosthenes was a trombonist with the US Army Band in Germany, and he has guest conducted ensembles in North America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Demosthenes Dimitrakoulakos holds degrees in music education and performance from the University of Luxembourg, Boston University, Indiana University (Bloomington), and the Oberlin College-Conservatory.
Music in Schools
Music education in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is ruled by the Act of April 28, 1998, in particular addressing the harmonization of music education at the community level, and by several grand-ducal rules taken in accordance with the act. According to this act, music education in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has three objectives:
- To arouse, develop and cultivate among young people the knowledge of music allowing them to participate in a musical life;
- To offer young people a training specialized in the various musical disciplines, allowing them to make in-depth musical studies at higher/university level;
- To offer adults training and improvement courses.
Musical teaching is organized by the community, though subjected to the supervision of the Minister of Culture regarding the educational and cultural aspects, and by the Minister of the Interior for the administrative and financial aspects. Each specialized teaching includes, theoretically, the four following levels:
1 The first level, ended by a First Grade Diploma; (diplôme du 1er cycle);
2 The lower level, ended by the Lower Level Diploma (1re mention);
3a The medium level ended by an Average Level Diploma (diplôme de la division moyenne);
3b The specialized medium level, ended by a First Prize (diplôme du 1er prix);
4 The higher level, ended by a First Superior Degree (diplôme supérieur).
The First Prize Diploma mentioned corresponds to the secondary level recognized by the State. The First Superior Degree is considered equivalent to a first year of higher studies. The examination to obtain the Higher Diploma is carried out in conservatoires at the national level.
Music education is given:
- In conservatoires, ensuring education in all levels mentioned above (1-4). Moreover, conservatoires have to teach drama and dance;
- In music schools, ensuring music education at the lower and medium levels (levels 1, 2, 3a). Moreover, they can ensure, under conditions to be defined by grand-ducal regulations, training in the specialized medium level (3b);
- Through courses ensuring music education at the lower levels (1, 2).
The denominations of ‘Conservatoire’, ‘Music School’ and ‘Music Course’ are reserved for the institutions matching the criteria required for each above mentioned category.
Overview of the Pre-College Music Education System
Higher level music education in Luxembourg is provided through three conservatoires. However, these institutes do not provide a full higher music education programme and are therefore not possible to award Bachelor or Master degrees. Conservatoires have a two-year higher education curriculum, which equals one year of a Bachelor education. Most students continue their education abroad.
Types of Pre-College Music Education
All three conservatoires in Luxembourg provide music education to all students, children as well as adults. The following text describes pre-college education at conservatoires.
Conservatoires do not only provide music education, but also classical/modern dance and theatre. The national curriculum which is utilized divides the educational trajectory in three levels. At every level a student earns a diploma. Exams must be taken every two years. Children can enter the conservatoire at 6, and can study until they are 16-19 (talented students may finish earlier than regular students). Adults have a different curriculum, which lasts eight years. Studies include instrumental/vocal tuition by conservatoire professors, theory subjects and ensemble and orchestra playing.
The final examination of the pre-college education at a conservatoire can count as an entrance exam to the higher education department of the conservatoire. A student needs to receive a high score at the pre-college final exam (at least 50 points out of 60, meaning ‘very good’) to be able to enter the higher education department. Exam juries often include external experts from abroad (Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands).
Conservatoires receive funding from the municipality (2/3) and the government (1/3). Students pay a small tuition fee. The three conservatoires in Luxembourg which provide pre-college education are:
- Conservatoire de Musique de la Ville de Luxembourg
- Conservatoire de la ville d’Esch-sur-Alzette
- Conservatoire du Nord
The UGDA (Union Grand-Duc Adolphe) is the National Federation of Music of Luxembourg. The UGDA organises music education via their music schools that are spread all over the country, from cities to small villages. Schools follow a national curriculum, providing instrumental and vocal education, theory classes and ensembles to children and adults. UGDA music schools focus on amateur training and students who want to continue their music education most often proceed to Junior Departments within conservatoires. Luxembourg has a tradition of wind music and there are many wind bands that work closely together with UGDA music schools. Schools receive funding from the municipality (approximately two-thirds) and the government (approximately one-third). Students pay a small tuition fee.
