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

Admissions guide to the 5.5-year Folk Music programme.

Changes to the admissions criteria due to the coronavirus situation

The dean of the Sibelius Academy has decided on 15 March 2021 that the last stage of the entrance examinations to this programme will be conducted remotely in order to secure the safety of both the applicants and the staff in the deteriorated coronavirus situation. More information will be provided to the applicants also by email.

Application period: between 7 and 20 January 2021 (at 3pm EET)
Entrance examinations: will be arranged by requiring a video recording and on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, second stage 10–12 May (preliminary schedule)
Admissions results: published 2 June 2021

Your main instrument can be an instrument such as the kantele, violin, a wind instrument, accordion, mandolin, guitar, harmonica, double bass, percussion, voice, or some other instrument. Studies can be focused on creative musicianship, pedagogics, and research.

Who can apply?

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

All applicants applying for a bachelor’s and master’s degree or only a master’s degree at Sibelius Academy are required to have an educational background relevant to the degree programme in question. You must submit a copy of your existing qualification or degree certificate via the Studyinfo portal to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office by the given deadline.

If you complete one of the degrees mentioned below only after the application period ends, the decision on your admittance is conditional. In this case, you must submit a copy of your degree certificate to the Sibelius Academy after you graduate, but no later than the deadline set for conditionally admitted applicants’ degree certificate submissions. If you fail to produce a verified copy of your degree certificate by the deadline, you will not be granted a right to study at the Sibelius Academy.

Sibelius Academy can also at its discretion accept an official provisory degree certificate that shows you have completed the course and all the required examinations and will receive the official degree certificate or diploma later.

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

To be eligible to study for a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree at Sibelius Academy you need to have completed at least one of the following:

  • The Finnish Matriculation Examination (a final certificate from upper secondary school is not sufficient)
  • An International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma
  • A European Baccalaureate (EB) diploma at a European School
  • A Reifeprüfung or Deutsches Internationales Abitur (RP / DIA) diploma
  • A 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.

Other exceptions to eligibility

You cannot apply to both the 2.5-year and the 5.5-year programme of a single main subject, or main instrument in the same year. If you do, only your application to the 2.5-year programme will be taken into account assuming you are eligible. If you are not eligible for the 2.5-year programme, your application to the 5.5-year programme will be taken into account.

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

If you already have a right to study toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree at Uniarts Helsinki, you need to apply for a change of right to study, or for special permission to pursue 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 electronic application in the Studyinfo portal before the end of the application deadline. Late applications will not be accepted. Submitting your advance assignments or other supporting documents is not considered initiation of application proceedings if you do not submit the actual application form by the deadline.

If you fail to deliver the required advance assignments or other supporting documents, certificates, or clarifications to the Sibelius Academy by the deadline and in the required format, your application will be rejected.

Supporting documents

Submit your certificates and other supporting documents (as PDF files) to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office via the Studyinfo portal before the given deadline.

You must submit the following documents:

  • Certificate of your prior education and a transcript of study records
    If you have completed your education outside of Finland, we might ask for clarification of the educational system and the level of completed education in the country in question. If you complete your degree after the application period ends, you do not need to submit your degree certificate in the initial application stage. The certificate should be provided once completed (but no later than the deadline set for conditionally admitted applicants’ degree certificate submissions).
  • Certificate demonstrating your language skills
    If you demonstrate sufficient language skills through previously completed degree or other studies, the degree certificate or its appendix, the transcript of study records, or some other official document issued by the institution in question must clearly state in which language the studies were completed. In order for your education to be counted as proof of language proficiency, it must be completed by the deadline set for conditionally admitted applicants’ certificate submissions.
  • Official proof of your identity
    You must prove your identity in the entrance examinations with an official proof of identity: either a passport, a European Union identity card, or a Finnish driving license.
  • Document that proves release from liability for payment of tuition fees
    If you are applying to study in English, you will be required to pay tuition fees unless you submit documentation (e.g. a copy of your passport) that shows you are exempt.

Your submitted documents must state your current name and the degree programme they relate to. If the documents are not in Finnish, Swedish, or English, you must submit a translation by an authorised translator into one of these languages.

If you are a refugee or in a refugee-like situation, or an asylum seeker and unable to submit documentary evidence of your qualification, you may still be deemed eligible to apply. More information on applicants who are refugees or in a refugee-like situation can be found here.

Entrance examinations

How the entrance examinations will eventually be arranged will be decided in accordance with the then current pandemic situation. If any changes are made to how the entrance examinations will be arranged, applicants will be informed no later than 16 March 2021.

