Apply to degree studies with kantele as a main instrument (Bachelor + Master)

Admissions guide to the 5.5-year programme in Classical Music Performance (kantele as a main instrument).

Degree studies with kantele as a main instrument are a part of the Classical Music Performance programme.

Note! These admissions requirements are outdated. The updated admissions guide for the year 2025 will be published in November 2024 at latest. Submit your email address to receive a notification message when the Sibelius Academy publishes its admissions guides for 2025:

Admissions schedule 2024

  • Application period: Send your application in Studyinfo portal between 3 January 2024 8 am EET and 17 January 2024 3 pm EET
  • Submit required attachments and possible advance assignments at latest 24 January 2024 3 pm EET
  • Sibelius Academy confirms your eligibility to apply at latest 1 March 2024
  • First stage submission by 22 March 2024, 3pm EET (Finnish time)
  • General music skills test (remotely): 16 April 2023
  • Second stage held on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki on 10 May 2024
  • Applicants demonstrating their language skills with a language skills certificate: Submit your test result certificate at latest 17 May 2024 3 pm EEST
  • Sibelius Academy publishes admissions results 31 May 2024
  • Confirm your study place at latest 11 July 2024 3 pm EEST:
    • Officially accept your study place
    • Register for the academic year
    • Conditionally admitted applicants: Submit the required degree certificate
    • Students who are required to pay tuition fees: Pay your tuition fee
  • Waiting list procedure ends 30 July 2024 3 pm EEST
  • New students’ studies begin in August 2024

Who can apply?

A person with the background education required for the degree programme in question and sufficient language skills may apply for studies.

In addition, a person who completes the required background education after the end of the application period, but no later than 11 July 2024 at 3 pm EEST is eligible to apply. In that case, the admission decision is conditional until the applicant submits a certificate of the completed degree or other studies required for eligibility. If the applicant fails to submit the certificate by said deadline, the study place will be cancelled.

The Sibelius Academy may, at its discretion, also accept a temporary certificate issued by the educational institution if it indicates that the applicant has completed all studies required for the degree and will receive the degree certificate later.

Sibelius Academy will check every applicant’s eligibility before the entrance examination.

Students are admitted to the Sibelius Academy based on their performance in the entrance examination. Certificate-based admissions or quotas for first-time applicants are not in place.

Combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees (3 + 2.5 years)

A person who has completed at least one of the following is eligible to apply:

  • The Finnish Matriculation Examination
  • An International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma
  • A European Baccalaureate (EB) diploma at a European School
  • A Reifeprüfung or Deutsches Internationales Abitur (RP / DIA) diploma
  • A Finnish vocational upper secondary qualification, a further vocational qualification, or a specialist vocational qualification defined under the Act on Vocational Education and Training
  • A foreign degree or qualification that makes you eligible for corresponding higher education in the awarding country
  • A Cambridge Advanced International Certificate (AICE)
  • A degree at a Finnish higher education institution or a degree abroad corresponding to at least a bachelor’s degree.

In addition, a person who has been granted the right to study in a university in Finland is eligible to apply.

Other exceptions to eligibility

The applicant cannot apply for both 5.5-year and 2.5-year programmes of a single major subject or main instrument in the same year. However, if the applicant submits an application to both programmes, the Sibelius Academy will

  • take account of the application for the 2.5-year programme if the applicant is eligible for it, or
  • take account of the application for the 5.5-year programme if the applicant is not eligible for the 2.5-year programme.

If the applicant has completed a higher education degree at the Sibelius Academy, they cannot apply for the same main subject again, or the same main instrument in the case of Classical Music Performance.

The student admission for bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes applies to applicants who do not have a valid right to study at Uniarts Helsinki at the beginning of the applied right to study, with the exception of persons who have the vice rector’s permission to complete two degrees simultaneously. A degree student registered at Uniarts Helsinki may apply for a change of right to study within the Sibelius Academy or between academies. There are separate instructions for applying for a change of the right to study and for applying for a permission to complete two degrees simultaneously. More information about the rule of one study right can be found here.

Language requirements

The languages of tuition in the Classical Music Performance programme are Finnish, Swedish, and English. You must demonstrate your language proficiency in one of the abovementioned languages by the given deadline. However, the majority of group tuition at the Sibelius Academy is provided in Finnish or English.

