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Apply to Sibelius Academy's Junior Academy

Admissions guide 2020 to Sibelius Academy's Junior Academy.


Application period: between 8 and 22 January 2020 (at 3pm EET)
Entrance examinations: schedule published in January 2020
Admissions results: published 3 June 2020

The Junior Academy is a national programme, which prepares gifted young music students for professional studies. It functions as a part of the Sibelius Academy — in which teaching, artistic activity, and research form an interactive university-level learning environment.

As a Junior Academy student you have a major subject or a main instrument. In addition, you study ensemble playing and general musical skills studies (structural awareness of music). You can also receive tuition in the other fields represented at the Sibelius Academy, for example, instrumental and vocal music studies, and composition. Students give at least one public performance per academic year (for example, in a matinee organised by Junior Academy).

Junior Academy admits students to following programmes: Classical Music Performance, Composition and Music Theory, Folk Music, and Jazz. You can apply to following Classical Music Performance main instruments: Early Music period instruments (wind instrument, string instrument, harpsichord, or lute), Piano, Accordion, Guitar, Kantele, woodwind and brass instruments (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone Horn, or Tuba), string instruments (Violin, Viola, Cello, or Double Bass), Percussion, Harp, Organ, or Voice.

An individual study plan will be drawn up for you. The plan will take into consideration the learning objectives for musical education as well as the objectives for comprehensive and secondary-level education. The study plan’s objectives will be reviewed annually together with you.

Who can apply?

You are eligible for education if you are under 18 years of age at the beginning of your first year at the Junior Academy [1 August] and enrolled in comprehensive or secondary education in Finland.

Only applicants who have turned 15 by the end of the application period can be admitted to Classical Music Performance, voice as a main subject.

Only applicants who have turned 13 by the end of the application period can be admitted to Classical Music Performance on Winds, Percussion, Harp, or Early Music period instruments.

Right to study

The right to study at the Junior Academy is granted for a period of one academic year at a time. Sibelius Academy decides annually on the continuation of studies for a Junior Academy student with no separate selection procedures. Your success in your studies decides whether you can continue at Junior Academy.

Your right to study ends when you finish your comprehensive education or secondary education. However, the latest you can study is until the end of the calendar year in which you turn 20 years of age, even if you have not yet completed the education mentioned above.

How to apply

The application period starts on 8 January 2020 and ends on 22 January 2020 (at 3pm EET). The electronic application form will be published in January 2020.  

The pre-examination assignments (Composition and Music Theory) must be submitted to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office via the electronic SurveyPal application form (published in January 2020) no later than 29 January 2020 (3pm EET). NOTE! Pre-examination assignments cannot be submitted by e-mail!

The Sibelius Academy Admissions Office will answer your questions. The e-mail address is siba.admissions@uniarts.fi.

School and degree certificates or other certificates are not submitted during the application period.

Entrance examinations

A preliminary timetable for the entrance examinations will be published in the spring of 2020. An invitation to the entrance examination or a notification of rejection will be sent to you by e-mail. You will be invited to the entrance examination no later than 8 April 2020. The exact dates will be announced in the invitation.

NOTE! Please contact the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office if you do not receive e-mail from us by 8 April 2020. Some e-mail clients may treat our messages as spam, so please check your spam folder as well. Label the message as “not spam” so that you will receive our messages in the future.

If you fail to deliver the required pre-examination assignments (Composition and Music Theory), you will not be invited to take part in the entrance examination.

Be prepared to be present for the entrance examination on the dates and times mentioned in the invitation. A detailed schedule for the entrance examinations will be announced to the applicants on the morning of the examination day at the latest. Individual examination times cannot be changed except in force majeure cases, the Entrance Examination Board’s schedules permitting. Acceptable grounds for changing an examination time are an accident or sudden illness (a medical certificate is required). If you do not attend your entrance examination, you will not be offered a place at Sibelius Academy. Please notify the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the entrance examination.

At all the examinations, you must present official proof of identity, either a passport or a European Union identity card.

The entrance examination is a closed event and can only be attended by you and, with the Entrance Examination Board’s permission, your personal accompanist or other assisting musician. Auditions at the entrance examination cannot be recorded.

You are responsible for all travel expenses and lodging for the duration of the entrance examination.

Programme-specific admissions requirements

CLASSICAL MUSIC PERFORMANCE / INSTRUMENT

Accordion

Programme to be prepared:

  1. Three compositions of your choice, presenting different styles
  2. Sight-reading assignment if necessary

All compositions must be played from memory.