You can be invited to the entrance examinations if:

  1. You have submitted an electronic application form and the required attachments at Studyinfo.fi and
  2. The Dean of the Sibelius Academy deems you eligible based on these documents.

The entrance examinations of the Sibelius Academy will be arranged as described in the admissions criteria for each degree programme. The examinations vary in content but may include video and sound recordings, sub-tests to be completed via remote connection and sub-tests arranged on site in Helsinki. If the programme you apply for arranges all or some of its entrance examination on site in Helsinki, you must prepare to be present in person at the entrance examination on the dates and at the times given. You are responsible for all travel expenses and accommodation while attending the entrance examination.

Instructions on examinations conducted via a remote connection will be delivered separately to those applicants who have such a part in their entrance examinations.

The preliminary schedule for the entrance examinations will be published in the programme-specific admissions guides in January before the admissions. Entrance examinations for different programmes may sometimes be held at the same time. If you are applying for several programmes and your entrance exams are held at the same time, you must choose which examination you will take.

The exact instructions and dates of your entrance examination will be detailed in your invitation. More detailed instructions for the entrance examinations will be sent to you with the invitation. It is important that you confirm receipt of the invitation by e-mail. If you live outside Finland and need to apply for a visa, Sibelius Academy is willing to send you a preliminary invitation letter on request.  

A detailed individual schedule for the entrance examinations will be announced to the applicants on the morning of the examination day at the latest. Individual examination times cannot be changed except in force majeure cases. Acceptable grounds for changing an examination time are the matriculation examination (or a corresponding event of importance) and an accident or sudden illness (a medical certificate is required). In such cases, your examination time can only be rescheduled if the working timetables of the Entrance Examination Board allow.

All the stages of the entrance examination may include several sub-tests. All parts of the examination are compulsory. If you do not attend your entrance examination or any of its compulsory sub-tests, you will not be admitted to study at the Sibelius Academy.

The entrance examination is a closed event and can only be attended by you and, with the Entrance Examination Board’s permission, your personal accompanist or other assisting musician. Auditions at the entrance examination cannot be recorded.

You must notify the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the entrance examination.

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.

First stage

The first stage of the entrance examination consists of the following sub-tests:

  1. Instrument and voice audition
  2. Motivation essay

Instrument and voice audition

The instrument and voice audition at the first stage of the entrance examination will be arranged by requiring a video recording. You are responsible for the production of the video recording.

Submit your video recording to the Sibelius Academy via Studyinfo portal no later than 30 March 2021 (at 3pm EET). Programme for the video recording:

  1. A programme lasting no more than 15 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 segment that demonstrates your familiarity with Finnish traditional folk music.
    • In addition to performing on your main instrument, you may include a sample of your secondary instrument and voice performance
  2. At the end of the audition programme, you must give a talk about what kind of folk music professional you would like to become after graduation and how you could contribute to the development and evolution of the field of folk music. This talk may last no more than 5 minutes.

The programme must be performed without sheet music and without accompaniment. Bass and percussion players may have an assisting musician for part of the programme.

The video recording must not be edited. All pieces included in it must be played or sung continuously in one uninterrupted take. Your talk must also be included in the one uninterrupted take at the end of the video recording. If your video exceeds the 1 GB maximum, you may divide a single-take video 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 in the video from head to knees.

Motivation essay

Submit your motivation essay to the Sibelius Academy via Studyinfo portal no later than 30 March 2021 (at 3pm EET).

Your motivation essay should be no more than three (3) pages long. You may title it as you wish. The essay should feature the following content: 

  • Your musical background, your education and your relationship to folk music
  • Your experience of making music in an ensemble or other musical communication, if any
  • Your other activities related to folk music (e.g. teaching, research, organising, volunteering, or other communal activities)
  • Why you are applying to study folk music at the Sibelius Academy.

Second stage

On the basis of point scores awarded for the first stage of the entrance examination, a maximum of 15 applicants will be invited to the second stage. Applicants invited to the second stage will be notified by e-mail.

The second stage of the entrance examination will be held on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. However, the manner in which the entrance examination is arranged will depend on the then current pandemic situation. Uniarts Helsinki will monitor the progress of the pandemic and will re-evaluate in spring 2021 how to arrange the entrance examinations. If Uniarts Helsinki concludes that entrance examinations cannot be held on site in Helsinki and that all sub-tests of all entrance examinations will have to be arranged via remote connection, all applicants will be informed of this no later than 16 March 2021. The aim will then be to change the content of the entrance examinations as little as possible.