How to apply

Submit your application in the spring’s first joint application period from 3 to 17 January 2024 by 3pm EET in the Studyinfo portal.

Click here to read instruction on how to fill the application form. Please note that you do not need to register in Studyinfo portal before completing the application form.

Submit the supporting documents and any advance assignments in accordance with the instructions provided.

Supporting documents

Submit the supporting documents via the Studyinfo portal as PDF files by 3pm EET on 24 January 2024. If the documents are not in Finnish, Swedish, or English, append a translation by an authorised translator into one of these languages.

Documents required from all applicants:

  • Degree certificate of the background education and a transcript of study records
    If you complete your degree after the end of the application period, it is adequate to submit the degree certificate by 3pm EEST on 11 July 2024. However, all applicants must submit a transcript of records during the application period.

    In case of a foreign degree, the Sibelius Academy may request clarification on the degree’s status within the awarding country’s education system.
  • Certificate demonstrating language proficiency
    If you demonstrate your language proficiency based on your previous studies, the degree certificate or its appendix must clearly indicate the language in which the degree was completed. The degree demonstrating language proficiency must be completed by 3pm EEST on 11 July 2024.

You will NOT need to submit a certificate of your prior education (degree certificate, transcript of records) or language proficiency if they are based on one of the following:

  • You have completed the Finnish matriculation examination in 1990 or later.
  • You have completed a Finnish vocational upper secondary qualification in 2017 or later.
  • You have completed a Finnish further vocational qualification or specialist vocational qualification in 2018 or later.

In the above cases, we will receive your information from the electronic qualification register. If necessary, the Sibelius Academy will ask you for further information by e-mail.

Applicants applying for an entrance examination which includes sections that are organized remotely or by video recording shall also be required to:

  • Official proof of identity
    Append a copy of your passport, EU identity card or Finnish driving licence to your application.

Applicants to programmes organised in English are also required to submit:

  • A document exempting from tuition fees
    If you apply to study in English, you will be liable to pay tuition fees unless you submit a document indicating that you are exempt. For more information on tuition fees, see Tuition fees and scholarships.

Refugees, persons in a refugee-like situation and asylum seekers:

If you are unable to submit documentary evidence of your degree, you may still be deemed eligible to apply. Submit a reliable report on the completed degree that grants you eligibility to apply and an additional report explaining why the documents are not available. In addition, submit an official decision on your refugee status (asylum decision or residence permit based on protection, or a proof that such an application is pending). Submit the required documents by email to the Admissions Office by 24 January 2024 3pm EET. The Sibelius Academy will make a decision on your eligibility based on the submitted report. Applicants with refugee status must provide proof of their language skills required for the studies in one of the ways specified in the selection criteria (in Language requirements).

Advance assignments

Any advance assignments are mentioned in the target programme’s admissions criteria. The advance assignments must be submitted as attachments to the application.

The advance assignments must clearly state the applicant’s name and the programme to which they relate. Do not submit any other advance assignments than the ones requested. Upload the materials to the Studyinfo portal as early as possible. Large files may take several hours to upload.

Entrance examinations

You can be invited to the entrance examinations if:

  1. you have submitted an electronic application form and the required attachments at Studyinfo portal, and
  2. Sibelius Academy deems you eligible based on the submitted documents.

The implementation of the entrance examinations for each programme is described in the programme’s admission criteria. The entrance examination schedules of separate programmes may overlap. If the applicant has applied for multiple programmes, they must choose which examinations they attend in case of overlaps.

A programme’s entrance examination may consist of several phases and contain multiple sub-tests. If the applicant fails to pass all the compulsory sub-tests for the entrance examination or the applicant’s entrance examinations do not meet the requirements set for them, they cannot be admitted as a student.  

The Sibelius Academy will send applicants instructions for participation in entrance examinations in the entrance examination invitation. The exact times for individual entrance examinations are confirmed at the latest in the morning of the entrance examination day. Individual examination times cannot be changed except for compelling reasons not attributable to the applicant. Such reasons include the matriculation examination (or a corresponding event) and an accident or sudden illness (a medical certificate is required). In such cases, the examination time can only be rescheduled within the limits of the Entrance Examination Board’s working timetables.

The entrance examination is a closed event attended by the applicant, the Entrance Examination Board and the agreed assistants (for example, an accompanist, a training choir, a board assistant or the applicant’s assistant). Entrance examinations may not be recorded.

