Master of Music Conservatorium van Amsterdam – Amsterdam University of the Arts

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Reviewed by NVAO

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Amsterdam University of the Arts

Executive summary

On 27 and 28 January 2020, an AeQui assessment committee visited the Master of Music programme at the Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK). The Master of Music consists of a full-time two-year programme (120 ECTS) and is offered in English by the Conservatorium of Amsterdam (CvA). For this assessment, the committee has used the 2018 NVAO framework for limited programme assessment. The committee found the Master of Music to be of excellent quality and concluded that studying at CvA must be a very special experience. The assessment committee judges that the programme meets all NVAO standards and therefore issues a positive recommendation regarding the accreditation of the Master of Music programme at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam.

Intended learning outcomes
The committee is highly impressed by the way the Conservatorium van Amsterdam is constantly re-flecting on the developments in the music sector and in higher education, and is undertaking action to integrate these developments in its programmes. The intended learning outcomes of the Master of Music reflect what professional music education should aim for and are formulated adequately in terms of domain, level and orientation. The distinc-tive features of studying at the Conservatorium have been embedded well in the Master of Music pro-gramme. The committee judges that the Master of Music programme meets the standard.

Teaching-learning environment
The teaching learning environment of the Master of Music is very strong. The committee thinks highly of the five curriculum components, the customised study plans and the opportunities for students to obtain education and training that goes beyond ar-tistic excellence in one instrument. The committee is impressed by the quality of the staff as musicians, pedagogues and mentors, and appreciates the bal-anced interaction between the master and the ap-prentice. The material facilities at CvA are impressive and allow students to present themselves in an op-timal way to the outside world. The conservatorium succeeds according to the committee in creating a good atmosphere and a safe environment in which students feel at ease to share their concerns. The committee judges that the Master of Music pro-gramme meets the standard.

Student assessment
Student assessment at the Master of Music is robust: it is laid down in clear regulations and based on sound educational and assessment concepts, which are implemented properly in the day-to-day reality of the programme. The committee thinks highly of the three principles of formative, long term and cu-mulative assessment and the way these are opera-tionalised in valid, reliable and transparent tests and exams. The Examination Board is on top of its tasks and its individual members have adequate experi-ence. The committee welcomes the way in which the research projects are evaluated and appreciates that the final exam – through the composition of the ex-amination committee and the evaluation form – guarantees all students an objective treatment. In its own sample review, the committee agreed to the scores and the feedback on the final exam. The com-mittee judges that the Master of Music programme meets the standard.

Achieved learning outcomes
The committee considers that the quality of the final exams definitely reflects the requirements for a mas-ter programme at a Conservatorium. Moreover, it is to the credit of the Master of Music that almost all graduates find relevant positions as performing art-ists. The final exams it reviewed and the perfor-mance it attended confirm according to the commit-tee that the Conservatorium is succeeding in its am-bition to train talented musicians to join the top of the international profession. The committee judges that the Master of Music programme meets the standard.

The committee has issued a positive judgement on the quality of each individual standard and on the quality of the programme as a whole. Nonetheless the committee sees room for improvement in a number of areas. The committee therefore advises the Conservatorium and the Master of Music pro-gramme:

  • to describe more explicitly in the programme framework and the intended learning outcomes the distinctiveness of both Conservatorium and Master of Music;
  • to develop more interdisciplinary projects in-volving both CvA departments and AHK facul-ties;
  • to provide more training in hands-on entrepre-neurship-related topics;
  • to communicate more on the available oppor-tunities and services, and to do so in a way that this reaches all students;
  • to pay more attention to music medicine, injury prevention and rehabilitation;
  • to provide more written feedback in the final exam evaluation forms and to do so by using a standardised vocabulary.

All standards of the NVAO assessment framework are assessed positively; the assessment committee therefore awards a positive recommendation for the accreditation of the programme.