Spain National Overview

Updated in November 2016 by Antonio Narejos.

Overview of Higher Music Education System

Professional music training in Spain is part of the general Higher Education System. The Organic Law of Education of 2006 (LOE) regulates the studies according to the European Space of Higher Education and since 2011 the new titles were introduced. Public Conservatoires are regulated in Spain by law like Secondary schools, despite offering Higher Music Education. This contradiction causes great problems with the management of the centers, receiving funding from the government, and with recruitment of teachers and service staff.
Conservatoires are governed by a Management Team, headed by a Director. The Director is elected every 4 years by votes and he proposes the members of his team.
There is a School Council which includes representatives of all sectors (teachers, students, service staff and city council) but only has an advisory nature.
In the case of Foundations, there is a Board of Trustees who appoints an Academic Director for the Conservatoires.

Total number of institutions
27 Superior Conservatoires
Total number of music students
8.665 students (in the Academic Year 2014-2015)
Funding
There are three models:
  • Public conservatoires, which depend economically on the Autonomous Government (20 centers)
  • Foundations, which are private institutions but supported by public funding (3)
  • Private institutions (4)
Public Conservatoires are, as mentioned in the introduction, considered like Secondary schools, despite offering higher education. This contradiction causes very severe economic constraints.
Curricula The curricula are developed in three levels:
  • Basic level (general content):  Defined by the State for all Spain.
  • Concrete level (specific subjects / hours): Autonomic Government
  • Application level (distribution / content): Each Conservatory
Genres
Classical music, early music, pop, jazz and flamenco. The offer of pop and jazz is very scarce.
2-cycle system
1st cycle (Bachelor): 4 years
2nd cycle (Master): 1 year
Qualifications
A Bachelor degree (Título Superior) can be obtained in one of de following eight specialisations:
  • Composition
  • Conducting
  • Interpretation
  • Flamenco
  • Musicology
  • Pedagogy
  • Production and Music Management
  • Sound Engineering
There is a specific Master degree for the artistic education (Máster en Enseñanzas Artísticas) that has the same level of university Master's degree.
Entry requirements 1st cycle
To be admitted to a Bachelor's programme, students must pass an entrance exam which has national validity. This exam consists of a practical test and an analysis test.
Entry requirements 2nd cycle
Depending on the programme, you may or may not have some form of entrance examination (audition, composition, analysis etc.)
% of students who continue with 2nd cycle The percentage is small because the supply of Master in Artistic Studies is still scarce. In the 2014-2015 academic year there were 159 students who finished this kind of master, which represents 7.4%. Another group of students (similar percentage) opts for University Masters. It is necessary to consider that the masters of artistic teachings where introduced in Spain only 3 years ago. The forecast is that the number of students who continue with a Master in Artistic Studies will increase when the supply in conservatories grows (today only 8 out of 27 conservatories offer the Master degree).
3rd cycle At the present time, third cycle studies can only be done at one of the universities.
Credit point system
ECTS
Internationalization
The generalized international mobility program is Erasmus. All Public conservatories and Foundations have an Erasmus + agreement, but none of the Private ones are part of the Erasmus programme.
In the academic year 2014-2015 Spanish conservatoires sent 129 students and 154 teachers. There is no data available on the number of incoming students. 
Quality assurance
Higher music education institutions in Spain have external evaluation only for the Master studies, through the agencies ANECA, AQU, Madrid + d and UNIBASQ, all registered in EQAR.
The regional governments are responsible for the quality assurance of Bachelor studies.
Employability
The Spanish graduates in music have a high employability. However, many musicians are forced to combine various professional activities and many times they are low-paid contracts.
Teacher positions in public conservatories may be by annual contracts or permanent post through a competition (public servers)
Academic Year
The superior course may be taken in one whole course per year or divided in two semesters. The course starts by mid-September and finishes by the end of June.