Apply to the master’s programme in Conducting

Admissions guide to the 2.5-year programme in Orchestral Conducting, Wind Orchestra Conducting, and Choral Conducting.

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:

  • Orchestral Conducting: second stage music theory and aural skills test week 18, second stage 10–11 May (preliminary schedule)
  • Wind Orchestra Conducting: second stage music theory and aural skills test week 18, second stage 15 May (preliminary schedule)
  • Choir Conducting: music theory, aural skills and analysis test week 16 or 17, second stage 28–29 April (preliminary schedule)

Admissions results: published 2 June 2021

There are three main subject options in the Conducting programme: orchestral conducting, wind orchestra conducting, and choral conducting. In addition, wind orchestra conducting has a general option and a programme for military orchestra conducting (tuition only in Finnish and Swedish, please see the admissions guides in Finnish or Swedish by changing the website’s language settings).

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.

Master’s degree (2.5 years)

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

  • A lower university degree in music (Bachelor)
  • A university of applied sciences degree in music
  • A foreign degree or qualification in music that makes you eligible for corresponding higher education in the awarding country
  • At least a lower university or university of applied sciences degree in another field and, additionally, university-level music studies, which serve as proof of sufficient skills and knowledge for a master’s degree in music.

Any exceptions to the previous qualifications requirement given above will be detailed in the admissions criteria for each degree programme.

You cannot apply for a master’s degree programme if you have not completed at least a lower university degree.

Sibelius Academy may require you to complete supplementary studies of a scope equivalent to a maximum of one year of studies in addition to the minimum number of ECTS credits required by your degree programme. You will be notified about any supplementary studies required when you receive your admission results. The supplementary studies will not count towards your degree. They are to be completed as specified by the head of department in your first year of study, and they will be entered on your individual study plan.

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 on the rule of one study right can be found here.

Language requirements

The languages of tuition in the Conducting programme are Finnish, Swedish, and English. You must demonstrate your language proficiency in one of the above-mentioned 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.

Orchestral Conducting entrance examination

First stage: Advance assignment

Advance assignments must be submitted to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office online via the Studyinfo portal by the given deadline. Advance assignments cannot be submitted by e-mail.

Assignments must clearly state your name and the main subject or instrument you are applying to study. Do not submit any other advance assignments than the ones requested.

Please reserve enough time to upload your advance assignments. It can take up to hours to upload larger files if there is a lot of traffic in the system.

The advance assignment is a video recording including an orchestral conducting demonstration lasting about 10 minutes. Submit your advance assignment to the Sibelius Academy via the Studyinfo portal no later than 27 January 2021 (3pm EET). You may, alternatively, submit via the Studyinfo portal an address and password (when applicable) for a private Vimeo or YouTube account to which the conducting demonstration has been uploaded.

In the demonstration, you must conduct an orchestra. The conducting demonstration must be of high technical and artistic level and not older than 2 years. The demonstration must present both rehearsing and conducting, and it must be shot from the direction of the orchestra so that the conductor and some of the musicians can be seen.

In the evaluation of the advance assignment, the Entrance Examination Board will assess your musical and technical skills in relation to the degree programme’s requirements.

Part of the applicants will be invited to take part in the second stage of the entrance examination on the basis of the scores awarded in the first stage. Applicants invited to the second stage will be notified by e-mail.

Second stage

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 includes the following sub-tests:

  1. Music theory and aural skills test
  2. Test in conducting
  3. Audition in your main instrument
  4. Interview

Music theory and aural skills test (20 min)

The test includes melodic dictation, score playing, and analysis assignments. The test supervisor will evaluate the applicant’s suitability for conducting studies and provide the evaluation to the Entrance Examination Board. 

Test in conducting (about 20 min / applicant)

In the examination you will be conducting repertoire determined in advance. The Entrance Examination Board will ask you to conduct an extract and rehearse the orchestra. The Board will evaluate your musical skills, rehearsing and communicating skills, and development potential, giving you point scores on these.

The repertoire and music scores sent to the applicants about one month before the entrance examination.

Audition in your main instrument

In the audition, you are required to perform for the Entrance Examination Board a freely chosen work or part thereof (duration about 15 min) that you consider demonstrates your skills as an instrumentalist or a singer. This performance must be without accompaniment. The Board will give a point score for this performance as part of the overall evaluation of your skills and suitability for conducting studies. 

