Latvia National Overview

Updated in November 2016 by Maija Sipola, Vice-rector for International Relations at the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music.

Overview of Higher Music Education System

Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA) is the only Higher Music Education Institution in Latvia. It offers professional undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and academic postgraduate programmes in music performance, conducting, composition, music science, music pedagogy and choreography. Doctoral level studies are available in the field of history and theory of music. Scientific research and artistic creativity are the cornerstones of all professional and academic study programmes. The main goals of the Latvian Academy of Music are to provide studies of exceptional quality in subjects of music, choreography and education sciences, humanitarian and social sciences; to conduct research projects in arts sciences; to encourage artistic creativity of the young musicians. Academy supports further education and cooperates as independent entity with foreign institutions for arts and education. In 2002 JVLMA was evaluated on an international level, all study programmes were assessed and accredited. Information on the available study programmes can be found on the webpage of JVLMA: http://www.jvlma.lv JVLMA operates according to the regulations of the National Higher Education System, has the legal status of a derived public entity; it has its own emblem and flag. JVLMA is under supervision of Latvian Ministry of Culture.
In order to be admitted to study at a university/college, each student has to have finished secondary education. However, the universities/colleges are free to set specific admission requirements e.g. additional subjects that had to be taken at the school level to quality for admission to a particular programme.
Bachelor (bakalaurs) and master (maģistrs) degrees are awarded in both, in academic and professional higher education programmes. Apart from the programmes, leading to bachelor and master degrees, there are other types of professional higher education programmes, targeted mainly for students entering the labour market directly.

Additional information

Total number of institutions
One at university level: JVLMA
Total number of music students
Bachelors - 393
Masters - 99
Doctors - 9
Funding
Funding is based on state budget, through the Ministry of Culture; individually funded studies are available.
Curricula
The curriculum for higher education music training is controlled by the State. A complete list of programmes offered by JVLMA is available here.
Genres
Music, Dance, Sound Engineering.
2-cycle system Bachelor’s level – 4 years (8 semesters)
Master’s level – 2 years (4 semesters)
Doctoral level – 3 years (6 semesters)
Qualifications Bachelor’s level – professional bachelor’s degree + professional qualification according to programme specifics;
Master’s level – academic OR professional master’s degree according to the chosen study programme;
The objectives of academic higher education are to prepare graduates for an independent research, as well as to provide theoretical background for professional activities.
The objectives of professional HE are to provide in-depth knowledge in a particular field, preparing graduates for design or improvement of systems, products and technologies, as well as to prepare them for creative, research and teaching activities in this field
Doctoral level – academic doctor’s degree.
Entry requirements 1st cycle
No information available yet. 
Entry requirements 2nd cycle
No information available yet.
% of students who continue with 2nd cycle 20%-40% depending on study programmes and/or number of graduating students.
3rd cycle
From January 1, 2000 a single type of doctoral (doktors) degree is being awarded in Latvia. The degree of master is required for admission to doctoral studies. Doctoral degree is awarded after public defence of doctoral thesis and successfully passed exams in the chosen scientific discipline. The doctoral thesis has to include original results of the research and new cognitions in the scientific discipline and may be a result of three to four years of doctoral studies at a higher education institution or an equivalent amount of independent research. The doctoral thesis may be a dissertation, assemblage of topically single peer reviewed publications or monograph. The rights to award the doctoral degree are delegated by decision of the Cabinet of Ministers to promotion councils established at the universities. The procedure for awarding the doctoral degree is controlled by the Commission of the Scientific Qualification.
JVLMA offers doctoral studies. The Academy plans to open in future a separate performance doctorate programme in which would combine performance (examinations-recitals) and scientific research (based on problems of performing arts and interests of major). 
Credit point system
ECTS: The Latvian credit point is defined as a one-week full-time study workload. An average workload of a full-time study year in most HE programmes is 40 credits. Latvian credit point system is compatible with ECTS. The number of ECTS credits is found by multiplying the number of Latvian credit points by a factor of 1.5.
Internationalization
JVLMA has Erasmus+ IIA with approx.. 100 HEI`s in Europe, as well as collaboration in NORDPLUS network with all music education HEI`s in Nordic countries.  Mobility for studies, traineeships, teaching and staff training is open to all students starting from 2nd year (including post-diploma traineeships) and all academic and other personnel.
Quality assurance
According to the Latvian legislation, state-recognized degrees/diplomas may be awarded upon completion of an accredited programme in an accredited HE institution holding a state-approved Satversme (By-law) or college statute. Decisions on programme accreditation are taken by the Accreditation Board, while those on institutional accreditation – by the Higher Education Council. Currently all JVLMA study programmes are state-accredited.
Latvia is open to the European Quality assurance Register.
Employability
Nearly 90% of graduates work in the profession they have been trained for.
Academic Year
Academic year consists of 2 semesters.
Overview of the Pre-College Music Education System
The pre-college education system in Latvia is based on a multi-level pyramid system. The system is geared towards producing professional musicians. 

