Lithuania National Overview
Updated in June 2018 by Rima Rimsaite, Head of International Relations Office at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Overview of Higher Music Education System
There are two types of higher education institutions in Lithuania: universities and colleges. A university conducts international level fundamental and applied research, experimental development and (or) creates professional art; based on this activity, carries out university studies, provides university higher education andcreates life-long learning opportunities. A college carries out college studies, which are based on professional practice and applied research, experimental development and (or) professional art, provides college higher education and life-long learning. Lithuanian higher education institutions are either state or non-state.
University studies consist of three cycles: the first cycle (undergraduate) – to obtain Professional Bachelor’s and Bachelor’s degree (6th level in Lithuanian Qualifications Framework (LTQF)) and 6th level in European Qualifications Framework (EQF); the second cycle (graduate) – to obtain Master’s degree (7th level in LTQF and 7th level in EQF); the third cycle (postgraduate) – to obtain Doctoral degree studies (8th level in LTQF and 8th level in EQF).
Colleges offer three-year bachelor degree studies and confer professional bachelor degrees. Universities offer at least two cycles of studies: bachelor (BA) and master (MA) studies. All higher education institutions in Lithuania are authorised to award degrees by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania (in the first and second study cycles), and the Research Council of Lithuania (in the third study cycle).
Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA), Vytautas Magnus University (VMU), Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and Vilnius University of Applied Sciences (VIKO, a college) train professional musicians, and offer other music-related studies. LMTA and VMU (university-level institutions specialising in music education) offer first and second cycle study programmes in music performance and confer BA and MA qualifications. Since 2010, the LMTA has been offering the third cycle studies in music (lasting for four years) and conferring the Doctor of Arts degree.
The first cycle university study programmes provide versatile general education, theoretical preparation and professional skills of the highest level. During bachelor studies, music students learn how to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes artistically and creatively in selected music studies and specialisations.
The second cycle (Master’s degree) university study programmes are designed to prepare for independent research (artistic) work or any other work the performance of which requires scientific knowledge and analytical competences. Master’s studies in music help students develop a distinguished and individual artistic expression, provide knowledge about practice-based research, and lead to independent study.
The third cycle (Doctoral degree) studies are designed for emerging artists and researchers who will be able to influence, and shape the future of culture. The purpose of the artistic doctorate is to nurture artists-researchers who combine artistic practice and research, thus enriching their field of art with valuable insights and new knowledge based on their own artistic maturity and research skills. The artistic doctorate programmes at LMTA cover studies in the fields of music, theatre and film, as well as preparation and public presentation (defence) of an artistic project.
Bologna process: The two-cycle study system was already introduced in Lithuania in 1993, therefore implementation of the Bologna principles was a natural shift towards internationalisation of the study system, mobility and recognition of studies and qualifications gained abroad, and implementation of related instruments such as ECTS (ECTS replaced the national credit system in 2011), and Diploma Supplement (since 2005). Quality assurance is an important and ongoing process at each higher education institution (hereinafter – HEI) in Lithuania. In Lithuania, a national system of internal and external quality assurance in higher education is in place, in line with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Periodically (at least every 7 years) an external studies and higher education institutions’ evaluation is performed. Higher education institutions may carry out only accredited study programmes. External quality assurance in Lithuania is performed by an independent national quality assurance agency – the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (SKVC), which is registered in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).
The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (the Seimas) is the founder of all state funded higher education institutions in Lithuania offering music education. According to the decree on Higher Education and Research, all universities must have two collegial governing bodies, that is, the Board, and the Senate, and one single governing body, the Rector. Colleges must have the Board and the Academic Board, and a single governing body, the Director.
The Board is the highest body responsible for the strategy, accountability, social responsibility and development. The Board is elected for five years, and includes from nine to eleven members among them: one student representative; from four to five members of academic community; from four to five stakeholders (outside the higher education institution; one of the stakeholders is elected by the Student Representation).
|Total number of institutions||
Professional music training is offered at four higher education institutions:
Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre
Vytautas Magnus University
Kaunas University of TechnologyVilnius Applied Arts University (College)
|Total number of music students||
860 (as for a. y. 2016-2017)
Colleges and universities are funded through governmental grants, i.e. the state budget for studies (which varies depending on the number of students receiving study grants), state revenue for annual artistic and research results, tuition fees of students, project based funding, and revenue from other services to society (own money).