Interview (20 min)

On the basis of the point scores given for the test in conducting and the audition in your main instrument, a part of the applicants will be invited to an interview. This interview will be conducted in Finnish, Swedish, or English and will be about evaluating your motivation, your musical skills, and your suitability for conducting training. 

Wind Orchestra Conducting entrance examination

First stage: Advance assignment

Advance assignments must be submitted to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office online via the Studyinfo portal by the given deadline. Advance assignments cannot be submitted by e-mail.

Assignments must clearly state your name and the main subject or instrument you are applying to study. Do not submit any other advance assignments than the ones requested.

Please reserve enough time to upload your advance assignments. It can take up to hours to upload larger files if there is a lot of traffic in the system.

The advance assignment is a video recording including a conducting demonstration. Submit your advance assignment to the Sibelius Academy via the Studyinfo portal no later than 27 January 2021 (3pm EET). You may, alternatively, submit via the Studyinfo portal an address and password (when applicable) for a private Vimeo or YouTube account to which the conducting demonstration has been uploaded.

The demonstration should be at least 10 minutes in length and not older than 12 months. If you do not have the possibility to conduct a wind ensemble, you may submit a conducting audition recording where you conduct two pianos or some other kind of ensemble or orchestra. The video must be shot from the viewpoint of the ensemble or orchestra or pianists so that both the conductor and (at least some of) the musicians are visible in the shot.

In the evaluation of the advance assignment, the Entrance Examination Board will assess your musical and technical skills in relation to the degree programme’s requirements.

Part of the applicants will be invited to take part in the second stage of the entrance examination on the basis of the scores awarded in the first stage. Applicants invited to the second stage will be notified by e-mail.

Second stage

The second stage of the entrance examination will be held partly remotely and partly 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 includes the following sub-tests:

  1. Music theory and aural skills test
  2. Audition in your main instrument
  3. Score playing
  4. Test in conducting
  5. Interview

Music theory and aural skills test (20 min / applicant)

The music theory and aural skills test will be conducted via a remote connection.

In this test, you will be asked to perform prima vista, score analysis, and listening assignments. You will be sent advance material two days before the test.

Audition in your main instrument, score playing, test in conducting, and interview

These sub-tests will be held on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. 

For your main instrument audition, you are requested to perform a freely chosen solo work without accompaniment. 

In the score playing test, you are requested to play from a score on the piano (one or two staves simultaneously). In this test, your understanding of musical structures will be evaluated (e.g. form, harmony, texture). 

The test conducting is in two rounds. You will be requested to conduct repertoire that is announced in advance. The Entrance Examination Board may select only part of the applicants for the second round and may also specify which works they wish applicants to conduct and rehearse. The repertoire and music scores sent to the applicants about one month before the entrance examination.

At the interview, the Board will ask you questions to supplement and further specify your application and to evaluate your motivation, musical skills and suitability for wind orchestra conducting studies. 

Choral Conducting entrance examination

First stage

The first stage of the entrance examination will be conducted via a remote connection. The first stage includes the following sub-tests:

  1. Video recordings (advance assignment)
  2. Music theory, aural skills, and analysis test

Video recordings (advance assignment):

Advance assignments must be submitted to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office online via the Studyinfo portal by the given deadline. Advance assignments cannot be submitted by e-mail.

Assignments must clearly state your name and the main subject or instrument you are applying to study. Do not submit any other advance assignments than the ones requested.

Please reserve enough time to upload your advance assignments. It can take up to hours to upload larger files if there is a lot of traffic in the system.

Submit the following video recordings to the Sibelius Academy via the Studyinfo portal no later than 27 January 2021 (3pm EET). You may, alternatively, submit via the Studyinfo portal an address and password (when applicable) for a private Vimeo or YouTube account to which the video recordings have been uploaded.

1) Conducting demonstration (10 to 20 minutes)

  • In the demonstration, you must conduct a choir of at least 8 singers
  • The conducting demonstration must be of high technical and artistic level and not older than from the year 2019. The demonstration must present both rehearsing and conducting, and it must be shot from the direction of the choir so that both the conductor and the singers can be seen.
  • The video can be recorded in several takes and more than one space. If you record the sections separately, edit them into a single video recording before delivering it to the Sibelius Academy. Every section must be at least 4 minutes in length.

2) A freely selected composition sung without accompaniment (3 to 10 minutes). You must state the name of the composer and of the piece at the beginning of the video. You must not edit the video. 

