Draft – Sweden National Overview

Updated (in progress) in November 2016 by Lena Arstam, International Relations Coordinator and Ann-Charlotte Carlén, Rector at the Malmö Academy of Music.

Overview of Higher Music Education System

All professional music training in Sweden is incorporated in the general university framework and falls under the same jurisdiction, with the exception of the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, which is not part of a university. All undergraduate education is provided in the form of courses. These may be combined by the institution providing them to create programmes of education with a varying element of individual choice. Students themselves are also able to combine different courses into a degree. The extent of a programme of education or a course is measured in credits. One credit corresponds to one week’s full-time study. An academic year normally consists of 60 credits, and is usually divided into an autumn term and a spring term. In addition, certain institutions of higher education give courses during the summer.
In the Degree Ordinance, the Government lays down which degrees may be awarded and the objectives for these degrees. Every course and programme of education has a plan decided by the institution of higher education in question. Degrees in undergraduate education are divided into general degrees and professional degrees e.g. the different musical professional degrees.
The internal organisation of institutions of higher education is decided by the institutions themselves. Certain guidelines are laid down in the Higher Education Act and the Higher Education Ordinance. In decision-making bodies created for matters of research and undergraduate education, teaching staff is always to have the majority. The students have the right to be represented by at least two members on the faculty board and on other bodies dealing with educational matters. With the exception of the above-mentioned rules, Swedish institutions of higher education may themselves determine their internal organisational structure and the decision-making bodies and boards required for their purposes.
The development of programmes in music in Sweden is dependent on developments in the rest of Europe and the initiatives taken and conceived in connection with the Bologna Process. This applies, for instance, to the structure of degrees, equivalence of previous studies in other European countries and the increased possibilities of finding employment elsewhere in Europe.
The University is normally organised into faculties. There are also institutes and research centres connected to the university and the faculties. The faculty is led by the Faculty Board, which reports to the Board of the university. The Faculty Board has an overall responsibility for research and education. At the institution level there is a council led by a rector and it is the highest decision-making body at The Academy of Music. Under the council there is a Board of Directors which has an overall responsibility for its operation(s).

Total number of institutions
Total number of music students
Approxiamately 3000
All university institutions are funded by the state (from the education and research sector of the state budget). All other institutions, except Royal College of Music in Stockholm, are connected to universities and funded via the university.
The Degree Ordinance is the only Government control. It discerns which degrees may be awarded and the objectives for these degrees. Every programme has a curriculum decided by the institution of higher education in question.
Genres at Conservatoires in Sweden are classical, jazz, rock, folk- and world music, singer song writing and mixed genres.
2-cycle system
1st cycle: 3 years
2nd cycle: 2 years
Performance composition and church music programme are organised in bachelor and master and post graduate. The Music teacher programme is since 2011 one programme for professional music teachers awarded to be a Teachers Exam in Music which is a non-Bologna degree.
Entry requirements 1st cycle
No information available yet.
Entry requirements 2nd cycle
Passed examinations for the first cycle with acceptable results.
% of students who continue with 2nd cycle approximately 80%
3rd cycle
Four institutions offer a third cycle programme in professional music training: Malmö Academy of Music, Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Göteborg University- School of Music and Music Education, and School of Music in Piteå.
Örebro University offers a 3rd cycle programmen in music education research, under the umbrella of Musicology. MAM offers programs in Music Education Research as well as Artistic Research in Music.
Credit point system
Institutions make use of a credit point system, compatible with ECTS.
The artistic PhD program is part of developing a European network of PhD programs to include Kunstuniversität Graz, Norges Musikhögskole, Doc Artes and possibly one or two more schools. At present some exchange is being organized through Erasmus. Within the music education research program there are international links developed through the Nordic Network for Music Education Research (NNMPF) and the Nordic Network for Master Education in Music Education (NNME). Internationalisation is a prioritized area, active collaboration is presently taking with Hedmark University College and University of the Arts Helsinki.
Quality assurance

The Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslerämbetet, UKÄ) is a government agency supervising Swedish higher education institutions. Its main fields of responsibility are quality assurance and appraisal of degree-awarding powers, legal supervision, as well as the following up of development and progress in the higher education sector. (see here)

A new system of quality assurance will be implemented in 2017. In it, higher education institutions and UKÄ will have a shared responsibility for quality assurance. Four different types of assessment will be used by UKÄ: appraisals of degree awarding powers, reviews of the quality assurance procedures of the higher education institutions, degree program evaluations, and, finally, thematic evaluations. The higher education institutions should organize their own quality assurance procedures, including external evaluations, and the role of UKÄ will be, in most cases, to assess the functionality and efficiency of these procedures rather than the educational quality itself.

In the new system, institutionally initiated external evaluations might be done within the framework of an overall local university system, or might be performed in accordance with external models like the MusiQue.

