Czech Republic National Overview

Updated in June 2018 by Ingeborg Radok-Žádná, Vice-Dean for International Relations and Art Activity at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts, Music and Dance Faculty.

Overview of Higher Music Education System

Basic professional training of musicians is provided by the conservatoires in the Czech Republic, where students at the age of fourteen start attending a 6-year programme (pre-college education). At present, there are fourteen public conservatoires, one private conservatoire and three church conservatoires in the Czech Republic. Their graduates are qualified to teach at Music Schools (Basic Schools of Art) and their training is usually sufficient to be accepted in one of the symphony orchestras. The Jaroslav Ježek Conservatoire in Prague offers education in popular music, jazz and musical drama. The needs of the church are covered by the church secondary school for organ players and by the church conservatoire in Kromĕříž, Opava and Olomouc. In the Czech Republic, conservatoires are not considered as higher music education institutions (but a secondary level, pre-college educational institutions).
Students with a higher level of talent and skills can continue their study at higher music education institutions – the faculties of music of the academies of performing arts in Prague (AMU) or in Brno (JAMU) and at the Faculty of Art of the Ostrava University. A three-cycle educational system (Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degree) has been implemented at three faculties. At these institutions a large emphasis is put on professionalism and specialisation in the given study field. Frequent individual tuition based on one-on-one teaching guarantees a high quality of education. Students have the possibility to spend part of their studies abroad. They are allowed to obtain the academic title of Bachelor of Arts – BcA., Master of Arts – MgA. and Doctor – Ph.D.
Besides the conservatoires and the faculties of music, there is also the possibility of attending the pedagogical faculty of a university.

Total number of institutions
13 conservatoires (not higher education level), 1 music gymnasia, 3 music faculties (university level)
Total number of music students
pre-college level – approximately 2500
university level – approximately 970
State funding through Ministry of Education, other state authorities (municipalities, regions, Czech Science Foundation), culture institutions, foundations, private funding.
Curricula for professional music training are controlled by the State; implementation of new study subjects including their curricula must be approved by the Board of Artists at first, then the curricula must go through the accreditation procedure.
Music education is offered mostly in classical music, opera, partly jazz and pop, musical theatre, and early music.
2-cycle system
1st cycle: 3 years (Bachelor)
2nd cycle: 2 years (Master)
Bachelor of Arts (BcA.) – Not only artistic quality on the level of soloist is expected, the profile of the musician must include also pedagogical ability and theoretical knowledge (methodology, psychology, pedagogy).
Master of Arts (MgA.)
Doctor (Ph.D)
Entry requirements 1st cycle
Talent and artistic practice requirement, music theory and history exam.
Entry requirements 2nd cycle
Artistic practice requirement, performance skills on the high solo performance level, a concrete study programme (students propose it themselves), some kind of specialisation in the given field, e.g. interpretation of Early Music, contemporary music.
% of students who continue with 2nd cycle approximately 70%
3rd cycle
The Doctoral study programme lasts 3 to 4 years. The objective-based Doctoral studies contain a research and a performance component; there can be also a requirement for part-time teaching. 3rd Cycle studies are offered at three institutions: Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts, the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and Faculty of Art of the Ostrava University.
Doctoral Studies thus contain Artistic Research, however, doctoral studies in Music Theory are more theoretical.
Artistic Research – Doctoral studies in Music Theory is more theoretical
Credit point system
At all three faculties a credit point system, compatible with ECTS, is used.
All three institutions offer possibilities of student and teacher mobility (Erasmus+ Programme), the Ministry of Education gives annual subsidies to all three schools in order to develop internationalization. Institutions collaborate with partner schools and institutions in Europe, USA, Israel and others. Internationalization is one of the main priorities of all three institutions.
Quality assurance
Higher education institutions are linked to the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport and since 1998 have to go through the accreditation procedure every ten years. In 2016, the Amendment to the Higher Education Act has been approved, and institutions will go through a new form of accreditation (institutional or programme specific). The new independent body, the National Accreditation Office, has been established on the 1st September 2016 and replaces the old Accreditation Commission. The system of the new accreditation process hasn´t been formulated yet in details. Accreditation review will be conducted every 10 years by the National Accreditation Office, based upon an institution’s self-evaluation. The Czech Republic is not open to external evaluation, but the National Accreditation Office will take into account the external evaluation of the institution within the institutional or programme accreditation approval. The former Accreditation Commission had the EQAR registration, the new body hasn´t it yet.
Graduates from these academies can work as performers, but also as teachers of conservatoires or music academies. For teaching at Music Schools (Basic School of Music) a diploma from a conservatoire is sufficient, for academic staff a MgA (Masters) is required at minimum.
Academic Year
The academic year is divided into 2 semesters: winter and summer. The academic year starts on 1 October and finishes on 30 September.
Overview of the Pre-College Music Education System
There are several possibilities in Czech Republic to be musically trained prior to entering higher education.