If you wish to cancel your participation in the entrance examination, notify the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office by email as soon as possible.

Individual arrangements in the entrance examination

If you require individual arrangements in the entrance examination because of a sensory or physical disability or other corresponding reason, more information on individual arrangements can be found here.

Kantele entrance examination

Applicants for this programme are not required to complete advance assignments. All applicants who have submitted their applications by the deadline and who have been found to be eligible will be invited to the entrance examination. 

The entrance examination consists of two stages. The first stage will be carried out remotely by video and the second on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. The entrance examination also includes a general music skills test.

The entrance examination for kantele-related instruments (kannel, kokle, kankles, gusli) is the same as for kantele. However, the suitability of the programme for each instrument is considered in the musical acquisition and elective assignments. If necessary, the elective assignment may also be a short work with a similar degree of difficulty. If necessary, contact to check the suitability of the programme.

First stage

Submit the following first stage entrance examination assignments for assessment via the Studyinfo portal by 22 March 2024, 3pm EET (Finnish time):

  • A video recording. Perform a composition of your choice. The degree of difficulty of the composition must correspond to the Sibelius Academy’s B or C repertoire lists for kantele. The same composition may also be performed in the second stage of the entrance examination.
  • A motivation letter (max. one A4 page) in Finnish or English. Present yourself, your goals, and why you are applying to study at the Sibelius Academy.

The video must be recorded within the 12 months prior to the deadline for the video submission. The composition must be recorded as a continuous and unedited take. If necessary, the composition can be played from sheet music, but keep in mind that you must play facing the camera with your face and hands visible at all times. The video must not be shot from too far away. You must be fully visible in the frame. An acoustically good and clear recording is recommended. The composition must be performed without accompaniment.

Based on the scores given for the first stage, the Board will invite some of the applicants to the second stage of the entrance examination. Information on the results of the first stage will be sent by email no later than three weeks before the second stage of the entrance examination.

Second stage

The second stage of the entrance examination will be held on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki on 10 May 2024. Entrance examination programme:

Musical acquisition assignment

Musical acquisition assignment will be sent to applicants along with the entrance examination invitation.

Elective assignment

Select one of the following four compositions:

  • J. S. Bach: Prelude in C minor BWV 999 (included in Das Bach Buch, Zwölf kleine Präludien)
  • J. S. Bach: Prelude in F major BWV 927 (included in Das Bach Buch, Zwölf kleine Präludien)
  • Tauno Marttinen: Prelude (can be ordered from Music Finland’s Sheet Music Catalogue)
  • Tauno Marttinen: Kalevalainen impromptu II (can be ordered from Music Finland’s Sheet Music Catalogue)

Freely selected compositions

Perform two works of your choice from different stylistic periods which illustrate your technical and interpretative abilities. The compositions must be selected from the Sibelius Academy’s repertoire list for Kantele, level C or B.

Prima vista

The Board will assign prima vista assignments to the applicant at its discretion.


The Entrance Examination Board will interview the applicant in connection with the instrument audition.

The compositions performed must be solo works. All compositions must be performed without accompaniment. The programme must be performed from memory except for the musical acquisition assignment. The Board may, at its discretion, listen to only a portion of the programme.

General music skills test

In addition to the main instrument or main subject exam, the entrance examinations for the 5.5-year degree programme will include a general musical skills test. The test will be organized remotely on 16 April 2024 at 10:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m EEST.

You must indicate the desired test date on the application form during the application period. The maximum duration of the test is two hours. Each applicant only participates in the examination once, even if they apply for more than one target programme. Only applicants still in the admissions process will take the general music skills test. 

The tests can be used to assess, for example, sight-reading fluency, understanding of musical concepts (keys, harmony, cadences, intervals, time signatures and time values), aural perception fluency and notation by ear, and knowledge of the history of Western art music.

Below are model assignments that give the applicant an idea of the level of competence required in the test. Individual task types may vary. The applicants will be informed of the more detailed implementation of the test at latest two weeks before the test by email. Click here to see the model assignments.

The examiners of the general musical skills test will give the selection board an opinion on the applicant’s prerequisites for completing the studies in accordance with the curriculum within the target time and the possible need for remedial studies. The selection board will take the opinion into account as part of the overall assessment in the final stage of the entrance examination, unless otherwise is mentioned in the admissions guide of the programme in question. Only applicants who have made it to the final stage of the entrance examination will be assessed.