3) A freely selected composition played on an instrument (3 to 10 minutes). You and your instrument must be fully visible in the frame in the video. The Board recommends that you choose piano, but any other instrument is also acceptable. You must state the name of the composer and of the piece at the beginning of the video. You must not edit the video.

4) A brief introduction of yourself (3 to 5 minutes). In this introduction, you must answer these questions:

  • Why do you want to study at the Sibelius Academy?
  • Why do you want to become a choir conductor?
  • Where do you see yourself professionally ten years from now?
  • Are you able to commit to full-time study and attendance at the Sibelius Academy for the duration of your studies? 

Music theory, aural skills, and analysis test:

The music theory, aural skills, and analysis test will be conducted as a group interview via a remote connection. The test will be about 2 hours in length.

The music theory, aural skills, and analysis test is for evaluating your ability to analyse music and to distinguish sounds and to test your musical memory. Your musical comprehension and score awareness will be tested with various assignments.

For these assignments, you will be invited to a group video interview via a remote connection. You will need a computer or other media device, headphones, and writing materials. Detailed instructions will be sent to you by e-mail.

Second stage

Part of the applicants will be invited to take part in the second stage of the entrance examination on the basis of the scores awarded in the first 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 includes the following sub-tests:

  1. Sight-reading and transposition test  
  2. Voice and instrument audition
  3. Test in choral conducting
  4. Interview

Sight-reading and transposition test:

In the test, you will be given assignments such as the following:  

  • Sight-singing
  • Sight-reading a score
  • Transposing a score
  • Giving pitches using a tuning fork  

Voice and instrument audition:

Sing a freely chosen work without accompaniment (3 to 5 minutes) and play a freely chosen instrumental work (3 to 5 minutes). The Board recommends that you choose piano, but any other instrument is also acceptable. You must bring your own instrument unless the instrument in question is piano.

The repertoire may be the same in the second stage as in the first stage if you wish. 

Test in choral conducting

In the test, you must conduct and rehearse the Sibelius Academy’s vocal ensemble in the repertoire sent to you in advance. The compositions will be sent by e-mail 3 weeks before the examination at the latest. The test in choral conducting is in two parts. A part of the applicants will be invited to the second part of the choral conducting test according to the points awarded in the first part of the test and other previous sub-tests of the entrance examination.

Interview:

Applicants invited to the second part of the test in choral conducting will be invited to an interview. The interview will assess your educability, motivation, and suitability for the profession based on the discussion on your expectations and objectives.

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 (Orchestral Conducting)

You are required to have a wide range of soloistic and theoretical capabilities and experience of playing in an ensemble.

The entrance examination is a measure of your technical and musical skills and your educability in relation to the demands of the degree programme. The Entrance Examination Board will consider your musical perception and expressiveness, your learning ability, your stylistic imagination, and your control in conducting an ensemble. Your development potential will be gauged both artistically and in terms of leadership skills. In determining your educability, the Entrance Examination Board will consider your potential for studying a sufficient volume of repertoire to a high standard consistent with the degree requirements within the study time allocated.

The final points of the entrance examination are a sum of the points awarded in all sub-tests.

Evaluation criteria (Wind Orchestra Conducting)

You are required to have a wide range of soloistic and theoretical capabilities and experience of playing in an ensemble.

The entrance examination is a measure of your technical and musical skills and your educability in relation to the demands of the degree programme. The Entrance Examination Board will consider your musical perception and expressiveness, your learning ability, your stylistic imagination, and your control in conducting an ensemble. Your development potential will be gauged both artistically and in terms of leadership skills. In determining your educability, the Entrance Examination Board will consider your potential for studying a sufficient volume of repertoire to a high standard consistent with the degree requirements within the study time allocated.

The final points of the entrance examination are a sum of the points awarded in all sub-tests.

Evaluation criteria (Choral Conducting)

You are required to have a wide range of soloistic and theoretical capabilities, good choir conducting skills and experience of making music in an ensemble.

The entrance examination is a measure of your technical and musical skills and your educability in relation to the demands of the degree programme. The Entrance Examination Board will consider your musical perception and expressiveness, your learning ability, your stylistic imagination, and your control in conducting an ensemble. Your development potential will be gauged both artistically and in terms of leadership skills. In determining your educability, the Entrance Examination Board will consider your potential for studying a sufficient volume of repertoire to a high standard consistent with the degree requirements within the study time allocated.

The final points of the entrance examination are a sum of the points awarded in all sub-tests.

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