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Unity in music: 5 universities shaping the next generation of musicians

“Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: we are the same.”  ― John Denver

There are few things in this world that can bring people of multiple faiths and beliefs together in relative harmony.

Music plays a part in our lives on a daily basis, whether we’re listening to Magic on the radio in the car on the way home from work, or at the local nightclub dancing the hours away to the latest hits with friends and fellow groovers. Festivals, concerts, national anthems, graduation ceremonies, the local karaoke bar – and the list goes on…

“There’s little question that humans are wired for music. Researchers recently discovered that we have a dedicated part of our brain for processing music, supporting the theory that it has a special, important function in our lives.”

Derek Truninger

There’s been an abundance of research conducted on the relationship between music and the human race. Among many fascinating findings, these studies have found that listening to music and singing together directly impacts neuro-chemicals in the brain, of which many play a crucial role in closeness and connection.

Music can bring us together through tragedy and in the face of adversity. It can trigger a flush of memories from events in years gone by, the good, the bad, and the downright euphoric flooding through our minds. It can pick us up when we are down, help us through loss, motivate us and make us stronger, hence why almost every Gym rings out upbeat tunes.

Whatever your mood, whatever the event, you can be sure music will rise to combat the occasion.

Take a look at how the music world reacted to the tragedy that was The Manchester Arena bombing. Instead of changing profile pictures and tweeting condolences, musicians and artists around the globe came together, orchestrated by Ariana Grande, to perform the One Love concert days after the tragedy occurred, and mere two miles away from the site of the bombings.

It is vitally important, as we continue to progress, that we maintain a healthy plethora of students exploring the depths of the music discipline. We need artistic individuals who create and develop music and musical genres, as well as those who pursue other important industry roles and give artists the chance to succeed.

Students who undertake a degree in Music are not locked into being a musician post-graduation. Many students find careers elsewhere in the industry with graduates going on to become Producers, Production Assistants, Sound Technicians, Acoustic Consultants, Studio Managers, and more.

Here are 5 universities that are guiding the next generation of musicians across Europe, and beyond:

SIBELIUS ACADEMY OF MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS HELSINKI – FINLAND

Established in 1882, Sibelius Academy is the linchpin of the Finnish music sector. The academy teaches a variety of genres and subjects ranging from Classical to Jazz, Folk Music to Music Technology.


“The driving force for everyone at the Academy is the unquestionable love they have for music, and for the work that they do.”

Sibelius Academy today represents a creative community of 1,500 students and over 1,000 staff. Internationally-renowned and recognised, the Academy’s mission is to foster and renew world music culture.

Alongside the Bachelor and Master of Music, students can undertake the Licentiate and the Doctorate of Music. Offering nine degree programmes, each with several main subjects plus four comprehensive degrees, the Academy is sure to develop any prospective student into a well-rounded and educated musician.

“At the Sibelius Academy, you will evolve into a musician with a distinct creative identity,” the Faculty website notes.

REID SCHOOL OF MUSIC, EDINBURGH COLLEGE OF ART, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH – SCOTLAND

Here, students are taught in the heart of the Scottish capital. Studying at Edinburgh College of Art is to immerse yourself in the life of one of the world’s great cultural cities, known for its annual arts festivals, history and seasonal celebrations.

The Reid School of Music is home to two extraordinary concert halls, unique collections of musical instruments, a renowned music library and well-equipped studios.

The school currently offers multiple Postgraduate qualifications and three distinct Undergraduate programmes, including the BMus (Hons) in Music.

“The skills that you will acquire on the BMus will equip you for a wide range of careers, both in the arts and in other areas…Our alumni include composers such as James MacMillan, Rebecca Saunders and Max Richter. Recent graduates have also gone on to successful careers in journalism, the culture industries, music therapy, and librarianship,” the institution notes.

ROYAL DANISH ACADEMY OF MUSIC, FREDERIKSBERG – DENMARK

The Royal Danish Academy of Music (RDAM) is a driving force in the classical music world, comparing to and co-operating with a number of leading conservatoires around the globe.


The Academy offers a selection of programmes at Bachelor, Master and the advanced Postgraduate soloist level. Many RDAM graduates find employment as musicians, organists, composers, music teachers and other stirring roles within the Music business.

Founded in 1867 by composer Niels W.Gade, the Academy is the oldest professional institution of music education in Denmark, not to mention its status as the largest, with around 400 students.

“You will be challenged and inspired by qualified teachers, guest teachers and fellow students. You widen your horizon by taking part in joint lessons, Friday bars and concerts. Active participation in the Academy’s student life is decisive in making a fruitful study programme,” the website explains.

HKU UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS UTRECHT – NETHERLANDS

HKU University of the Arts Utrecht is a buzzing cultural university in the heart of Utrecht. Teeming with student vision, the university is home to more than 3,900 students, making it one of Europe’s largest arts and culture-orientated institutions.

Offering a range of Preparatory courses, as well as Bachelor and Master programmes in music, any prospective student at any level of study is sure to find a course that suits their academic needs.

Here, courses cover a variety of genres; in the Bachelor’s alone, subjects range from Music in Jazz & Pop, Classical Music and Musician 3.0, to the Bachelor of Music and Technology (Dutch).

Students at the university can look forward to developing relationships with many industry professionals.

“At HKU, you will get plenty of opportunity to work with professional artists, the business community and intermediary organisations. You will therefore not only be trained in an art discipline, but you will also take your first steps on the road to becoming a professional creative entrepreneur,” the website explains.

Larisa Birta

DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN – IRELAND

The Department of Music has played a pivotal role in the life of Trinity College Dublin since it was first founded in 1592.

Set in the cultural city of Dublin, “the Department of Music fosters cutting-edge research and supports an intellectually vibrant musical community.”

The Department’s undergraduates tend to specialise in one of three main areas: Composition, Musicology or Music Technology. A key advantage of the programme is its incremental nature, with each successful passing year building on the former, instilling a wide range of valuable expertise.

“I came from a Music degree background, especially rooted in instrumental composing and ethnomusicology – suddenly I was introduced to a whole new world of electronic music, expanding out to the visual arts and mixed media. This had a major impact on the work that I went on to explore after my studies,” says Linda Buckley, former student of the school.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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