All higher education institutions in Lithuania are autonomous in terms of curricula. However, every programme profile should be based on the national descriptors (general study requirements), and expectations of stakeholders (students, academicians, music industry).
The main requirement for the professional music curriculum is to implement the intended learning outcomes, as it is described in the Descriptor of the Study Field of Music, i.e. document developed by experts and approved by the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania.
Study programmes in music cover the following subjects: Music Performance (LMTA and VMU); Composition (LMTA, KTU), Musical Folklore (LMTA), Music Theory and Criticism (LMTA). Music-related studies consist of the following subjects: Music Technology, Electronic Composition and Performance (KTU) and Music Production (VMU). Joint interdisciplinary study programme (master studies) in Music Therapy is offered by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (music) and Vilnius University (medical and health sciences).
Genres in Music Performance: Early Music, Classical & Contemporary, Pop & Jazz, and Folk Music.
Classical Music Performance includes Accordion, Choir Conducting, Conducting, Military Band Conducting, Singing, Piano, Harpsichord, Organ & Harpsichord, Wind and Percussion Instruments, String Instruments, Chamber Music (MA only), Contemporary Music (MA only) and Piano Accompaniment (MA only).
Popular music studies are delivered at college-level institutions (bachelor studies, professional bachelor degree). Jazz studies (vocal and instrumental, in both cycles) are offered at university-level higher education institutions.
Composition studies: Academic Composition (BA), Digital Production (BA) and Digital Technologies (MA) study programmes are offered at LMTA. Music related studies – Music Technology (BA), Electronic Music Composition and Performance (MA) are offered at KTU.
First cycle: 3 years (at colleges), 180 ECTS; 3,5-4 years (at universities), 210 or 240 ECTS
Second cycle: 1,5-2 years (at universities) 90 or 120 ECTS
Third cycle: 4 years (at universities), 240 ECTS
At the end of the first cycle colleges confer the degree of the Professional Bachelor of Arts, universities award the degree of the Bachelor of Arts. The qualification awarded in the second cycle is the Master of Arts. Upon completing of the third cycle studies and after a defence of an art project, a Doctor of Arts degree is awarded.
Upon choosing and completing minor Pedagogical Studies, the qualification of a pedagogue is acquired.
|Entry requirements 1st cycle||
All higher education institutions receive a fixed quota of a state-funded study places per study branch and study cycle. Students compete for a state-funded study place during jointly organised entrance examinations. The joint panel is formed for every programme and includes representatives of all universities in Lithuania which offer studies in music. HEI may admit more successful students than they receive state-funded study places. European citizens have the same rights as national students and may compete for a state-funded study place, but only to programmes taught in English (for example, Music Performance and Composition at LMTA). Students from non-EU countries must pay a tuition fee. The fee is fixed and approved by the Government, and is the same for students of all nationalities including the Lithuanians who successfully pass entrance exams but are entitled to a state-funded study place or study grant.
Candidates who hold the Maturity Certificate, have pre-college musical education and have successfully passed entrance exams are enrolled in the first cycle studies. Admission to every study programme of the first study cycle (bachelor) is organised by the Association of Lithuanian Higher Education Institutions for Organisation of Joint Admission (LAMA BPO), http://www.lamabpo.lt/turinys/holders-foreign-qualifications. Admission requirements are announced on the website of the Association, and websites of each higher education institution.