Types of Pre-College Education

Basic Art Schools/Elementary Schools of Art
Basic Art Schools (also known as Elementary Schools of Art) offer arts education to children and adults. Most schools have three or four departments: music, dance, drama and painting (depending on the size of the school). There are around 488 schools situated all over the country. Basic Art Schools provide amateur music training, but prepare students for the entrance to conservatoires and higher music education as well. This type has nothing to do with the school, it is a kind of “extramural activity” (classes are organized in the afternoon and evening).
Children usually enter the preparatory class of the school around their 5th year of age after they have completed an entrance test; almost all students who apply are able to enter. Students study at Basic Art Schools until they are 16 (or more).
Basic Art Schools follow a national curriculum which is divided in two levels (primary and secondary); there is a different level for adults. Students have to take examinations every year. Curricula include instrumental lessons (mostly one-on-one tuition), orchestra and chamber music lessons and theory subjects. Most schools provide classical music education only, but some provide jazz and pop music lessons as well. Many graduates continue their education at conservatories.
There are a number of high-level Basic Art Schools that are well known for preparing students for conservatories. This mainly has to do with specific teachers.
The Ministry of Education has implemented an accreditation system. All accredited schools follow the national curriculum and receive state funding. Some schools may receive funding by the city or a church (as well). In all cases, students only pay a small tuition fee. Virtually all Basic Art Schools are accredited.
Private Music School
There are many Private Music Schools, which even have their own association. Private Music Schools mainly provide amateur music training. Their service is often different from Basic Art Schools, including more teaching in groups. Some schools do follow the rules set by the Ministry of Education and therefore receive state, regional or municipal funding.
Conservatories in Czech Republic are vocational training institutions that train students to be professional musicians. Conservatories provide music education at a very high level, combined with general education. They do not offer training at academic level (no Bachelor or Master Degrees).
Students can enter Conservatories from 14 or 15 years of age after they have passed an entrance exam. There is no preparatory class. The national curriculum includes many music related subjects and some general education subjects as well. It is therefore difficult for students to study any other subject than music in higher education. The music related subjects include instrumental tuition (one-on-one), theory subjects and orchestra and ensemble lessons. Some schools have a Jazz Department. Conservatories do not only train instrumentalists and vocalists but conductors and composers as well.
The curriculum takes 6 years and is finished with a final examination in a foreign language, theoretical subjects, main subject, students need to write a thesis which they need to defend, and they need to take a test in art-pedagogical subjects. Students can obtain DiS. title.
It is possible to switch to a University or Academy of Performing Arts/Music after 4 years of studying. Graduates go on to study further or enter the professional field. Graduates that have taken pedagogy classes receive a diploma which allows them to teach at Basic Art Schools or Elementary Schools (music).
Public conservatoires are free of charge. There are some private conservatories and conservatories owned by churches which charge tuition fees. In these cases, the state pays the costs of teaching material and salaries of teachers and other employees, students pay for all other costs.
One special public conservatory focuses on handicapped students; it trains, for instance, visual impared students. The school also educates tuners trained to tune pianos and cembalos and to implement easy reparations.
There are also conservatoires focusing on other art disciplines (dance, drama), mainly private.
Music Gymnasium
Music Gymnasium provide high level general education combined with music education. Students can enter Music Gymnasium from the age of 10 after passing an entrance examination. It is also possible to enter later.
Music Gymnasium aim to prepare students for higher music education as well as for any other study area. They follow a national curriculum including a full general education programme at the highest level and music related subjects, such as instrumental tuition (one-to-one), theory subjects and orchestra and ensemble lessons. Music Gymnasium focus on classical music.
Many graduates proceed to higher music education, but there also is a large amount of students who continue their education at Universities in other disciplines.
Music Gymnasium is financed by the municipality, do not charge tuition fees.
Private tuition
There are private teachers who teach music outside of any institution. However, they mostly provide amateur training; hardly any students continue to higher music education.

Additional Information

The Czech Republic has a long tradition in the pre-college and elementary music education on a very high level. It has a rich net of elementary art schools (or basic schools of art). In the country, there is a huge number of semi-professional or amateur orchestras, choirs, chamber and opera ensembles (acting at schools, universities, municipalities, research institutions etc.), lot of them are mixed – include both professional and amateur musicians and singers. There is also a big number of summer music courses for amateurs and future professionals.
There are quite a lot teachers from the Academies (higher education) teaching at Conservatories and Music Gymnasium. Students are well prepared for the entrance level of higher education.
Higher music education institutions do not have Junior Departments or Preparatory Courses.
Basic Art Schools generally do not prepare students for professional career, conservatoires and gymnasia prepare 90% students for HME institution.

