Bachelor and master of Music > Performing Music > Jazz/pop

The jazz/pop programme’s name says it all: it offers the opportunity to study jazz but also - as the only school in Flanders - pop music. The programme’s core is of course making music. In a weekly hour of individual instrument or voice practice you learn the technical skills you need in order to fully express yourself through your instrument of choice. You also get acquainted with the different jazz or pop idioms so that you can creatively move through both the traditional and the contemporary repertoire as a soloist and an accompanist. In the course of these classes you develop your own unique voice, your sound.

In addition to these individual instrument classes there are ensemble classes. From the very beginning you play in a jazz combo or a popband. For jazz musician. Jazz musicians also participate in special genre combos with different line-ups (such as bigband, pianotrio or vocal ensemble). Not only is your contribution essential for the final result of the ensemble, but the mutual support and interaction with your fellow musicians also stimulates you to attain a greater artistic expression.

In the jazz/pop programme we hold to the idea that as a graduate you should not only excel on your instrument. Changing musical and social needs now demand a broader and deeper knowledge of aspects such as composition, arranging, production and stage practice. In the current professional world of jazz and pop it is also important for a musician to have a working knowledge of how to arrange a piece for changing line-ups and in different styles. It is both interesting and useful then if you can create your own compositions or write your own songs. This creative focus is essential to the programme, boasting such courses as arrangement, composition, songwriting and score analysis. You will learn to write your own songs, analyse scores from leading artists and employ your creative skills in a variety of styles.

Supporting these are others courses, such as harmony, reharmonization, piano harmonization and ear training. These theoretical courses are predominantly practice-oriented. In piano harmonization, for instance, where you apply the theory from the harmony classes, you often do composition assignments. In the ear-training course you learn to ‘hear with your eyes’ and ‘see with your ears’. Other topics that are dealt with are of course melody, rhythm and harmony. In Ghent, much like at American jazz conservatories, we place an emphasis on relative hearing and singing. For vocalists there is a separate module of music theatre education where you receive stage training and acquire an insight in music theatre. Also worth mentioning: we regularly organise maserclasses and workshops featuring artists from here and abroad.

Studying music consists of more than developing instrumental skills and music theory. Furthermore, as an academic programme we offer more general subjects related to jazz and pophistory, cultural history, philosophy and psychology. A proper understanding of the professional field is also a must. Courses in juridical aspects of the music industry, music and management, music and law will help you to secure your own place in the music scene.
The fact that students can go in for either jazz or pop in our programme is one of two great assets we would like to stress. The presence of both students of jazz and of pop music within a single programme creates a fertile atmosphere of mutual influences from which both groups profit. Moreover, this situation mirrors that outside the conservatory, where influences and synergy abound between genres. Another of our assets is the music production major we organize. It offers students the opportunity to get in touch with state-of-the-art recording equipment and the most advanced digital technology. Furthermore, students of jazz/pop can let their peers of the music production major record their music in our well-equipped studios as part of a project.

The city of Ghent has a lot to offer to jazz-pop students. Unesco has granted the city the title of 'Creative city of Music', and has proven worthy of that name. Just think of the many concert stages such as Vooruit, Muziekcentrum de Bijloke, Handelsbeurs, Trefpunt, de Centrale, Democrazy, Kinky Star, Charlatan, Video, Hot Club de Gand, Damberd, and so on. Ghent is also a city of festivals, primarily with its renowned Ghent Jazz, Jazz in 't Park, the infamous Gentse Feesten, and the numerous small festival events and open air concerts. The Jazz-Pop program collaborates intensively with many of these concert promoters. Ultimately, Ghent houses hundreds of pop and rock bands, and is therefore often seen as the ultimate pop and rock city of Flanders.

In our jazz/pop programme each student receives the attention and space he or she needs for an optimal development of personality and talents. Throughout the programme the student is stimulated to think critically and creatively. Playing music in a group requires respect for fellow students and finding your place in the ensemble to make the most constructive contribution possible. Knowledge of history, traditions and the standard repertoire is crucial, but we also stimulate the desire to set out and follow your own musical path.

The programme does not confine itself to the city boundaries. Students will be given the opportunity to participate in travels abroad. In 2014 a trip to New York took place and in 2017 the destination is London. Every two year we pay a visit to the Frankfurter Musikmesse. We stimulate students to take part in the Erasmus programme for one or two semesters and study at on of our affiliated conservatories.

This, in short, is what our programme stands for: creativity, inventiveness, originality and innovation, dynamism, intensity, passion, integrity, honesty and respect.