The list of minimum entrance exams requirements is approved by the Ministry of Education and Science and announced not later than two years before the entrance exams. The list of study programmes and mandatory exams including the main (specialisation) exam is drawn up by higher education institutions and published on the website of HEIs.
|Entry requirements 2nd cycle||
Holders of Bachelor’s qualification (BMus, BA) may enter the second cycle studies. Entrance exams include audition (for music performers) or portfolio (for composers), and interview (discussion on the topics related to the selected study programme and specialisation). Entrance requirements are announced on the websites of higher education institutions.
|% of students who continue with 2nd cycle||About 50% of first cycle graduates continue studies in the second cycle|
An applicant for doctoral studies participates in a competition consisting of two parts: presentation of composition / performance and presentation of art project and its description and conversation.
|Credit point system||
The ECTS credit-point system is used in the study programmes.
Internationalisation goals are defined by each higher education institution; information is available on their websites (at least European Policy Statements). Mobility is an underlying activity at all HEIs in Lithuania because it positively impacts on the quality of teaching and learning, and students’ achievements. Exchanges of music students and teachers are organised and supported by Erasmus+ programme, bilateral agreements, state scholarship scheme, and other mobility programmes.
International profile of music studies is supported by the institutional membership in various European and international associations and networks. LMTA, KTU and Music Academy of VMU are AEC members. LMTA (Vilnius) is a member of ANMA, ECMA, ECMTA, ELIA, innovative conservatoire network ICON, and a number of music networks of Nordic/Baltic higher education programme Nordplus: Sibelius (classical music), Nordpuls (jazz music), Nordopera (opera education), Nordtrad (traditional music), Baltic-Nordic Music Therapy, and music related networks Act-in-Arts (arts entrepreneurship) and ECA (explorations and collaborations in the arts). LMTA joined the European Opera Network in 2017 and offers European study modules for exchange students (MA) in the framework of Erasmus+ and Nordplus programmes, and excellence courses for opera graduates. VMU (Kaunas) is a member of EPTA, EMCY, IGEB, CIA, and ASEM.
Music studies in Lithuania are offered in the Lithuanian language at the majority of higher education institutions. Parallel studies in English and Russian are available for exchange and foreign students. International Music Production programme (in English) is delivered by Vytautas Magnus University and University of Central Lancashire (UK) offering a double Bachelor’s degree: Bachelor (Hons) of Music Production (UCL) and Bachelor of Music Technologies and Industry (VMU). Integrated international music studies, which have been recently developed with the support of Erasmus+ strategic partnership programmes, are offered in the following areas at LMTA: chamber music (ECMA – NEXT STEP) and improvisation (METRIC). Contemporary music studies at LMTA (master’s level) aim at developing international competencies, therefore a number of intensive courses and projects are delivered by incoming teachers. LMTA offers Music Performance and Composition studies in BA and MA study cycles in Lithuanian and English languages. LMTA participates in a virtual mobility programme and organises online master classes (via Polycom system) with the counterparts from the Nordic countries, Europe and USA, and is a member of New Time network. LMTA invites artists in residence from all over the world to develop music projects at the Music Innovation Studies Centre (MiSC), which integrates digital music technology and spatial sound distribution synergies between art, science and education.
All Lithuanian higher education institutions are responsible for the quality of their studies, research/art and other activities. They must make their performance quality indicators publicly available and foster the culture of quality. Quality in studies and research/art activities is ensured through internal quality assurance systems, external reviews and accreditation of study programmes, assessment of research/art activities and external reviews and accreditation of higher education institutions.
External quality evaluation and accreditation in Lithuania is performed by the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (www.skvc.lt) which was established in 1995. SKVC now performs the following main types of evaluation: evaluation of existing and new study programmes, institutions; review of HEIs and evaluations of application to establish new HEIs.
The Law on Higher Education and Research allows HEIs to choose SKVC or another quality assurance agency that is enlisted in EQAR (such as MUSIQUE) for evaluations of their study programmes. The programme accreditation decision (based on the external evaluation report) in Lithuania is taken only by SKVC. In the case of institutional review SKVC is the only institution authorised by the Ministry of Education and Science to organise external evaluation of activities of HEIs and to accredit them.