Each applicant will be allowed a maximum of 15 minutes. The Entrance Examination Board may listen to only a section of the programme prepared.

Early Music period instruments

(only applicants who are over 13-year-old by 22 January 2020 can be accepted)

Programme to be prepared:

  1. Two compositions of your choice, presenting different styles
  2. Sight-reading assignment if necessary

All applicants to Early Music must play the compositions with a period instrument. The Entrance Examination Board may listen to only a section of the programme prepared.

The compositions need not be played from memory. Compositions requiring accompaniment are played with accompaniment, the accompanying instrument is harpsichord. An accompanist provided by the Sibelius Academy will be available. You may also bring your own accompanist. For further instructions, please see “Accompaniment in the entrance examination”.

Harp

(only applicants who are over 13-year-old by 22 January 2020 can be accepted)

  1. Two solo pieces of your choice, presenting different styles (total duration approx. 5-10 min)
  2. Sight-reading assignments and tests of musicianship performed in an entrance examination situation at the Entrance Examination Board’s discretion
  3. Interview

The compositions need not be played from memory. All compositions are to be played without accompaniment.

You are required to exhibit at least PT3-level performance or equivalent skills.

Percussion

(only applicants who are over 13-year-old by 22 January 2020 can be accepted)

Prepare a free-choice demonstration of your skills on the following instruments (duration approx. 5 min / instrument):

  1. Side drum
  2. Timpani
  3. Melodic percussion instrument (xylophone, vibraphone, or marimba)
  4. Also sight-reading assignments and tests of musicianship performed in an entrance examination situation at the Entrance Examination Board’s discretion, and an interview

The compositions need not be played from memory. All compositions are to be played without accompaniment. You must bring the sheet music for the free-choice assignments to the entrance examination.

You are required to exhibit at least PT3-level performance or equivalent skills.

Piano

Programme to be prepared (applicants born in 2006 and later):

  1. A composition by J.S. Bach
  2. A fast movement from a Viennese-Classical sonata or sonatina or other equivalent composition
  3. A composition of your choice

All compositions must be played from memory.

Programme to be prepared (applicants born in 2005 and earlier):

  1. A three-part invention or prelude and fugue by J.S. Bach
  2. A fast movement from a Viennese-Classical sonata
  3. A composition of your choice

All compositions must be played from memory.

Violin

Programme to be prepared:

  1. Two compositions of your choice, presenting different styles (total duration approx. 10 min)
  2. Sight-reading assignment if necessary

The Entrance Examination Board may listen to only a section of the programme prepared.

The compositions must be played from memory. All compositions are to be played without accompaniment.

Woodwind and brass instruments

(only applicants who are over 13-year-old by 22 January 2020 can be accepted)

  1. Two compositions of your choice, presenting different styles; one of them must be a composition with piano accompaniment
  2. Sight-reading assignments and tests of musicianship performed in an entrance examination situation at the Entrance Examination Board’s discretion
  3. Interview

Total duration of the free-choice pieces:

  • Flute, clarinet, and saxophone: 15-20 minutes
  • Other wind instruments: approx. 10 minutes

The compositions need not be played from memory. Compositions requiring accompaniment are played with accompaniment. An accompanist provided by the Sibelius Academy will be available. You may also bring your own accompanist. For further instructions, please see “Accompaniment in the entrance examination”.

You are required to exhibit at least PT3-level performance or equivalent skills.

Other classical music instruments than those mentioned above

Programme to be prepared:

  1. Two compositions your choice, presenting different styles
  2. Sight-reading assignment if necessary.

The Entrance Examination Board may listen to only a section of the programme prepared.

The compositions must be played from memory, unless the instrument is an organ or a viola. All compositions are to be played without accompaniment, unless the instrument is a cello or a viola. For further instructions, please see “Accompaniment in the entrance examination”.

Accompaniment in the entrance examination

The accompanying instrument is piano apart from when applying to Early Music period instruments, where the accompanying instrument is harpsichord.

Cello and Viola, Woodwind and brass instruments, Early Music period instruments

Compositions requiring accompaniment are played with accompaniment. An accompanist provided by the Sibelius Academy will be available. Your choice of accompanist cannot be changed after the deadline for sheet music submissions. It is not possible to practice with the Academy’s accompanist before the audition.