The Higher Education Act (Högskolelagen), the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen) and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) form the base of assessment in the new system. The perspectives of first and second-cycle students and of doctoral students, of the labour market, and of gender equality are to be emphasized. (see here)

No information available yet
Academic Year
The academic year is divided into two terms. The autumn term starts in mid-August and lasts until mid-January when the spring term begins. The spring term lasts until the beginning of June. A brief break of about a fortnight is common at the end of December (over Christmas and the New Year).
Overview of the Pre-College Music Education System
There are several possibilities in Sweden to be musically trained prior to entering higher education, inside and outside of the general state organised education system.

Types of Pre-College Education

Outside of the general education system
General Music School/ General Arts School (Kommunal musikskola/ Kommunal Kulturskola)
General Music Schools and General Arts Schools provide music education, outside of the general education system to students from 9 to 18+ years of age. Their education is meant for beginners and amateurs. There is no national curriculum used, and students do not take examinations, and do not receive diplomas.
Whereas General Music Schools focus on music education only, General Arts Schools provide all kind of arts courses (e.g. music, dance, fine arts and drama).
General Music Schools and General Art Schools are widespread, and can be found in almost every municipality. Schools receive funding from local authorities. In some municipalities students do not have to pay any tuition fees, in others a small fee has to be paid.
Private Music School (Privat Musikskola)
Private Music Schools provide amateur music education outside of the general education system, to students from 9 to 20+ years of age. Schools do not use a national curriculum.
The amount of Private Music Schools is small, but their number is increasing. Schools are provided by e.g. individuals, study associations, churches or educational companies. Since the schools are funded privately, the tuition fees being paid by its students can be quite high. Churches providing an own Music School often provide tuition for free or for a small fee.
Private tuition (Privatundervisning)
Qualified teachers provide music education outside of any institution or the general education system. It caters for students between 9 to 20+ years of age. The aim of the tuition varies from amateur training to (pre-) professional music training, depending on the student’s personal ambition.
Inside the general education system
Music Classes in Compulsory School (Grundskola)
Compulsory Schools provide general education for children from 7 to 16. Schools can have different subject specialisations or methodical ideas. Some specialised Compulsory Schools have chosen to extend music education and have organised departments, Music Classes (Musikklasser), most often specialised in choir or orchestral music. Sometimes, these schools provide music theory lessons (taught in groups of approx. 5-15 children) and different kinds of instrumental/vocal ensembles. They can also provide tuition in music technology and multimedia production. The schools focus on amateur music education.
Students receive a Leaving Certificate with a final grade in music.
Schools are funded by local authorities and are therefore free of tuition fees
Music in Upper Secondary School (Gymnasieskola)
Upper Secondary School is a non-compulsory type of education that students can take after finishing Compulsory School. It caters for students between 16 and 20 years of age. Schools offer seventeen national Upper Secondary Programmes, Arts being one of them. Within the Arts Programme, there is a special program for music (the Music Branch of the Arts Programme [Estetiskt program med musikinriktning]).
The curriculum includes general education subjects, and a number of programme-specific subjects: instrumental/vocal tuition (often one-to-one), music theory lessons, choir/orchestra and ensemble. Often some other specialised subjects are taught; e.g. music management, music technology and multimedia production, conducting, composition, and various subjects in performing arts education and training.
The aim of the Music Branch is broad; it prepares students for activities within the field of music, both for students who want to embark on a career in music and for those who have music as a hobby.
Students have to take examinations, and will leave the school with a Leaving Certificate with a grade in music.
Tuition is free, since the schools are funded by local authorities.
Specialised Music Schools There are two types of Specialised Music Schools:

  • Folk High School (Folkhögskola)
  • Supplementary Education (Kompletterande utbildning)

Folk High Schools are independent adult education colleges. They provide all kinds of training and courses to students over 18 years of age, including music training from amateur to pre-professional level. The Folk High Schools traditionally provide the final education before higher education in music.
The music programs in the Folk High Schools are often specialised, e.g. classic-, jazz-, traditional folk-, world-, contemporary- and church music. It is not unusual to find the same teacher in a Music Folk High School as in a nearby Music Faculty (higher education institution).
After completing a course, students receive a certificate.
Folk High Schools are funded by the Swedish Government and are therefore free of charge.
Supplementary Education is part of the adult education system. It caters for students over 18 years of age. Supplementary Education can be provided by individuals, study associations, trusts or educational companies. It is funded privately, meaning that tuition fees can be quite high.
Supplementary Education provides personalised study paths to students at any level; schools do not follow national syllabi. Training may go from beginner level up to preparing students for the entrance examinations of higher music education institutions, or vocational training.
The participant is given a grade or an attendance certificate from the educational provider, with assessment grades defined by each provider. Many schools also issue diplomas. Since the schools do not follow national syllabuses, the certificates have no official status. This means that they do not provide any credit points that can be used in applying for higher education.