The mission and strategy of every HEI include statements that refer to training of their students for the profession. There is an increasing external demand for HEIs in Lithuania to track the careers of graduates and demonstrate a clear link to the professional world and its needs. The percentage of music graduates including those who pursue ‘portfolio-based’ and freelance careers and earn their living from music-related activities in Lithuania is close to 85%. Holders of Bachelor’s degree may enter the profession, but normally students start their careers already during their bachelor studies after successfully passing professional auditions.
|Academic Year||Academic year in Lithuania is 40 weeks long, and is organised in semesters. The autumn semester starts from 1 September and lasts for 20 weeks. The spring semester starts from 1 February and lasts for 20 weeks.|
Types of Pre-College Education
|PROFESSIONAL MUSIC/ART SCHOOLS/ GYMNASIA (meno mokyklos, meno gimnazijos, muzikos gimnazijos)||
There are several secondary schools in Lithuania that offer general education with a specialisation in music education.
Students with musical talent can choose to study in general education schools, implementing a specialised educational programme in arts and music (primary, basic and secondary education along with artistic or musical education). These programmes consist of general education and specialised training subjects and modules in music.
Currently, eight schools deliver this programme is in Lithuania: The National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art, Kaunas Juozas Gruodis Conservatoire, Kaunas Juozas Naujalis Music Gymnasium, Klaipeda Stasys Šimkus Conservatoire, Eduardas Balsys Gymnasium of Arts, Panevėžys Vytautas Mikalauskas Art Gymnasium, Šiauliai Saulius Sondeckis Gymnasium of Arts and Music, Vilnius Conservatoire Secondary Music School
The curriculum covers the following subject areas:
|MUSIC AND/OR ART SCHOOLS (muzikos mokyklos, meno mokyklos)||
Music and/or art schools deliver non-formal education and/or formal education supplementing programmes of music education.
Non-formal education programmes are carried out by non-formal education and other educational institutions, freelance teachers and other education providers. Programmes complementing formal education that are provided by music, art or other art and sports schools and financed from the state or municipal budget are assigned to non-formal education.
The network of art and music schools covers all municipalities. These extracurricular activities are meant for children and young people under 19 years old (up to 21 years in case of youngsters with special needs) participating in general education programmes. Schools aim at creating favourable conditions for the systematic development of music, art, dance or theatre competencies, consistently and systematically developing students’ innate artistic abilities and key competences needed for productive participation in contemporary cultural life and for the choice of future profession. Music and/or Art Schools do not aim at training future professionals, they contribute to the development of educated music listeners and amateur players.
In Lithuania, there are more than 100 music and art school implementing long-term music, art, dance and theatre programmes. In the education law, these programmes are considered complementary to formal education programmes (hereinafter FEP). In 2015, the Minister of Education adopted the Recommendations for the Artistic Programmes complementing Formal Education with a view of ensuring high quality of these programmes. According to the above document, music and art schools implement the recommended eight FEP programmes: primary music, basic music, primary art, basic art, primary theatre, basic theatre and primary dance and basic dance programmes. The duration of the programme is four years. On average 65.000 students participate in these programmes annually, and it represents over 20 percent of all Lithuanian students.
Students with a talent for music and art who aim at acquiring higher-level musical competences and pursue the professional career in music can get additional training upon choosing Professional music education modules. The content of these modules depends on students’ age.
Private tuition is not very popular in Lithuania. Non-formal music education is provided by some private music schools (for example Yamaha), schools of aesthetical training and other clubs.
The Mstislav Rostropovich Charity and Support Foundation Support for the Children of Lithuania supports children with a talent for music, science and sports.
|Music and arts in general education||
Music as a subject at the secondary school aims at broadening every student’s cultural awareness and revealing their musical competence, developing emotional and creative personality, willing and able to participate in various forms of musical life, and enriching their personal lives with music. Students learn the subject of music from the first grade. In the primary curriculum, two teaching hours are dedicated to music per week. The programme covers the first four years of learning. In the lower secondary curriculum, one lesson per week is dedicated to music. The programme lasts for six years. It aims at developing perception of music through singing, playing, creative tasks, basic knowledge of music composition and listening to music. Students learn to sing folk and other songs created by different composers; get acquainted with the basic elements of musical language, music, history and the life and work of the most famous Lithuanian and world composers. The main part of music lessons is focused on singing, rhythmic and playing the flute. Some lessons are dedicated to the guitar or other folk music instruments.
