‘I set myself realistic goals: I look for what I really want to do and what challenges me. And then I simply do it.’ Erik Elias is following an academic course at Leiden University, but is combining it with a minor in Jazz bass guitar and Classical piano at the Royal Conservatoire.

Erik saw the possibility of combining courses at Leiden University and the Royal Conservatoire in the Practicum Musicae programme as a unique opportunity. He initially intended to pursue an academic education. ‘I was not really looking at conservatoires. But when I learned about the joint programme of Leiden University and the Royal Conservatoire, I knew immediately that it was what I wanted to do.’

‘I am now in my second year and I’m learning to achieve a better balance between my course at the university and my music studies. I am finding it easier to divide my time properly.’ Erik tries to play as often as possible with other students in the Jazz and Classical Music departments. He plays in Jazz combos, for example, and is currently giving chamber music recitals with a cellist. Erik is not yet sure what the future holds. ‘With this programme, I could still go on to study music full-time later, or continue with my academic career. It is great to have all of the options still open to me.’

Photographer: Marijn Smulders (alumnus KABK). This picture is taken at the construction site of Amare. In the summer of 2021, the Royal Conservatoire will move to this new building, together with the Residentie Orkest, Nederlands Dans Theater and Zuiderstrandtheater.

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