Many municipalities also have their own Music Schools. These Municipal Music Schools follow a national curriculum, providing amateur education and some preparation for professional music training to children and adults.
In public general education schools, music class is compulsory once a week from age 6-12. At the secondary level, there are public general education schools which also place a special emphasis on music education, and these schools provide music history and music theory classes, in addition to opportunities to perform in choirs and instrumental ensembles as part of the curriculum. The curriculum leaves space for individual instrumental tuition as well, but students often receive those lessons at conservatoires, or music schools.
Luxembourg also has several international schools, such as the International School of Luxembourg, St. George’s International School and the European International School. Music education at these schools follow various music curricula such as the International Baccalaureate, the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education, and the European Baccalaureate. Music education at these schools is often provided in a holistic context where students receive lessons in music theory, composition, music history, music research, and performance, with opportunities to perform as soloists, as well as opportunities to perform in chamber and large ensembles (including choirs, rock bands, jazz bands, wind bands, orchestra, etc.), covering a variety of styles and cultures of music, including both Western and non-Western music. Students at these schools receive music classes from age 3-18, and depending on the age and program, can have music lessons between one and seven hours a week.
There are also private music schools in Luxembourg, which provide a variety of music education opportunities for students and adults. In addition, qualified teachers provide individual instrumental and vocal tuition, outside of any institutes or general education systems.
Music Teacher Training
There are two types of teachers in music education in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: teachers and junior lecturers. The requirements in the training, recruitment and remuneration of the teachers of conservatoires are fixed in accordance with the legislation concerning the community civil servant.
The requirements in the training, recruitment and remuneration of the junior lecturers in institutions of music education are fixed by grand-ducal regulation taken in accordance with the Act of April 28, 1998, related in particular to the harmonization of music education in the community sector.
The students wishing to stand for a position of teacher in a conservatoire must have a degree in higher or university education (required minimum of a 3-year Bachelor’s degree and a 2-year Master’s degree) recognized by the Minister in charge of higher education, and take a competitive examination to be admitted in the training course organized by the community or the association of communities of which the conservatoire authorizes. At the end of the training course, the applicant must pass a final admission examination.
All the students applying for a position of teacher in music education must have a certificate showing they completed training in teaching and methodology. This certificate can be issued by a Luxembourg conservatoire or a recognized foreign institution. With regard to junior lecturers, it is planned to set up a certificate of ability in music education.
In Luxembourg, the only type of teacher training is instrumental/vocal music teacher training. Graduates are prepared for employment in Luxembourgish music schools and conservatoires. There are two institutions in Luxembourg that offer vocal/instrumental music teacher training: the Luxembourg Conservatoire and the Esch/Alzette Conservatoire. Both of these institutions are conservatories (but not higher music education institutions).
The programme of study is a two-year cycle vocational training programme. To be admitted to the programme, students are required to hold a diplôme supérieur of a Luxembourgish conservatoire (or foreign equivalent).
Teacher training in these two programmes is specifically aimed at pedagogical study, which is obligatory for music teachers with a new employment in music schools. Music teachers in conservatoires normally have a pedagogical study background they have obtained in European music high-schools. Thus, subjects of study include music pedagogy, as well as methodology.
Within Luxembourg, the final title to receive after the accomplished two years cycle of music teacher training is a Certificat d’aptitude à l’enseignement with the specification of the instrument, or for example, Certificat d’aptitude à l’enseignement du piano.
Continuing professional development opportunities are organised in music schools and conservatoires by the commissariat à l’enseignement musical – a department of the culture ministry. Additionally, the Luxembourg Music Education Society organises three to four conferences per year.
General music education teacher training is not offered in Luxembourg; students have to study abroad for such studies (Bachelor and Master levels). However, at the University of Luxembourg, music is taught in four study programs; as an optional course in the Master of Luxembourgish Studies, as an optional course in the Bachelor of European Culture (BCE), as an obligatory course with additional optional courses in the apprenticeship of future primary school teachers and as an optional course in the Bachelor of Social Sciences. While there are no specialized music studies at the Bachelor or Master level, it is possible ot obtain a PhD in music under the disciplines of arts and humanities and the performing arts within the focus of educational sciences.