Following the upper secondary curriculum, students can choose one subject out of nine arts subjects, including music or computer music technology. Two lessons per week are dedicated to music or computer music technology. This course is aimed at developing an aesthetic and emotional experience and improvement of previously acquired musical skills and knowledge about Lithuanian and global music and cultural understanding, traditions, music, language fundamentals. The participation in various creative activities, music festivals, school, regional or national competitions and concerts is particularly encouraged. Music is an obligatory part of the curriculum. Music lessons can be integrated into non-formal education programmes.
|Students entering higher music education||
Most students come from the Professionally Oriented Music Schools, Conservatoires, Arts Schools, or Gymnasia.
|Special facilities for talented students at Pre-college level||There are many facilities for talented students: national competitions for all students of music at different levels and for different age groups, for all kinds of instruments/singing. There are some international competitions taking place in Lithuania as well. Since 2012, Lithuania has been organising the National Music Olympics where students of general lower and upper secondary schools or music schools, aged between 12 and 18 participate. The Olympics consist of four parts: 1) a musical test (listening to music and answering theoretical questions related to the piece of music); 2) sight singing/playing, rhythm (singing/playing (on their own instrument) a simple melody) and an exercise of clapping a rhythm; 3) performing a song (perform one song chosen by the participant in a public concert; the song must be performed by heart either unaccompanied or with accompaniment of acoustic instruments in a key which is suitable for the performer); 4) performing original composition, which can be composed for the voice, or for acoustic or electro-acoustic instruments, or for audio visual and multimedia performance of maximum three minutes.|
Overview of Music Teacher Education System
In Lithuania, music can be taught by graduates of pedagogical studies upon acquisition of the teacher’s professional qualification. The ways of training music teachers and requirements for the delivery of studies are established in the Regulation on Teacher Training (2010) and Descriptor of the Group of Study Fields of Education (2015). The teacher’s qualification is acquired upon graduation from pedagogical studies which may organised in the following three ways:
- Integrated pedagogical studies, i.e. a bachelor study programme intended for training teachers where music is taught and teaching competences are developed. The teacher’s qualification is acquired upon its completion.
- The parallel method, i.e. while studying any musical instrument, singing, composition or conducting, the student selects pedagogical studies as a minor study programme and acquires the teacher’s professional qualification upon its completion;
- The consecutive method, i.e. upon completion of bachelor studies in music, the student selects one-year professional pedagogical studies (60 credits) intended for acquisition of the teacher’s qualification.
Instrumental/Vocal Music Teacher Education
Pedagogical studies as a model of minor studies, according to which teachers of musical instruments, conducting and singing are trained, are delivered by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Music Academy (LMTA) at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) and Klaipėda University (KU).
|Structure and Curriculum||
Instrumentalists, conductors, singers and musicologists (music theory and history teachers) are trained using the parallel method. These pedagogical studies encompass 60 study credits. They consist of the theoretical part (Pedagogy, Psychology, Methodology of Music Education, and Final Thesis in Pedagogy) constituting 30 study credits and teaching practice constituting another 30 study credits. The subjects of pedagogical studies are arranged in parallel throughout the entire bachelor study programme of the music performer from six to eight credits per semester. Teaching practice is recommended from the second year in pedagogical studies.
Other credits necessary for acquisition of the Bachelor’s qualification degree are dedicated to music subjects, general university education and optional study subjects (Musical Instrument Studies, Chamber Ensemble, Orchestra, Choir, Music Theory and History, Philosophy, Aesthetics, Foreign Languages, etc.).
There are no special requirements for admission into the minor study programme of pedagogy. It may be selected by students in all music study programmes.
