The Vocal Studies Early Music programme at the Royal Conservatoire is devoted to vocal music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The programme is based on the principles of ‘Historical Informed Performance Practice’, which means that specialised teachers in the Early Music department work intensively with the students to reproduce the performance of the music in its original form as faithfully as possible.

As a student of Vocal Studies Early Music, you will be trained to become flexible and creative professionals with excellent communication skills as well as exciting artists whose thorough technical and musical training will enable them to give convincing performances on a range of professional platforms. Graduates of the programme are members of numerous specialist ensembles, such as Vox Luminis, the Netherlands Bach Society and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir, perform in operas and innovative music theatre, are teachers and are regularly invited to appear as soloists or members of an ensemble at the major Early Music festivals in the Netherlands and abroad.

Specializing in Early Music does not mean that other music styles and genres are 'off limits' to you. The Vocal Studies department challenges its students to develop their skills in every aspect of the art of singing. Students who choose to follow the Vocal Studies Early Music stream can take the minor Vocal Studies Classical Music, and vice versa. Many projects organised by the Vocal Studies department are open to students from both streams under which also projects with students from other departments, including Composition and Classical Music. These projects reflect the professional practice were adventurous musicians are tested to the limits of their ability and increasingly combine different musical styles. This cooperation within the Vocal Studies department and with colleagues in other departments also make the conservatoire to a nice place to be and an inspiring community.

During the Bachelor’s programme the focus is on your musical development and your vocal technique, the basic skills for a future career. Particularly in the first two years that takes a lot of time. In later years of the course you will work more independently in developing a personal style as a musician and a singer. You will work more intensively with our specialized early music singing teachers and with instrumentalists from the Early Music department. The curriculum covers subjects such as the theory and practice of ornamentation and diminution, notation and style analysis, the study of historical sources and bibliography. You will also be able to add a personal dimension to the curriculum through your choice of elective subjects and projects. Of course the curriculum also offers language courses, and an educational skills course in which you gain experience in teaching. Stage experience is essential for your musical development and therefore public presentations are an integral component of many of the courses in the curriculum. Gaining stage skills is a very important element of the curriculum. From the first year of the Bachelor’s programme you will work on body control, basic acting skills and combining singing and acting. In the fourth year, you will complete the course with a small production in which you yourself are responsible for everything from writing the script and choosing appropriate repertoire to arranging the lighting and the sound. The component of the curriculum devoted to developing career skills covers not only practical aspects such as how to write a good CV and developing entrepreneurial skills, but also encourages you to reflect on who you are as a person and a musician and how you can use that self-awareness to create your own profile as a musician. Right from the beginning of you study there will be a tutor who helpts you find your way in your studies.

To see what this means, look at the ‘Apply now - Be one of us' page.

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





75min/ week


4 years


Bachelor of Music

Tuition fee

Check 'Tuition fees'

Department head

Marjolein Niels

Introduction Royal Conservatoire

"I get to collaborate with students from different departments, that is very nice." Fee Suzanne, student Vocal Studies Classical Music

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