If you intend to audition with an accompanist provided by the Academy, you are required to submit the sheet music for the free-choice pieces no later than 1 April 2020 via the electronic SurveyPal Application (published in the spring of 2020). Deliver the sheet music in PDF format and each composition as one file (not one page at a time). A file must not exceed 20 Mb in size. All sheet music must include the name of the composer and the composition, your name, and the programme that you are applying for. In addition, you must bring the sheet music to the entrance examination either as originals or as copies taped in book form.

Other instruments

All compositions (also those normally requiring accompaniment) should be performed without accompaniment.

CLASSICAL MUSIC PERFORMANCE / VOICE

(only applicants who are over 15-year-old by 22 January 2020 can be accepted)

Programme to be prepared:

  1. An aria from an oratorio or opera
  2. A song (Lied)
  3. A demonstration on a second instrument (without accompaniment)

Compositions must be performed from memory and with accompaniment. You must use the pianist provided by Sibelius Academy.

Submittal of sheet music:
Submit a list of your audition repertoire and related sheet music to the Sibelius Academy no later than 1 April 2020. The sheet music must be in the intended key. The sheet music must be of high quality, and the sheets must be taped together or in a folder. Your name and the programme you’re applying to, as well as all possible leaps, cadenzas, or other deviations from the original notation must be clearly marked on the sheets. The sheet music must include a mention of the composer (if not otherwise apparent).

NOTE! The contents or sequence of the programme cannot be changed after the submittal deadline.

Postal address: Sibelius Academy, Vocal music admissions, P.O. Box 35, FI-00097 UNIARTS
Visiting address and address for the courier mail: Nervanderinkatu 13, FI-00100 Helsinki, FINLAND

COMPOSITION AND MUSIC THEORY

Applicants are presumed to possess good basic qualifications in music theory and aural skills as well as practical musical ability and a wide knowledge of both early and modern Western music. Applicants applying to Composition are also presumed to be musically creative.

Composition

PRE-EXAMINATION ASSIGNMENTS

Submit the following pre-examination assignments to Sibelius Academy via the electronic SurveyPal application (published in January 2020) no later than 29 January 2020 (3pm EET):

1) A written account of your previous studies in music (a maximum of 1 standard A4 page), which must include the following details:

  • Your name
  • A list of previous training and qualifications in the theory and history of music, and aural skills and/or ear training and analysis, and where and when these subjects were studied. If you have completed recognized courses, information about the course in which you attained the highest level or qualification should be provided.
  • A list of previous instrumental studies and other musical activity
  • Submit also an account of your previous studies in composition (teacher’s name, duration and form of studies, institution, and official attainments, if any).

2) A selection of samples of your own compositions
The amount of the samples is limited. The selection must include:
EITHER
two complete works (no limitations on the number of pages)
OR
one complete work (no limitations on the number of pages) and not more than altogether five pages of excerpts from other works.

Samples exceeding the limit will not be considered. There must, however, in both cases be at least five pages in the selection. The excerpts may be sections from larger works. In that case, the excerpts must be accompanied by an account of the work as a whole.

A sample page must be a copy of the original and in the same size as the original. The compositions must be written on pages not exceeding the A3 size. Should a sound version already exist, this should also be included.

NOTE! Pre-examination assignments cannot be submitted via e-mail!

Based on the pre-examination assignments, a part of the applicants will be invited to the entrance examination. If you fail to deliver the required pre-examination assignments to Sibelius Academy by the deadline, you will not be invited to the entrance examination.

ENTRANCE EXAMINATION

The entrance examination consists of the following parts:

  • General tests in music theory, aural skills, and perception
  • The programme’s own test in music theory and analysis
  • An interview and an audition in an instrument

If you are invited to the second phase, you will receive a composition assignment together with the invitation letter. You must bring the completed assignment to the theory and analysis examination organised by the Department of Composition and Music Theory on the first day of the examination, and also bring it to the interview and perform it on your main instrument or the piano.

At the interview, applicants who are invited to the second phase must also provide a short text (of a maximum of 50 words) on their expectations for composition studies.

General tests in music theory, aural skills, and perception:
The first part of the assignments in music theory, aural skills, and perception tests your aural ability to recognize works and different styles in music and the second your basic theoretical knowledge of music. The third part is an aural skills assignment, which may include identification of intervals and chords, melody and rhythm dictation, and sight-reading. You may prepare for the general music theory, aural skills, and perception tests by reviewing entrance examination questions from the previous years.

