Study information

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 ‘historically 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 grounding will enable them to give convincing performances on a range of professional stages.

Graduates of the programme are members of numerous specialist ensembles, such as Vox Luminis, the Dutch Bach Society and the Amsterdam Baroque 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.

Specialising 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 a minor in Vocal Studies Classical Music, and vice versa. Many projects organised by the Vocal Studies department are open to students from both streams and in other projects you will work with students from other departments, including Composition and Classical Music. These projects reflect professional practice by testing adventurous musicians to the limits of their ability and increasingly by combining different music styles.

This cooperation within the Vocal Studies department and with colleagues in other departments is also part of the reason why students come to experience the Royal Conservatoire as a 'community': a pleasant and inspiring learning environment.


During the first year of the Bachelor’s programme the focus is on the basics: your musical development and improving your vocal technique. In later years of the course you will work more independently in developing a personal style as a musician and vocalist. You will work more intensively with our specialist early music singing teachers and with instrumentalists in the Early Music department. The curriculum covers subjects such as the theory and practice of embellishments, diminutions, notation and style analysis. You will study sources and bibliography. You will also be able to add a personal dimension to the curriculum through your choice of elective subjects and projects.

A very important element of the curriculum is drama. From the first year of the Bachelor’s programme you will work on body control, basic dramatic techniques and the art of combining singing and acting. In the fourth year, you will complete the course with a small production in which you will arrange everything yourself – from writing the script and selecting suitable repertoire to arranging the lighting and sound. The part of the programme devoted to preparation for professional practice 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.

To find you what this all means in practice, visit our Facebook page, where you can also communicate directly with current students!


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

Monica Damen

Related studies

Introduction Royal Conservatoire

Welcome to the Royal Conservatoire!

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

Get to know the Royal Conservatoire during the annual Open Day