Apply to the degree programme in Folk Music (Bachelor + Master)

Admissions guide to the 5.5-year Folk Music programme.

In folk music, your main instrument can be kantele, violin, a wind instrument, accordion, mandolin, guitar, harmonica, double bass, percussion, voice, a keyboard instrument, or some other instrument. Folk music studies can be focused on creative musicianship, pedagogy, and research.

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 These admissions requirements are outdated.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 deadline 22 March 2024, 3 pm EET
  • Second stage between 13 and 15 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 Folk Music 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.

Entrance examination (folk music)

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 and the second on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. 

First stage

The first stage of the entrance examination will be carried out remotely and includes the following sub-tests: 

Submit the assignments via the Studyinfo portal by 22 March 2024, 3pm EET (Finnish time).

Instrument and voice audition, and repertoire presentation

Submit a video recording for assessment. You are responsible for the production of the video recording. 

Programme for the video recording: 

  • A programme lasting no more than 10 minutes on your main instrument. The programme must demonstrate a command of instrument or voice skills and a familiarity with folk music performance practices. The programme may consist of traditional or new folk music, folk music material composed by yourself, and improvisation. The programme must include a section that showcases your knowledge of vocal and instrumental styles of Finland and/or the Nordics and/or the Baltic Finnic area, and/or of the indigenous peoples and/or minorities in the region. In addition to performing on your main instrument, you may include a secondary instrument and voice segment in your performance (optional).
  • When presenting the repertoire, explain how you came about choosing it:
    • Present the pieces you will be playing/singing, where they are from and how/from whom/where you learned them
    • Explain how you have worked with this repertoire
    • Briefly explain why you chose precisely these pieces for the audition.

The programme must be performed without sheet music and without an accompanist (you may accompany yourself). Bass and percussion players may have an assisting musician for part of the programme.

The video recording must not be edited. An individual piece must be recorded as a continuous and unedited take. However, not all pieces need to be recorded in the same session. If an individual video recording exceeds the 1 GB maximum size, a video recording recorded in one continuous take can be divided into segments.

Play facing the camera so that your face and hands are visible all the time. The video must not be shot from too far away. You must be visible in the frame from head to knees. 

Ensemble audition

Make a video recording where you play and/or sing together with an audio track. The audio tracks will be sent to the applicants no later than 3 weeks before the submission date. You can play the audio tracks in the background from a stereo or separate speaker and play along. During the performance, think about your role between an accompanist and a soloist: you can play a melody in unison, a harmony to the melody, chords, improvise, etc.

When singing you can use any text that falls into the sleigh song metre. Examples of sleigh songs can be found here. You can use these or select the verses yourself. You can also sing without lyrics. This audition tests your ensemble skills, the lyrics are not of key importance.

Check the sound quality of the video and pay particular attention to making sure your background recording plays simultaneously and in balance with your own instrumental performance. Tuning: A = 442 Hz.

The video recording must not be edited.

Play and/or sing facing the camera so that your face and hands are visible all the time. The video must not be shot from too far away. You must be visible in the frame from head to knees.

Motivation essay

Motivation essay (max. one A4 page), where you answer the following questions:

  • Why do you want to become a folk music professional?
  • How do you want to influence the future of folk music?

Based on the scores given for the first stage, the Board will invite a maximum of 15 applicants to the second stage of the entrance examination. Information on the results of the first stage will be sent by email.

Second stage

The second stage will be held on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki between 13 and 15 May 2024.

It consists of the following sub-tests: 

  • Instrument and voice audition, and interview  
  • Test on structural awareness of music 
  • Teamwork test 

Instrument and voice audition, and interview  

In the instrument and voice audition of the second stage, you are to perform a programme with a maximum duration of 15 minutes. The programme must demonstrate a command of instrument or voice skills and a familiarity with folk music performance practices. The programme may consist of traditional or new folk music, folk music material composed by yourself, and improvisation. The programme must include a section that showcases your knowledge of vocal and instrumental styles of Finland and/or the Nordics and/or the Baltic Finnic area, and/or of the indigenous peoples and/or minorities in the region. The programme in the second stage should be different from the first stage. 

In addition to performing on your main instrument, you must include a voice performance if you are an instrumentalist and an instrument performance if you are a singer. You may include other secondary instrument segments in the performance, too.  

The programme must be performed without sheet music and without an accompanist (you may accompany yourself). Bass and percussion players may have an assisting musician for part of the programme.

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

Test on structural awareness of music 

The test includes transcription assignments, a prima vista assignment and rhythm and melody repetition assignments. The test also includes learning a melody by ear on your main instrument. 

Teamwork test 

Detailed instructions on the task will be given at the test. You will need to bring your own instrument to the test.

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, in the entrance examination for folk music, the Board will assess the applicants’ skills, knowledge and capabilities to act as wide-ranging experts of folk music. Areas to be assessed include: 

  • skills and technical command of instrument(s) or song (including improvisation skills) 
  • knowledge of folk music: performance methods, history, improvisation as well as traditional vocal and instrumental styles of Finland/Nordics/Sami/the Baltic Finnic area/the indigenous peoples in the region 
  • skills and expression typical of folk music (ability to play based on hearing, typical phrasing and rhythm) 
  • ensemble playing and cooperation skills, such as the ability to work with different people to achieve a common goal 
  • skills in structural awareness of music: musical perception skills, the ability to distinguish pitch and timbre, tonal memory and music theory skills 
  • motivation and ability to express goals and their views of the field and their own actions in relation to the field of folk music and the surrounding world. 

Scoring of the entrance examination

In both stages of the entrance examination, the Entrance Examination Board assesses the applicants’ performance in the instrument and voice audition on a scale of 0-25 points. In other sub-tests, the Board assesses the applicants’ performance on a scale of 0-5 points.

In the first stage, the sub-tests will be weighted as follows:

  • Instrument and voice audition, and repertoire presentation 60 %
  • Ensemble audition 30 %
  • Motivation essay 10 %

Sub-tests will be weighted in the final score (second stage) as follows:

  • First stage and second stage instrument and voice audition, repertoire presentation, and interview 65%
  • First stage ensemble audition 10%
  • Second stage teamwork test 10%
  • Test on structural awareness of music 10%
  • Motivation essay 5%

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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