Advanced Vocational Training and Education (Kvalificerad yrkesutbildning) An alternative to university or college education is Advanced Vocational Training and Education. It is post-upper secondary education offering courses that aim to lead to employment. The educational programme is designed in consultation with employers. Advanced Vocational Training and Education caters for students from 18 years of age, providing music education at all levels, without general education.
Although the formal aim of the education is vocational, for some students this type of training may work as musical training to prepare for higher music education on a level similar as the education provided by Music Folk High Schools. This mainly goes for students who want to proceed to higher music education in music related studies, like music production.
A third of these studies are formed by work-place experience (e.g. multimedia production, business marketing, music management and music production).
Students who have completed the requirements for all stages of the course receive a diploma in Advanced Vocational Training. This diploma does not count as credit points in higher education.
Advanced Vocational Training and Education is completely funded by the Swedish Government, thus there are no tuition fees.

Additional Information

Swedish institutions for higher music education do not have formal Pre-college Departments (the higher education ordinance and funding system does not allow it). Some institutions (Music Schools) have informal activities (‘Saturday-School’) where professors from the academies give master classes to talented children.
A very clear description of the Swedish educational system (in English) can be found here.

Music and Arts in General Education
See above.
Students entering Higher Music Education
Most students come from Specialised Music Schools (Folk High School, Supplementary Education). Fewer students come from Upper Secondary Schools, or private lessons. Hardly any students come from other institutions.
Special Facilities for Talented Students at Pre-College Level
No information available

Overview of Music Teacher Education System

The Swedish system of higher education was decentralised in the early 1990’s. Presently, the government sets targets and frameworks but leaves the content of education (study programmes and courses) to be decided by the institutions. Higher education contributes to promoting regional development, and the so-called Third Priority directive was designed to promote collaboration between institutions for higher education and the business world, industry, cultural and public sector.
In Sweden, universities and university colleges are spread all over the country. Higher music education is offered in Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Örebro, Piteå and Arvika. All schools belong to the local or regional university except Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm, which is an independent university college. Teacher training is available at all the six schools mentioned above.
Teacher training was reformed in 2001. The aim is to train teachers that are not only able to work in schools or other fields of education, but they should be attractive also for other branches outside music teaching. The new teacher training programme in music contains pedagogical studies and in-field service as well as studies in the main instrument. In addition, several elective courses are available. Both types of music teachers, for both general education and instrumental/vocal teaching, are provided. For a long time these two types have been closely integrated. In the new teacher training programme it can be difficult to identify the types.

Instrumental/Vocal Music Teacher Education

Structure and Curriculum
Instruction is provided in the form of courses, mostly combined into programmes. The programmes are flexible, allowing the students to design their own profile within the framework of the programmes. It is therefore possible for students to choose their own programme, aiming at an instrumental or vocal teacher qualification at the end.
It is possible to have a variety of subjects within the diploma: music for classroom, another subject for classroom, one or more instrument(s), music theory, vocals, choir, conducting, etc. The main focus of the training programmes is instrumental/vocal training, music theory, conducting, music in the classroom, pedagogy and methodology. This is not prescribed or described by anyone but the board of the individual school.
Flexibility is an important key word in teacher training, with the implication that students will be able to easily change their area of specialisation by complementary studies. All programmes include research preparation and submitting of a thesis or completion of one or two special project(s), 30 ECTS-credits all together
In Sweden genres are available at the performance and the music teacher programme. We have described this in the text above.
In Sweden genres are available at the performance and the music teacher programme. We have described this in the text above.
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)

Institutions Six
Structure and Curriculum
Instruction is provided in the form of courses, mostly combined into programmes. The programmes are more or less flexible, allowing the students to design their own profile within the framework of the programmes. It is therefore possible for students to choose their own programme, aiming at general teacher qualification at the end. A credit system is used, 1,5 ECT-credits is equivalent to one week of full-time study. The duration of the teacher training programme is 4,5 years.
As mentioned previously, it is possible to have a variety of subjects within the diploma: music for classroom, another subject for classroom, one or more instrument(s), music theory, vocals, choir, conducting, etc. The main focus of the training programmes is instrumental/vocal training, music theory, conducting, music in the classroom, pedagogy and methodology. This is not prescribed or described by anyone but the board of the individual school
The qualification needed in order to teach music in general secondary education is that you have studied at least 4,5 years.
The diploma awarded upon completion of the teacher education programme (Lärarexamen) will show the graduate’s specialization and status of qualification. One of the principle ideas of the 2001 reform is that all teachers, whether they intend to work in pre-school or upper secondary school, need a common basis of knowledge and general teacher training. Therefore about 1,5 years (spread throughout the whole course of the studies) will be the same for all students.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
There are many courses (shorter and longer) available to former students.