In the first cycle where the teacher’s professional qualification is acquired, it is mandatory to study Educational Psychology, Didactics, and Methodology of Subject Teaching, have teaching practice and write the final thesis worth at least three credits.
The teacher’s qualification is not conferred in the second cycle. In the second cycle, instrumentalists, conductors, vocalists, music theory and history students usually improve their competences related to the selected study programme and specialization.
Teachers of all classical, jazz and folk music instruments, singing and choir conducting as well as music theory and history teachers are trained.
Students and teachers participate in mobility programmes with the support of Erasmus+ programme. LMTA participates in Nordplus network NNME for music teachers’ education, and European network ECMTA (European Chamber Music Teachers Association). KU is an active member of European Association of Music Schools EAS. VMU is a member of EPTA (European Piano Music Teachers Association).
It is possible to work as a teacher only upon acquisition of the teacher’s qualification.
Instrumentalists, conductors, vocalists, musicologists having graduated from minor pedagogical studies usually work as teachers in music and art schools, conservatoires or art/music gymnasia. At least the Master’s degree is required for teaching in higher education university-level music schools according to the Law on Science and Studies.
Non-university higher education/college graduates and Bachelors and Masters of Arts having graduated from universities are employed in music and general education schools in Lithuania. As there is a shortage of specialists, graduates of non-university level music schools also successfully work at music and general education schools in Lithuania.
Conservatoires employ teachers who hold Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Higher education institutions usually employ graduates from the third cycle studies.
|Continuing Professional Development (CPD)||
Teachers’ professional development
Provision of professional development services at the national level is organised, implemented and coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Science and its authorised institutions. According to the data from 2016, 64 accredited institutions were entitled to implement professional development programmes intended for teachers and specialists providing educational assistance in Lithuania: educational centres, higher education institutions and their units. The above-mentioned institutions study the needs, organise professional development and retraining, and create conditions for dissemination of best practice. The choice of lectors for teachers’ professional development depends on clients’ needs, proposed seminar topics, the lector’s qualification, competence and recommendations of others. Most of teachers’ professional development programmes/seminars are delivered by teachers-practitioners and subject teachers.
Music teachers’ professional development courses are organised by the Career and Competence Centre of LMTA. Lectures and seminars are delivered in cooperation with LMTA departments and music schools. The Centre also organises master classes, conferences and online education.
Professional non degree studies in music pedagogy offered by LMTA aim at training those who need teacher’s qualification or already work as teachers. Duration of studies is one academic year worth 60 ECTS credits. Studies include Pedagogy, Psychology, Didactics, Music Pedagogy, Teaching Methods, and Pedagogical Practice at schools. A part of courses of the study programme is delivered as distance learning. Upon completion of studies, graduates are able to work as music teachers in formal and non-formal education establishments.
Education for Music Teacher in General Education (primary and secondary school)
Music teachers for general education schools are trained at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA), Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences (LEU), Klaipėda University (KU), Šiauliai University (SU) and Music Academy at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU).
|Structure and Curriculum||
Music teachers for secondary schools are trained in an integrated manner when music subjects are taught, teaching competences are developed, and students get hands-on experience of professional activities. Curriculum is based on scientific research, and promotes lifelong learning. Students acquire practical abilities required for independent professional activities, i.e. master the pedagogical interaction with pupils, targeted application of didactic principles and methods, management of educational process, cooperation in inter-disciplinary specialist groups and with pupils’ parents/caretakers.
Study programmes: Art Pedagogy (BA, MA) at LMTA, and Music Pedagogy at VMU (BA).
Choir singing, children music band teaching, teaching music in general schools.
Students and teachers participate in Erasmus+ mobility programmes. LMTA and LEU participates in Nordplus network NNME for music teachers’ education. KU is member of European Association of Music Schools EAS.
It is possible to work as a teacher only upon acquisition of the teacher’s qualification. University graduates holding Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Pedagogy are employed in general education (primary and elementary) schools and pre-schools (kindergartens) in Lithuania.
|Continuing Professional Development (CPD)||The same CPD information as provided above for Instrumental and Vocal Music Teacher Training.|