AEC Project ‘Accreditation in European Professional Music Training’

A European project entitled ‘Accreditation in European Professional Music Training’ was initiated in 2006 with quality assurance and accreditation as its main theme. The project, which has been formally closed down on 1 October, built on the successful results of the EU/USA project entitled ‘Music Study, Mobility and Accountability’.

Project aims and objectives

The ‘Accreditation in European Professional Music Training’ project was aiming to improve the overall quality of professional music training in higher education in Europe and to facilitate the national and transnational recognition of studies and qualifications in the field of music.

For this purpose, a European approach to external quality assurance and accreditation in the music sector was developed with the following objectives:

  • To formulate, test and disseminate a set of common European standards and procedures for external quality assurance and accreditation in music study, taking into account its specific characteristics and cultural diversity.
  • To develop these standards and procedures using a wide consultation and evaluation process.
  • To make these standards and procedures relevant for various possible future contexts depending on political developments in accreditation and external quality assurance at national and European level:
    1. As a common reference framework adding a European dimension to existing national institutional and programme external quality assurance and accreditation procedures, and increasing the usability of these procedures in relation to the field of music, while at the same time offering guidelines for the implementation of such procedures in countries where these do not yet exist;
    2. As a basis for a feasibility study on the development of a European subject-specific peer review system in the field of music, which can be offered as an evaluation tool to AEC member institutions providing institutions with a ‘European quality label’.
  • To produce a register of experts for the review panels, including guidelines on how experts will be selected and prepared.
  • To test the developed standards and procedures through test visits during April/May 2007.
  • To present the project outcomes through a final conference and two project information newsletters

Project outcomes

1. The ‘AEC Framework Document on Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Music’

Within the project, a framework document was developed by a European-wide working group, which contains suggestions and guidelines to support quality assurance and accreditation procedures in higher music education. The document is designed to take account of the fact that quality assurance and accreditation can involve many different stakeholders and may take place in different contexts. As a result, the proposed framework document can be used in a highly flexible manner, taking into account the diversity of systems and approaches to quality assurance and accreditation in higher education that exist in Europe today. The basic assumption, however, is that everything written in this document is based on a thorough understanding of the characteristics and needs of the higher music education sector. The document should therefore be able to assist AEC member institutions in relation to quality assurance or accreditation procedures and their quality enhancement activities.

2. Practical handbook ‘How to prepare for an institutional or programme review in Higher Music Education?’

Within the project, a practical handbook was also been developed by the working group. It is designed for the stakeholders involved in the implementation of the quality assurance and accreditation procedures, mainly leaders and staff of conservatoires, but also members of teams of reviewers. The handbook explains the aims of the quality assurance and accreditation exercise and the importance of self-evaluation, and provides details on the AEC review procedure.

3. Test evaluation visits

The criteria and guidelines suggested in the framework document have been tested during test review visits in institutions in Weimar, Prague, Oslo and Trieste. During these test visits, review teams consisting of 3 conservatoire experts from different European countries, performed an institutional review in cooperation with the institution with the aim to gain feedback on the developed criteria and procedures. The results of these visits were fed into a final version of the framework document.

4. Register of experts

The register of experts in the field of professional music training is being developed. Quality assurance and accreditation agencies searching for experts for quality assurance and accreditation procedures in music will be able to consult it.

5. Final conference

The results of this project were presented at a final conference taking place at the Janácek Academy of Music in Brno, 29-30 June 2007. The aims of this conference were to give conservatoire representatives, quality assurance and accreditation experts and ministerial officials the opportunity to:
  • discuss a more subject-specific approach to quality assurance and accreditation at both national and European levels with music as a case study
  • give feedback on the draft version of the AEC Framework Document in plenary sessions and breakout working groups
  • be informed about the results of the test evaluation visits
  • discuss the desirability and feasibility of the creation of a ‘European Quality Label in Music’ as a result of a subject-specific approach to quality assurance and accreditation at national and/or European level.
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Newsletter 2 English French German