Dany - 'Music in Education is one big family'

23 December 2020

‘Music in Education is one big family, and I wanted to be part of it.’ Dany is 23 and a third-year student in the Bachelor of Music in Education programme (the Education department). He sings and plays piano and guitar and is interested in reaching diverse target groups. Here he speaks about the programme, special projects and the close-knit network in his programme and discipline.

‘I began playing music when I was about eight. I was taking singing lessons, and my teacher encouraged me to learn an instrument as well so that I could accompany myself. So I also studied guitar and piano. I always wanted to go to a music school, but could not start third-level education immediately. So I first followed a course to become a teaching assistant. Then, after doing a preparatory year at the Royal Conservatoire, I was admitted to various programmes and opted for The Hague. Having done the preparatory year, I already had a good feeling about the programme. It is actually one big family, particularly because of the projects that the students from every year do together and the warm atmosphere in the school.’

Another important reason for Dany to choose the Royal Conservatoire was the combination of artistic development and education that it offers. ‘It is a sort of a motto here that you must be able to play your instrument well in order to teach it to others. I really wanted to develop my musical skills and in this programme you also have a main subject. Mine is singing. With my background as a teaching assistant I have no fears about standing in front of a class, but giving music lessons is very different to explaining a sum in maths. I have learned a lot in that respect in the last few few years. Ultimately, I perhaps see myself more as a teacher than an artist, but at the same time I will always continue making music and, for example, keep playing in a band.’

Dany: 'You must be able to play your instrument well in order to teach it to others.'

Teaching music to different target groups
‘You can go in various directions as a music teacher and the students do a number of internships during their studies. From them I learned that students in the later years of secondary school form the most interesting age group for me. But for my graduation research I want to study the teaching of music in schools for children with special needs. As a teaching assistant I worked as an intern with such a school for two years and I really want to explore how to give good music lessons to this target group.
Older people with dementia often respond well to music. During one of my internships for the Music in Education programme, a fellow student and I were given the opportunity to explore this subject and carry out a project for a group of senior citizens. It was a fantastic experience.’

Dany is a musician and a teacher with a broad range of interests, which is precisely why the Music in Education programme suits him so well. ‘The programme helps me to develop in the many areas that interest me. There are so many possibilities, but even if you already know what direction you want to take, you are helped to progress further in it.’

Dany: 'The programme helps me to develop in the many areas that interest me.'

The Music in Education programmes at the Royal Conservatoire and Codarts in Rotterdam work together. ‘Every year there are a few weeks of intensive study with the students from Codarts. We always learn a great deal during that period. Once you have graduated, you can work as an ‘arts teacher’, which means that you can also teach Artistic and Cultural Education. During those weeks we study dance, the visual arts or film, other artistic fields in which we do not have lessons but which we will come into contact with later in our careers.’ There are a few essential traits that every good music teacher must possess, whichever direction he or she takes, says Dany: ‘You have to be musical and master your craft, be confident and friendly in the classroom, and be able to plan well. You have to do a lot of things at the same time.’

Strong network
‘The students in the programme form a very close-knit community, also with alumni. Everyone knows everyone else, in every year. You also know the alumni, who always come to see The Case, the annual production by the Music in Education programme, and even sometimes drop in just to say hello. They are all already working somewhere as a teacher and/or a musician and you always hear if someone is leaving their job or if there is a vacancy somewhere. Everyone helps each other to find work. It is in any case noticeable that schools are once again devoting more attention to music. In future I would like to teach – I am in fact already teaching at a music school – and continue planning and organising projects, and will in any case always keep on playing music.’

Interested? Go to our 'Apply now' pages for more information about the Royal Conservatoire and the Education Department.