Music theory and analysis tests arranged for the Composition and Music Theory applicants:
This tests your analytical perception, ability to describe music in writing and knowledge of music theory and music history. The examination may include the following areas: figured bass, the sonata form and other traditional forms (recognition of bridge passages and cadences), basic post-tonal concepts, perception of texture by ear. You may prepare for the general music theory, aural skills, and perception tests by reviewing entrance examination questions from the previous years.

Interview:
The interview will assess your abilities to analyze compositional solutions, your motivation for composing and systematic training in composition, knowledge of repertoires, and skills for theory and analysis. The Entrance Examination Board will also assess your suitability for training in composition and music theory.

Instrument auditions:
The interview includes an audition in a main instrument. If your main instrument is piano, you should be prepared to play a J. S. Bach Invention or some other comparable composition, a fast movement from a Viennese classical sonata and a composition of your own choice. There is also a sight-reading assignment.

If your main instrument is other than the piano, the requirements are a classical sonata or two other equally demanding compositions. Applicants whose main instrument is other than the piano should be prepared to play a piece on the piano.

Free accompaniment, score reading, improvisation or other samples of your practical ability as a musician may also be included in the examination.

ASSESSMENT

You are presumed to possess good basic qualifications in music theory and aural skills as well as practical musical ability and a wide knowledge of both early and modern Western music. You are also presumed to be musically creative.

The components of the entrance examination are weighted as follows:

  • Pre-examination assignment (composition samples) 20 %
  • General tests in music theory, aural skills, and perception 17 %
  • Music theory and analysis test arranged for the Composition and Music Theory applicants 23 %
  • Interview (includes a discussion of the composition assignment and instrument auditions) 40 %

Music Theory

PRE-EXAMINATION ASSIGNMENTS

Submit the following pre-examination assignments to Sibelius Academy via the electronic SurveyPal application (published in January 2020) Embark system no later than 29 January 2020 (3pm EET):

1) A written account of your previous studies in music (a maximum of 1 standard A4 page), which must include the following details:

  • Your name
  • A list of previous training and qualifications in the theory and history of music, and aural skills and/or ear training and analysis, and where and when these subjects were studied. If you have completed recognized courses, information about the course in which you attained the highest level or qualification should be provided.
  • A list of previous instrumental studies and other musical activity
  • If you’re applying also to the main subject Composition, you must submit an account of your previous studies in composition (teacher’s name, duration and form of studies, institution, and official attainments, if any)

2) A free-form essay (of max. 500 words), in which you describe your interests and activities within music theory

NOTE! Pre-examination assignments cannot be submitted via e-mail!

Based on the pre-examination assignments, a part of the applicants will be invited to the entrance examination. If you fail to deliver the required pre-examination assignments to Sibelius Academy by the deadline, you will not be invited to the entrance examination.

ENTRANCE EXAMINATION

The entrance examination for the main subject of Music Theory is divided into two parts. The first part includes general tests in music theory, aural skills, and perception, and theory and analysis tests for Composition and Music Theory applicants. The second part includes instrument auditions and an interview.

On the grounds of the applicant evaluation methods in the first part, a part of the applicants will be called for the second part.

General tests in music theory, aural skills, and perception:
The first part of the assignments in music theory, aural skills, and perception tests your aural ability to recognize works and different styles in music and the second your basic theoretical knowledge of music. The third part is an aural skills assignment, which may include identification of intervals and chords, melody and rhythm dictation, and sight-reading. You may prepare for the general music theory, aural skills, and perception tests by reviewing entrance examination questions from the previous years.

Music theory and analysis tests arranged for the Composition and Music Theory applicants:
This tests your analytical perception, ability to describe music in writing and knowledge of music theory and music history. The examination may include the following areas: figured bass, the sonata form and other traditional forms (recognition of bridge passages and cadences), basic post-tonal concepts, perception of texture by ear. You may prepare for the general music theory, aural skills, and perception tests by reviewing entrance examination questions from the previous years.

Interview:
The interview will assess your abilities to analyze compositions, your motivation for working in the field, knowledge of repertoires, and skills for theory and analysis. The Entrance Examination Board will also assess your suitability for training in composition and music theory.

If you so wish, during the interview you can also present your compositions, arrangements, musical theses and other corresponding merits.

