Platform for Research through the Arts and Sciences

Conservatories traditionally focus on the musicians’ craftsmanship and artistic development; the academic study of musicology places music in a broader historical and social perspective. Current musical professional practice, however, increasingly demands musicians who, in addition to being able to perform artistically at top level, also have academic skills. The social role of musicians requires critical reflection on their own work and that of their peers and a voice in broader professional and social issues, such as the role of music in technological innovation, cognitive research, health care, cultural policy and education.

However, combining a conservatory study with musicology proves to be very difficult in practice, because the logistics and content of the educational programmes do not match. This research project towards a new study programme will remove removes obstacles between the studies.

Music has always been an interdisciplinary field. Musicology at the University of Amsterdam has strong links with the cognitive sciences, sociology and anthropology. At Utrecht University, musicologists and other humanities scholars study the culture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance as well as contemporary digital culture, and collaborate with the Faculty of Medicine in the Medical Humanities minor. The Conservatorium van Amsterdam has a relationship with sports and human movement sciences and the Utrecht conservatory offers research at the intersection of music and technology. The input of all these partners enables a very diverse study programme, which will partly be built up from existing courses, partly from newly developed courses. With such a versatile practical and academic curriculum, graduates will be able to significantly broaden their prospects for a career in current professional practice.

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link: Taking the Hurdles project page


Taking the hurdles of performance is a research project that explores the common ground between musical performance and performance in sports, with a focus on the mental preparation for crucially important actions and events. The project aims to establish (1) whether it is possible to develop adequate education for musicians on the basis of insights from sport psychology and training theory; (2) how this education can be provided on a permanent basis in the programmes of conservatories. From 2015, the research, which is now in its experimental phase, takes place in so-called ‘study labs’, which are organized once or twice a year. The institutional partners of the CvA in this project are the Faculty of Behavioural and Human Movement Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC).


research partners: Esther van Fenema, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Carmen van Geel, Lori Buma