Classical instruments: Orchestral instruments

Do you dream of becoming the best instrumentalist ever and refining your skills under the tuition of the best teachers? Is your dream to become an orchestra musician, soloist, chamber musician, or an instrument teacher? At the Sibelius Academy, you can refine your skills in a top-ranking environment. 

In a nutshell

  • Target degree: bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, master’s degree in music
  • Scope of the degree: BA + MA 180 + 150 study credits (3 yrs. + 2.5 yrs.), master’s degree 150 study credits (2.5 yrs.)
  • Field of art: Music
  • Organiser: The Sibelius Academy
  • Next time to apply: January 2019
  • Studies begin: at the start of the academic year in August

Persons responsible for the degree programme:

  • Wind instruments: Department Head Kaisa Holopainen, professor Harri Mäki (woodwinds), professor Pasi Pirinen (brass)
  • Strings: Department Head Päivi Arjas, professors Kaija Saarikettu and Réka Szilvay (violin), professor Martti Rousi (cello), professor Marko Ylönen (chamber music)
  • Harp: responsible teacher Päivi Severeide
  • Percussion:Responsible teacher Antti Rislakki

Objectives and career possibilities

Classical instrument graduates are proficient soloists and versatile chamber and orchestra musicians. At the Helsinki Music Centre Orchestra Academy, launched in 2015, you can gain work experience and create networks with professional orchestra musicians even before graduation.


During your studies, you will become familiar with the key repertoires, styles, techniques, and interpretations of your instrument and the central Western Classical music repertoire for orchestras. You will learn how to practise your instrument in the most effective and beneficial way and how to study independently. You will also gain teaching skills during your studies. In advanced pedagogy studies, you will become familiar with teaching your instrument, from the beginner to professional level, at music schools in the Helsinki metropolitan region. You can also complete the teacher’s pedagogical studies (60 ECTS credits), which qualify you to teach music at comprehensive and upper secondary schools, and in general education.

Graduates will be able to work as intermediaries between culture and other fields. Other career opportunities include, for example, research, administrative duties, media, and entrepreneurship in music.

Content and structure of the education

The core of education is the mastery of your main instrument. You will receive 90 minutes of individual instruction per week. In addition to these weekly lessons, you can attend master classes.


In the 3-year bachelor’s programme, you will rehearse a Level B performance examination in accordance with the level descriptions for your instrument. You will study chamber music and play in the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra starting the first year. You will also learn music perception, history, pedagogy, and languages, and you will be able to include optional and minor studies in your schedule. The Sibelius Academy provides optional studies in, for example, composing and arranging, conducting, jazz, and folk music. You can also choose courses from the two other Uniarts academies and from the joint studies quota.


In the master’s programme you will continue studying your main instrument and prepare a Level A performance examination. You can include comprehensive optional studies in orchestral playing and chamber music, contemporary music, or early music instruments and performance practices, among others, in your degree.

Doctoral studies and other further training

After graduation you have the opportunity to apply for postgraduate studies in music with our doctoral programme, focusing on scientific, artistic or applied doctoral studies. At the Sibelius Academy you may graduate with a licentiate degree in music or a doctoral degree in music.