Luxembourg National Overview

Updated in December 2016 by Marc Treinen, Director of Conservatoire de la ville d’Esch-sur-Alzette.

Overview of Higher Music Education System

Music education in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is ruled by the Act of April 28, 1998, in particular addressing the harmonization of music education at community level, and by several grand-ducal rules taken in accordance with the act. According to this act, music education in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has three objectives:

  • To arouse, develop and cultivate among young people the knowledge of music allowing them to participate in the musical life;
  • To offer young people a training specialized in the various musical disciplines, allowing them to make in-depth musical studies at higher/university level;
  • To offer adults training and improvement courses.

Musical teaching is organized by the community though subjected to the supervision of the Minister of Culture regarding the educational and cultural aspects, and by the Minister of the Interior for the administrative and financial aspects. Each specialized teaching includes, theoretically, the four following levels:

  • The lower level, ended by a First Grade Diploma;
  • The medium level, ended by an Average Level Diploma;
  • The specialized medium level, ended by a First Prize;
  • The higher level, ended by a First Superior Degree.

The First Prize Diploma mentioned corresponds to the secondary level recognized by the State. The First Superior Degree is considered equivalent to a first year of higher studies. The examination to obtain the Higher Diploma will be carried out in conservatoires at national level.

Music education is given:

  • In conservatoires, ensuring education in all levels mentioned above. Moreover, conservatoires have to teach diction, drama, dance, teaching and methodology;
  • In music schools, ensuring music education at the lower and medium levels. Moreover, they can ensure, under conditions to be defined by grand-ducal regulations, training in the specialized medium level;
  • Through courses ensuring music initiation in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and, if necessary, music education at the lower level.

The denominations of ‘Conservatoire’, ‘Music School’ and ‘Music Course’ are reserved for the institutions matching the criteria required for each above mentioned category. There are two types of teachers in music education in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: teachers and junior lecturers.

The requirements in the training, recruitment and remuneration of the teachers of conservatoires are fixed in accordance with the legislation concerning the community civil servant.

The requirements in the training, recruitment and remuneration of the junior lecturers in institutions of music education are fixed by grand-ducal regulation taken in accordance with the Act of April 28, 1998, related in particular to the harmonization of music education in the community sector.

The students wishing to stand for a position of teacher in a conservatoire must have a degree in higher or university education recognized by the Minister in charge of higher education, and take a competitive examination to be admitted in the training course organized by the community or the association of communities which the conservatoire comes under the authority of. At the end of the training course, the applicant must pass a final admission examination.

All the students applying for a position of teacher in music education must have a certificate showing they completed training in teaching and methodology. This certificate can be issued by a Luxembourg conservatoire or a recognized foreign institution.
With regard to junior lecturers, it is planned to set up a certificate of ability in music education.

Governance  The Director and the assistant are nominated by the local council.
Total number of institutions
Total number of music students
Government 2/3, local authority 1/3
Each school has their own fees
It is nationally determined as explained in the overview.
About 2/3 instrument and 1/3 other subjects
Instrument lessons one-on-one, other subjects in classes with maximum 15 students
Classical, jazz
1st and 2nd cycle system
Each cycle takes 4 years
As explained in the overview
Entry requirements 1st cycle
Entry requirements 2nd cycle
% of students who continue with 2nd cycle
3rd cycle
Credit point system
Quality assurance
Academic Year
Overview of the Pre-College Music Education System
Higher level music education in Luxembourg is provided through three conservatoires. However, these institutes do not provide a full higher music education programme and are therefore not possible to give out Bachelor or Master Degrees. Conservatoires have a two-year higher education curriculum, which equals one year of Bachelor education. Most students continue their education abroad.

Types of Pre-College Education

All three conservatoires in Luxembourg actually function like ‘regular’ music schools; they provide music education to all students, children as well as adults. As described above, conservatoires also provide two years of higher music education. The following text talks about pre-college education at conservatoires.
Normally, students enter the conservatoire without entrance examinations. Conservatoires do not only provide music education, but, for instance, classical and modern dance and theatre too. The national curriculum which is being used divides the educational trajectory in three levels. Every level earns a student a diploma. Exams have to be taken every two years. Children enter the conservatoire at 6, and study until they are 16-19 (talented students may finish earlier than regular students). Adults have a different curriculum which lasts eight years. Studies include instrumental/vocal tuition by conservatoire professors, theory subjects and ensemble and orchestra playing.
The final examination of the pre-college education at a conservatoire can count as an entrance exam to the higher education department of the conservatoire. A student needs to receive a high score at the pre-college final exam (at least 50 points out of 60, meaning ‘very good’) to be able to enter the higher education department. Exam juries often include external experts from abroad (Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands).
Conservatoires receive funding from the municipality (2/3) and the government (1/3). Students pay a small tuition fee.
All three conservatoires in Luxembourg provide pre-college education:
  • Conservatoire de la ville d’Esch-sur-Alzette
  • Conservatoire de Musique de la Ville de Luxembourg
  • Conservatoire du Nord Diekirch-Ettelbruck
UGDA Music School (Ecole de musique)

The UGDA (Union Grand-Duc Adolphe) is the National Federation of Music of Luxembourg. The UGDA organises music education via their music schools that are spread all over the country, from cities to small villages. Schools follow a national curriculum, providing instrumental education (mostly wind instruments), theory classes and ensembles to children and adults.

