Modernizing European Higher Music Education Through Improvisation

Institutions: Den Haag

Den Haag: Royal Conservatoire of The Hague

Innovation built on tradition

The Royal Conservatoire was founded in 1826. Since the day it was established the link between innovation and tradition has been at the heart of the institute’s activities. Innovation does not come naturally. It is built on tradition. It is the result of establishing educated relationships between traditional views and new ideas. Tried and trusted conventions are naturally cherished, but often also form the point of departure for the urge to innovate. Every day our staff and students dedicate themselves to creating the right climate for both tradition and innovation to thrive.

The Royal Conservatoire of Den Haag has an active approach towards improvisation. It has converted its traditional theory curriculum to include improvisation as an important catalyst in aural development and the understanding of music theoretical concepts. The course "Aural Skills and Improvisation" has 6 semesters and is obligatory for all BMus classical students. The most recent development in this course are monthly online real-time improvisation sessions with the Yong-Siew-Toh Conservatory in Singapore. In the BMus there is furthermore a 2 semester elective 'improvisation for classical musicians', mainly based on tonal improvisation. There is also a specialized 6 semester class for all classical pianists of which the last two semesters are completely dedicated to improvisation in a wide variety of styles. In the Composition Department, a specialized course entitled 'Improv Lab' is offered to all first-year Bachelor students. In the Sonology Department an improvisation ensemble is bringing together electro-acoustic musicians and instrumentalists from other departments. In the Early Music Department improvisation is an important point of focus in various courses, including Basso Continuo and an elective on historically informed improvisation. An obligatory course on improvisation is also offered to all students in the Master of Music Education.

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Articles & Resources

Article in the Arts and Humanities in Higher Education journal (AHHE) by Karst de Jong and Bert Mooiman

Navigating through harmony, thesis on application of harmony in improvisation




Bert Mooiman

Karst de Jong