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.