Classical music

Bachelor and master of Music > Performing Music > Classical music

For the last thousand years or so, Western classical music culture has been based mainly on the turning into sound of a code written in graphic signs. This code has evolved over the centuries, and many keys to it have been written down – sometimes indirectly – while others were passed down in oral traditions. The single greatest challenge for present-day vocalists and instrumentalists is to decipher these codes, to interpret them and render them into sounding music for a contemporary listener.

In the classical music major the student acquires the techniques, methods and attitudes a musician needs to master in order to bring this continuous search to a meaningful end, time and again. This creative process requires the development of cognitive and affective skills of interpretation and communication but also a perfect motor control of the instrument (ranging from the human voice over wind, stringed and plucked instruments to percussion, synthesizer and laptop). The programme’s emphasis is on the exploration of the music from a millennium of Western culture, both in playing practice and in theoretical reflection. Solfeggio, ear training and general theory of music form the basis of the training. Knowledge of musical history – in direct connection with musical analysis – and its implications for stylistically underpinned performances is a second cornerstone to support individual instrument instruction and the necessary and intense home study. Psychology of music, philosophy and cultural history embed this singular work in a broader social context.

As Western ‘classical’ music tradition is still being written every day, a particular attention to the most recent and new music is as natural and inherent to this bachelor programme as the creative reinterpretation of music from a more distant past is, all guided by the most relevant current insights in performance practice.

Each performance incorporates the intellectual and corporeal traces of the musician producing it; of her time and culture, but also of her individual character. One of our programme’s initial goals is to let you, as a singer or performing musician, fully develop your musical personality. That is a complex and rewarding quest, in emotional, technical and intellectual terms. Our instructors, who are leading musicians themselves, will share the knowledge and experience they have acquired in their practice and study to help you in the process

The technical and interpretative skills a musician develops through a lifelong intimate relationship with his instrument come into full bloom in the interaction with fellow musicians and singers. The range of instrument courses we offer is wide and diverse: percussion, piano, harpsichord, organ, viola, violin, cello and viol, oboe and baroque oboe, bassoon, traverso, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, horn, tuba, euphonium, guitar, lute … and of course also voice. The classical music programme has an explicitly international outlook, meaning you will encounter young musicians from Belgium and from abroad.

Making music together, in different chamber music settings, in a choir or orchestra and in music theatre productions, is the perfect preparation for a professional career and allows you to shape and define your own place and musical personality in relation with others. We therefore stimulate vocal-instrumental ensemble playing in all possible forms, within the conservatory and outside. Projects, internships, (international) exchange programmes and collaborations will allow you to develop your own musical identity. You will acquire the essential on-stage experience and get the opportunity to apply your mastery of your instrument or your voice, solo or in an ensemble, during open performances, public exams and concerts. The audition practice, cultural management, music and law, and teacher-training courses give you access to other professional careers in the sector.

Building upon the knowledge and skills acquired during the bachelor programme, master students prepare a recital and develop a personal artistic project that is underpinned by a paper, as the reflective result of his or her artistic search.