Instrument auditions:
The interview includes an audition in a main instrument. If your main instrument is piano, you should be prepared to play a J. S. Bach Invention or some other comparable composition, a fast movement from a Viennese classical sonata and a composition of your own choice. There is also a sight-reading assignment.

If your main instrument is other than the piano, the requirements are a classical sonata or two other equally demanding compositions. Applicants whose main instrument is other than the piano should be prepared to play a piece on the piano.

Free accompaniment, score reading, improvisation or other samples of your practical ability as a musician may also be included in the examination.

ASSESSMENT

You are presumed to possess good basic qualifications in music theory and aural skills as well as practical musical ability and a wide knowledge of both early and modern Western music.

The components of the entrance examination are weighted as follows:

  • General test in music theory, aural skills, and perception 17 %
  • Music theory and analysis test arranged for the Composition and Music Theory applicants 43 %
  • Interview (includes a discussion of the short text and instrumental auditions) 40 %

FOLK MUSIC

The repertoire may consist of traditional or new music, or music of your own composition, and improvisation. If the repertoire consists mainly of traditional music other than Finnish, the performance must nevertheless include a sample of Finnish folk music.

The performance as a whole should last 10-15 minutes. In addition to your main instrument, you may include a demonstration in a second instrument. The music must be performed from memory and unaccompanied. Double bass or electric bass players, and percussionists may use an assistant musician for part of their performance.

You must also attend a musicality test, that will assess your ability to perceive tonal music, to distinguish between sounds and to memorize melodies.

JAZZ

Programme to be prepared:

  1. Two prepared jazz compositions of your own choice from memory
  2. The audition can include additional assignments (for example scales, chords, blues in F or Bb) at the Entrance Examination Board’s discretion and it may also include a brief interview.

You must perform jazz compositions that are different (for example in tempo, style and key), and you must include an improvised solo in accordance with the chords and form of the composition. For singers, an interpretation of the melody is sufficient. Scat song is optional.

Each applicant will be allowed a maximum of 15 minutes.

Sibelius Academy will provide accompanists (a pianist, a bassist, and a drummer) for the audition. You must perform with the accompanying ensemble. You must submit sheet music for the accompanists no later than 1 April 2020 to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office via the electronic SurveyPal application (published in the spring of 2020). The sheet music must be submitted in PDF format, and every composition must be delivered as one file (not one page at a time). A file must not exceed 20 Mb. You can also bring the sheet music with you to the audition.

The Entrance Examination Board will assess the applicants on a scale of 0–25 points.

Announcement of results

Admissions results will be published on 3 June 2020.

The Dean’s decision will be available at 9am onwards on Sibelius Academy’s premises in Nervanderinkatu 13, Helsinki. The decision will also be published on Uniarts Helsinki website including names of those applicants who have given permission to publish their names online.

Sibelius Academy will send e-mail to those accepted as students. You can also check the results on Uniarts Helsinki website, or from the decision at Sibelius Academy premises. You can also inquire about the results by e-mail at siba.admissions@uniarts.fi. If the admission criteria aren’t met, some programmes may choose not to admit new students.

The decision made by the Dean on accepting an applicant as a student in the Junior Academy cannot be appealed.

A list of persons responsible for feedback on your entrance examination will be announced on Uniarts Helsinki website on the day of the admission decision. Feedback is available between 3 and 17 June 2020 (each main subject or instrument will have a specific time slot for feedback). The feedback is intended to guide you to improve your performance further and to find development areas for the entrance examination in the future.

Accepting the offered study place and starting your studies

New students will receive registration instructions with the acceptance letter.

Students admitted to the Junior Academy must submit a certificate of studying in comprehensive or secondary education in Finland in 2020–2021. If you fail to provide the certificate in time, you will lose your study place at Sibelius Academy. Sibelius Academy will inform the selected new students about the schedule in the letter of acceptance.

Junior Academy students cannot skip one or two semesters between being accepted and starting their studies. To receive a place in the school, you must accept the offer of admission and start your studies in the autumn term following your admission.

The studies will begin with a briefing for the new Junior Academy students at the turn of August-September. The annual service fee for Junior Academy students is EUR 340 (EUR 170 per term).

The new students will be allocated to teachers and possible accompanists by the respective department heads. Your preferences will be accommodated if possible.

Questions or comments?

You can contact us via e-mail at siba.admissions@uniarts.fi.

You’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions here.