Musical education in the Czech Republic is a part of general education. Its aim is to get the students ready to embrace the beauty and humanistic contents of musical works and also actively participate in musical life. It is divided into three specializations: musical education, special musical education and musical education of future professionals.
In 1934 the Society for Musical Education inspiring the idea to establish ISME was found in Prague. At the present time Czech Musical Society, Musical Youth of CR and the Union of Czech Choruses follow similar goals and unite music enthusiasts of all ages without professional limits.
Pupils from the 1st to the 9th grade attend one lesson of musical education per week. These lessons consist of singing and playing music, improvisation and physical exercise with music as well as listening to musical works of various styles – thus making them more accessible. This also involves joyful feelings arising from the contact with music and learning basic knowledge of musical theory and history. Musical education at elementary schools is a follow-up of the fundaments received in kindergartens where singing, listening and playing the music are closely related to the games and physical exercises.
Elementary Schools of Extensive Musical Education
Musical education at these schools /the current number of which is 40/ ranges from four to six lessons per week. This includes two lessons of general musical education, one lesson of teaching to play an instrument and one lesson of choral singing. Depending on local conditions two extra lessons of either chamber or orchestral music can possibly add up to it. These institutions feature outstanding youth choruses and cooperate with specialized teachers from elementary and artistic schools.
In the first or the second year of their studies students of secondary schools can choose either musical education or fine arts of two lessons per week. Within the musical education they get into close contact with singing, listening and playing music. At the same time they learn facts about lives and works of composers, musical theory, forms, instruments, history of music and aesthetics. Education in the third and the fourth year continues in the form of aesthetic education including the theory and reflection of art and off-artistic spheres. Unfortunately, the aesthetic education is only optional. However, after the four years of musical education the graduates can choose this subject as one of the final exams.
Apart from musical education students have many opportunities to be engaged in music at school, e.g. taking part in choruses, orchestras or rock groups, etc.
Specialized Musical Education – Elementary Artistic Schools
The network of elementary artistic schools /currently there are about 400 such institutions in the country/ offers to students the possibility of achieving special education in particular artistic disciplines /music, fine arts, literature, dancing and theatre/. Some of them become amateurs while the more talented ones can continue in their studies on secondary artistic schools and conservatories. Lessons take place in the afternoon’s free time of students. Concerning music they attend three lessons per week: one lesson of individual instruction of playing an instrument or singing, one group lesson of playing music or singing in chorus and one lesson of musical science. Students can compare their performances at concerts and advance exams, young talents can participate in renowned international competitions /Concertino Praga, Virtuosi di pianoforte, Kocián’s Violin Competition, etc./. Win opens the road to their professional career. Attending the elementary artistic school is voluntary and so it is necessary to pay a small school fee. In addition to it there are also private artistic schools and private teachers of music in the Czech Republic.
Specialized Musical Education – Musical Education of Future Professionals: Conservatories, Musical Academies and Universities
Education for artistic professions takes place at conservatories or musical faculties of the Academy of Musical Arts. Conservatories offer complete secondary education with graduating exams and academies provide the university degree – Master of Arts. Education of musical scientists and teachers takes place at universities. Studies are completed by graduation and students receive the titles of Master of Philosophy or Master of Pedagogy. In case of passing doctorate exams the graduates receive the titles of Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Pedagogy.