Types of Pre-College Education

Music and Art School
There are 112 Music and Art Schools in Latvia with a total number of 16.600 children. Music and Art Schools offer all kind of different arts courses, including music. The schools are open to pupils from the ages of 6 to 16, as a supplement to their general education.
Music students receive instrumental/vocal one-to-one teaching and music theoretic subjects (solfege, music literature, theory). Pupils participate in various ensembles, orchestras and choirs and can enter competitions and festivals. 
Music and Art Schools are funded by the local municipalities and charge a small tuition fee.
Music Gymnasium (Secondary Professional Music School)
 
There are nine Music Gymnasia that combine secondary education with high levelled music education. They cater to 800 students. Students are selected through entrance examinations.
Music Gymnasia provide instrumental/vocal one-to-one teaching as well as various theory classes, orchestras, ensembles and choirs, with the aim to prepare students for higher music education.
Upon graduation students receive a certificate of general secondary education together with the diploma of secondary professional music education and corresponding qualification.
The best graduates continue their studies in higher music education. Those who have chosen the profession of music teacher in general education schools can also study at Music Education Departments at Liepāja Pedagogical Academy, Daugavpils University (pedagogical academy) or Riga Higher School of Pedagogies and School Management.
Music Gymnasia are free of charge.
Private Tuition
Traditionally, there is no system of private teaching. There are few private teachers who teach outside of any institutes or general schools. There are no private music schools. The Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music does not have a Junior Department of Preparatory Courses. 

Additional Information

There is no official distinction between pre-college education aimed at preparing students for HME and pre-college education which does not lead to HME - children are more and less talented, more talented often participate in various competitions and festivals, but number of lessons they receive are the same for everybody. At the same time there is no guarantee that more talented children will continue into Music college and further in the Academy - as it was mentioned already, often they (or their parents) choose more stable and profitable profession.

Music and Arts in General Education
In all general schools in Latvia, music forms an essential part of the curriculum. (Grades 1 to 6 – two lessons a week, Grades 7 to 9 – one lesson a week; in secondary schools it is an elective subject). Several schools offer more music lessons together with the possibility of instrumental lessons. Highly talented students can proceed to Music Gymnasia (Secondary Professional Music Schools).
Before entering primary education, children have often already received some basic music education in kindergarten (from the age of 2). 
Students entering Higher Music Education
Almost all students come from Music  Gymnasia and general secondary schools with music education. 
Special Facilities for Talented Students at Pre-College Level
There are many competitions and festivals for talented children, which take place at a regular basis. There are youth choirs and orchestras. Special concert series are organized for talented music school pupils. Constant collaboration between higher education, secondary and primary education institution takes place in frames of non-governmental organization activities (Piano Teacher’s Association, Chamber Music Teacher’s Association, String Instrument Teacher’s Association etc.), such as workshops, masterclasses and courses for talented pre-college level students.

Overview of Music Teacher Education System

Instrumental/Vocal Music Teacher Education

Institutions
Instrumental/vocal music teacher education is offered at three institutions:
  • Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music
  • Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy 
  • Daugavpils University
Structure and Curriculum
Pedagogical subjects are included in all study programmes on Bachelor and Master level, for example:Instrumental music, conducting, vocal performance, music history and theory, composition, and choreography.
Teacher education has a role in a range of subjects within the larger study programme.  It is obligatory.  Curriculum includes methodology, pedagogy, psychology, pedagogy, general didactics, didactics of instrument performance/vocal performance, etc., ethics, pedagogical practice.  In the Bachelor degree, approx. two semesters are devoted to teacher training practice.
Duration of study is as follows:
  • A bachelor degree takes four years to complete
  • A Master degree takes two years to complete
  • A Doctoral degree takes three years to complete
Entrance requirements include secondary education diploma, audition in major, colloquium in major, colloquium in music literature and theory (solfeggio, harmony, form of music).
Genres
Study programmes in Latvia are not made according to genres.
Internationalization JVLMA has Erasmus+ IIA with approx. 100 HEI`s in Europe, as well as collaboration in NORDPLUS network with all music education HEI`s in Nordic countries.  Mobility for studies, traineeships, teaching and staff training is open to all students starting from 2nd year (including post-diploma traineeships) and all academic and other personnel.
Employability
After completing a Bachelor of Music the recipient has the  right to teach instrument/voice/music theory/choreography, as well as includes also subjects enabling to teach related instruments (given the completion of such specific curriculum related to the instrument). This type of qualification is for teacher in music schools (elementary and secondary).
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
CPD possibilities are available for teachers at Latvian Academy of Music; there exists a study programme entitled ‘Professional music subject teacher’ (piano, accordion, strings, kokle, guitar, winds, percussions, music theory).  Entrance requirements to this programme include a colloquium in music literature and theory, as well as instrument performance. 

Education for Music Teacher in General Education (primary and secondary school)

Institutions
  • Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music
  • Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy 
  • Daugavpils University
Structure and Curriculum
Pedagogical subjects are included in all study programmes on Bachelor and Master level, for example:  Instrumental music,  conducting,  vocal performance, music history and theory, composition, and choreography.
Duration of study is as follows:
  • A bachelor degree takes four years to complete
  • A Master degree takes two years to complete
  • A Doctoral degree takes three years to complete
Entrance requirements include secondary education diploma, audition in major, colloquium in major, colloquium in music literature and theory (solfeggio, harmony, form of music).
Employability
A Bachelor /Master  of Music /PhD allows the recipient to teach music education in primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, music colleges, higher education institutions.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
CPD opportunities exist at the Latvian Academy of Music, such as colloquiums in music literature and theory, and choral score reading.