The results of the general musical skills test can be used as part of the assessing the starting level of applicants selected as students. If the selected applicant does not demonstrate sufficient capabilities for university-level general music skills studies, they are obligated to complement their competence with remedial studies. Further information will be provided in the acceptance letter. Remedial studies must be completed before the actual general music skills courses.

The test will be held in the language in which the applicant has applied for a study place.

Click here for more information on studying general musical skills.

Entrance examination assessment

Applicants’ performance in the entrance examinations is assessed by programme-specifically appointed Entrance Examination Boards. The boards assess the knowledge, skills and capabilities of each applicant and their capacity to complete the degree studies within the normative duration for the completion of a degree. The assessment takes account of how the applicant’s previous education and experience reflects in their competence and assesses their competence in relation to the objectives set in the curriculum.

In addition, the Entrance Examination Board for kantele will assess, based on the applicant’s performances, the applicant’s command of their instrument, musical perception skills, expression, musical comprehension, understanding of the styles of different periods, and artistic and technical development potential. 

Scoring of the entrance examination

In the first stage of the entrance examination, the Board will score the applicants’ performances on a scale of 0 to 1 and in the second stage on a scale of 0 to 25 points. The points in the second stage are based on an overall assessment of the applicant’s entrance examination performances in both stages. The score for the second stage will remain the applicant’s final score.

Admissions results

The Entrance Examination boards rank the applicants of each programme based on their entrance examination score. The final decision on students admitted to the programmes and those placed on the waiting list is made by the dean of the Sibelius Academy.

A study place is offered to highest scoring applicants who meet the selection criteria. Applicants ranked behind the admitted students may be placed on a waiting list in the order of their score. The waiting lists are either programme-specific or group-specific if there are several groups in a single programme. A study place will become vacant and can be offered to an applicant on a waiting list only if one of the applicants admitted to the same degree programme (or group) chooses not to accept the study place, or if someone who has been conditionally admitted fails to submit the necessary documents by the end of the deadline.

If there are no applicants who meet the admissions criteria, some programmes may choose not to admit new students. If a specific degree programme does not admit any new students, applicants to that programme cannot be placed on a waiting list.

Announcement of results

Admission results, including the names of the applicants who have given the permission to have their names published online, will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website. In addition, each applicant can view their situation in the Studyinfo portal. Admitted applicants and those placed on the waiting list are informed of the results by email.


Applicants may request feedback on their entrance examination performance. The feedback provides the applicant with information on how the evaluation criteria stated in the admission criteria were applied in the assessment of their entrance examination. Instructions for requesting feedback will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website in connection with the publication of the admission decision.

Rectification procedure

If you believe that the Sibelius Academy has acted contrary to its admission criteria, you can request for rectification to the student admission decision from the Sibelius Academy in writing within 14 days of the publication of the admission results.

The rectification procedure is not intended as a means for receiving feedback, asking for further information about the admission or requesting unjustified re-evaluation.

More information about the rectification process can be found here.

Accepting the offered study place and starting your studies

An offer of admission can be accepted either via the Studyinfo system or by filling in the confirmation form attached to the letter of acceptance and by delivering it to the admissions office. You must accept your study place by the given deadline. If the confirmation arrives late, it will not be considered.

Accepting an offer of admission is a binding choice, which cannot be changed or cancelled later on.

You must also register as attending at the Sibelius Academy before the academic year begins – more information will be sent to you along with your acceptance letter.

First-year studies begin in mid-August with an orientation period that is compulsory for all new students.

More information on accepting the offered study place and starting our studies at the Sibelius Academy can be found here

Questions or comments?

You can contact us via e-mail at

If you have any questions, please check first if your question has been already answered on our frequently asked questions page. This page will be updated constantly. Please check it regularly to see if new questions have been answered. Please note that in principle we do not explain the entrance examination assignments. The instructions are in the admissions guide.

If you have any questions regarding student life at the Sibelius Academy or in Helsinki, you can contact our Student Ambassadors at

The Sibelius Acad­emy Ad­mis­sions Chat

What is it like to study at the Sibelius Academy and live in Helsinki? How do you apply to the Sibelius Academy? We answered these questions among others in our Admissions chat broadcast in November 2023. The recording of the event is available on Sibelius Academy’s Instagram account. Please click here to open the recording.

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