UGDA music schools focus on amateur training and only provide a first diploma (inferieur) in music; students who want to continue their music education most often proceed to Junior Departments within conservatoires.
Luxembourg has a tradition of wind music. There are many fanfares that work closely together with UGDA music schools.

Schools receive funding from the municipality (approximately two-thirds) and the government (approximately one-third). Students pay a small tuition fee.

Municipal Music School (Ecole de musique)

Many municipalities have their own Music Schools. These Municipal Music Schools follow a national curriculum, providing amateur education and some preparation for professional music training to children and adults. The level of Municipal Music Schools differs from school to school. Some are quite big and have reached a good level (e.g. Echternach, Dudelange).

Note: Most Music Schools and Junior Departments as described above focus on classical music and jazz music. Pop and rock music is not taught.

Music education as part of general education

Several general education schools place a special emphasis on music education. These schools provide basic music theory classes and have choirs as part of their curriculum. The curriculum leaves space for instrumental tuition as well, but students receive those lessons at conservatoires.

Luxembourg knows many international employees. Their children often visit the International School or the European School. These schools pay much attention to music education and have their own choirs, ensembles and orchestras.

Private Music School
There are Private Music Schools in Luxembourg. They normally only provide a lower level education, focused on amateurs. Private Music Schools often have a limited offer of instrumental tuition. Some use a special educational method, like Suzuki.
Private tuition Qualified teachers provide instrumental and vocal tuition, outside of any institutes or general education systems. Due to the high costs, private teaching it is not very popular.

Additional Information

There are strong links between conservatoires and other institutes. There is a national committee of music education (Commissariat à l’enseignement musical) where representatives of all institutes meet, every two weeks, to discuss any topics related to music education (e.g. examinations, curricula). The committee has working groups that compose national curricula.

Students entering higher music education
Most students come from Junior Departments. Very few students come from Music Schools organised by municipalities.
Students entering Higher Music Education
Special Facilities for Talented Students at Pre-College Level
Luxembourg has competitions for talented young musicians, like the ‘Concours Luxembourgeois pour Jeunes Solistes’. There are youth orchestras and choirs.
Conservatoires may provide longer lesson time or more lessons per week to talented students. There are private foundations that give out grants each year to students who excelled in their instrument.
Each year, the Conservatoire of the City of Luxembourg encourages the 200 students that had the best results at the final examinations by supporting them financially. Students receive up to 150€, which is essentially the money return of the study fee.

Overview of Music Teacher Education System

In Luxembourg, the only type of teacher training is instrumental/vocal music teacher training. Graduates are prepared for employment in Luxembourgish music schools and conservatoires. The two institutions that offer such training are the conservatoires of Luxembourg City and Esch/Alzette.

Instrumental/Vocal Music Teacher Education

There are two institutions in Luxembourg that offer vocal/instrumental music teacher training:
The Luxembourg Conservatoire and the Music Conservatoire in Esch/Alzette. Both of these institutions are conservatories (but not higher music education institutions).
Programme Structure

The programme of study is a two-year cycle vocational training programme. To be admitted to the programme, students are required to hold a diplôme supérieur of a Luxembourgish conservatoire (or foreign equivalent).

Teacher training in these two programmes is specifically aimed at pedagogical study, which is obligatory for music teachers with a new employment in music schools. Music teachers in conservatoires normally have a pedagogical study background they have obtained in European music high-schools. Thus, subjects of study include music pedagogy, as well as methodology.


As part of a larger curriculum, vocal/instrumental music teacher training complements the normal music education which is organized in four cycles, the last cycle being the division supérieur. After successful completion, the student receives a diploma of the same title. This is equal with the level of a first or second high-school year.

Music education in Luxembourg is not a full specialised cycle; therefore there is no Bachelor or Master diploma to deliver. Students must study outside of Luxembourg to receive such certifications. Within Luxembourg, the final title to receive after the accomplished two years cycle of music teacher training is a Certificat d’aptitude à l’enseignement with the specification of the instrument, or for example certificat d’aptitude à l’enseignement du piano.

Students who complete vocal/instrumental music teacher training in Luxembourg are eligible for job opportunities mostly in local music schools, which are organised by smaller cities and the Fédération Nationale de Musique du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (UGDA). These students are trained for music lessons (instrumental/vocal, solfège) designated to children aged between 6 and 18 years, especially for lower levels. The upper levels are organised by the conservatoires.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Continuing professional development opportunities are organised in music schools and conservatoires by the commissariat à l’enseignement musical – a department of the culture ministry. Additionally, the Luxembourg Music Education Society organises three to four conferences per year.

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

General music education teacher training is not offered in Luxembourg; students have to leave Luxembourg for studies (Bachelor and Master levels) in other European countries.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)