The second stage of the entrance examination consists of the following sub-tests:

  1. Instrument and voice audition, and interview 
  2. Test on structural awareness of music
  3. Ensemble playing and teamwork test

Instrument and voice audition

In the instrument and voice audition at 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 segment that demonstrates your familiarity with Finnish traditional folk music. 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 side instrument segments in the performance. 

The programme must be performed without sheet music and without accompaniment. Bass and percussion players may have an assisting musician for part of the programme. 

The Entrance Examination Board will interview you in connection with the examination. 

In the instrument and voice audition at the second stage, the Entrance Examination Board will give the applicants point scores based on their overall examination performance, i.e. the first stage of the entrance examination will also be considered. The point scores given at the second stage are the final scores for the instrument and voice audition. 

Test on structural awareness of music

The test measures structural awareness of music, pitch perception, tone memory, and knowledge of music theory. The test includes transcription assignments, a prima vista assignment and rhythm and melody repetition assignments. The test further includes learning a melody by ear on your main instrument.

Ensemble playing and teamwork test

The test will assess your ensemble playing skills and your interactive skills toward a shared goal. More detailed instructions will be sent to you with the invitation.

Assessment

Your entrance examination and its components will be graded. If you fail to complete any of the compulsory parts or components of the entrance examination, you will not be granted a right to study at the Sibelius Academy.

In written examinations, your answers will be scored. In other examinations, the Entrance Examination Board will assess your skills, knowledge, and educability based on the programme-specific admissions criteria.

For educability, the Entrance Examination Board will assess your ability to complete your degree studies in the normative duration for the completion of a degree in accordance with the decree on university degrees (bachelor: 3 years, master: 2.5 or 2 years).

Evaluation criteria

The evaluation will be based on the Entrance Examination Board’s consideration of your entrance examination performance — skills, knowledge and musical abilities, and also educability in the field. The entrance examination assesses your technical and expressive skills, musical communication and perception skills, and knowledge of folk music.  

The components of the entrance examination are weighted as follows:

  • Instrument and voice audition, and interview
    • Instrument and voice audition 70 % 
    • Talk and interview 5 % 
  • Motivation essay 5 % 
  • Ensemble playing and teamwork test 10 %
  • Test on structural awareness of music 10 %

Announcement of results

The right to complete a degree at Uniarts Helsinki can be obtained only by participating in an entrance examination process. Uniarts Helsinki does not have certificate-based admissions or quotas for first-time applicants.

The entrance examination results will be available at 9.00 a.m. on the day of the admissions results. The admission decision, including the names of the applicants who have given the permission to have their names published online, will be published in the Studyinfo portal and on the Uniarts Helsinki website. Applicants admitted as students and those placed on the waiting list receive an e-mail of the results on the day when the admission decision is published.

Applicants of different programmes will be ranked in order based on their success in the entrance examination. The most successful applicant or applicants ranked behind the admitted students may be placed on a waiting list to wait for a potential opening in the programme. The waiting lists are either programme-specific or alternatively group-specific, if there are several waiting lists for different groups in a single programme. The applicants placed on a waiting list, too, will have to meet the admissions criteria of the degree programme in question. 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 that 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 will not be placed on a waiting list.

Feedback

You have the opportunity to receive feedback on your entrance examination performance. A list of people responsible for giving feedback will be announced on the Uniarts Helsinki admissions website when results are published. Feedback is intended to guide you to further improve your performance and help you identify areas for improvement.

How to request for rectification

You can request for rectification of the Dean’s admission decision from Uniarts Helsinki within 14 days of the publication of the admission results. The right of appeal means that you have the possibility to request for rectification if there is a reason to believe that there has been an error in the decision-making process.

The right of appeal is not intended as a means for receiving feedback or asking for further information about the application process.

More information about the rectification process can be found here.

Accepting the offered study place and starting your studies

You can accept your study place electronically on the Studyinfo system or by submitting the confirmation form attached to your letter of acceptance by e-mail to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office. You must accept your study place by the given deadline. If the confirmation arrives late, it will not be considered.

The confirmation of acceptance is binding and irrevocable, and it cannot be cancelled.

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 siba.admissions@uniarts.fi. You’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions on our website.

Ask and apply!

Want to study at Sibelius Academy but don’t know how to get started?

Use this link to listen to the audio recording of our admissions chat from November 2020:

Click here if you wish to read the text version instread of listening to the audio recording.

You can also watch our fall 2019 edition of the admissions chat in Uniarts Helsinki’s YouTube channel. In this video members of our staff and students answer your questions about the Sibelius Academy in English.

Read more about the programme