The teaching of harpsichord has a long and rich tradition in the Netherlands. The intensive analysis of all the various styles and historic approaches have produced a clear impression of the full potential of this instrument.

Naturally, the emphasis is on the works of J.S. Bach, as well as those of many of his German predecessors and successors. But the curriculum also encompasses many major Italian works of the 17th century, French works of the 18th century, the English Virginalists and the work of Domenico Scarlatti. Accompaniment will be the most important aspect of the professional life of almost every harpsichordist. Training in basso continuo playing therefore occupies a fairly dominant place in the course. And the many ensembles, singers and students of other instruments at the Conservatoire offer almost infinite opportunities to put your skills into practice from the very outset.

The Bachelor in Harpsichord in the Early Music department of the Royal Conservatoire is a highly practice-oriented course. In addition to the elements of the curriculum supervised by teachers, you will learn to develop projects of your own and discover ways of performing them convincingly for an audience. Although the course is highly practical in nature, the study of early music demands a good theoretical grounding and background knowledge of the history of music and instruments. You will therefore also study the fundamentals of basso continuo, the historic development of this instrument, as well as the practice and theory of ornamentation, diminutions, notation and analysis of style. Research is another essential feature of the programme and you will be introduced gradually to the subject with lessons in bibliography, source studies and research techniques.

The Early Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire enjoys a worldwide reputation as one of the largest and most important faculties of its kind. For more than fifty years the Department has formed a unique breeding ground and melting pot for talent in historical performance practice. Vocal and instrumental styles of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance up to the Romantic period are taught by musicians with an international reputation as authorities in their field. Because of the high standards demanded by the international teaching staff, a degree from the Royal Conservatoire is an automatic recommendation in professional circles.

Here, you can find an overview of theory teachers for Early Music.





60 min/ week


4 years


Bachelor of Music

Tuition fee

Check 'Tuition fees'

Department head

Teunis van der Zwart

Introduction Royal Conservatoire