Music and Arts in General Education
1 class of music a week is usually compulsory subject in elementary schools and secondary schools as well. Some schools make a choice – students can have music, paintings or drama compulsory classes. Students can graduate from Music Education.
Students entering Higher Music Education
Almost all students come from Conservatories or Music Gymnasium.
Special Facilities for Talented Students at Pre-College Level
There are many facilities for talented students; there are competitions for all kinds of instruments, at different levels and for different age groups. There are also competitions for school orchestras and choirs.
Talented students at Basic Art Schools can receive more instrumental lessons.
Talented students can enter to HME institutions without having finished the secondary level (from the age of 15). Degree in Music is awarded after they finish their secondary level studies.

Overview of Music Teacher Education System

Czech Republic knows a distinction between the training of Instrumental/vocal music teachers, and music teachers for general education. Teachers can be trained at vocational training institutes, called ‘conservatoires’, and at Music Academies (correctly Music Faculties of Academies of Performing Arts of Faculty of Art) (higher music education institutions).

Instrumental/Vocal Music Teacher Education

Instrumental and vocal music teachers are educated at conservatoires and Music Faculties of Academies of Performing Arts (resp. Faculty of Art). There are 13 conservatoires in Czech Republic: in Prague, České Budějovice, Plzeň, Teplice, Pardubice, Brno, Kroměříž, Olomouc, Opava and Ostrava and 1 music gymnasium. There are three higher education music institutions: in Prague, Brno and Ostrava.
Studies at conservatoires last six years and the graduates from these schools can teach at state or private elementary art schools. These institutions offer specialised music education to talented children, young people and, to a certain degree, adults.
Faculties of Music (resp. Faculty of Art) of Academies of Performing Arts offer programmes to train teachers for elementary art schools, conservatories and music faculties, and artists with a certificate in artistic education. They provide a 3-year Bachelor, 2-year Masters programme and 3-4 year PhD programme.
Usually, candidates must pass a special entrance examination. Every institution prepares its own requirements for each type of study programme.
Each music department and every institution has its own curriculum, however, the majority of subjects can be found in all study programmes. These are: Music Psychology and Diagnostics, Pedagogy with Methodology, Methodology of Music Teaching, Special Music Methodology, Didactics and Teaching Practice. Conservatoires also provide some general education subjects, as their students enter the institution at 14 or 15 years of age.
At Music Faculties, the pedagogical orientation of students (optional) is developed in the Bachelor and Master programmes. Within the general studies they acquire necessary knowledge in psychology and pedagogy, which corresponds with music psychological and pedagogical education. Teaching methodology is combined with observation practice (1 week) and then with teaching practice (2 weeks) at elementary and secondary schools as well as at elementary art schools. The final practice lasts 4-6 weeks. Students who are being prepared for a professional music career also have ongoing practice in their specific disciplines.
Mostly classical music, jazz, early music, chamber music, vocal training
see above
Depending on the education received, graduates can teach at state or private elementary art schools, and sometimes at conservatoires and music faculties as well.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Music Faculties, conservatoires (Ostrava and Brno) and some Elementary Music Schools provide further Continuing Professional Development courses in certain fields (Music History, Music Theory, Interpretation of Early Music…)
There are several institutes for Continuing Professional Development (National Institute for Continuing Development, National Institute for Professional Training) and there are private organizations which provide also Continuing Professional Development courses.

Education for Music Teacher in General Education (primary and secondary school)

Music teacher education of music teachers for primary and secondary schools is carried out at the university, within the faculties of education. There are nine in the Czech Republic: Prague, Ústí and Labem, Plzeň, České Budějovice, Hradec Králové, Liberec, Brno, Ostrava and Olomouc.
These universities offer the following types of music teaching programmes:
  • Teaching music in primary-schools,
  • Teaching music in secondary-schools (at most of the Faculties of Education),
  • Conducting church and children choirs and young people choirs (at most of the Faculties of Education)
  • Teaching in Elementary art schools (at most of the Faculties of Education)
Students following the programmes for teaching music at elementary and secondary schools usually study one more subject (Czech language, English language, German language, History, Psychology etc.) so as to be qualified to teach this alongside Music. However, they can study Music teaching in combination with another artistic specialisation – conducting, playing the piano (violin, accordion) and solo singing.
Primary and secondary schools teacher trainees study for three years on the Bachelor programme. This programme includes courses in artistic/music performance skills, Music theory and history. An additional two year Master course focuses on teaching skills and pedagogical practice. In most Music Departments’ Faculties of Education, both Bachelor and Master programmes for teaching music in Elementary Art Schools are accredited, as well as programmes for conducting choirs.
  • Bachelor programme (3 years = 6 semesters), Master programme (2 years = 4 semesters)
  • Before the Bologna Declaration there was also a fully-fledged Master programme lasting 4 or 5 years (8 or 10 semesters)
The following is a breakdown of the taught hours of each programme:
  • Music Teacher Training Bachelor programme – a total of 741 hours (180 credits)
  • Music Teacher Training Master programme – a total of 325 hours (120 credits)
Graduates are allowed to teach at the institutions mentioned above, according to the type of training received.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
No information available.