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Apply to the degree programme in Church Music (Bachelor + Master)

Admissions guide to the 5.5-year Church Music programme.


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

Who can apply?

All applicants applying for a bachelor’s and master’s degree or only a master’s degree at Sibelius Academy are required to have an educational background relevant to the degree programme in question. You must submit a copy of your existing qualification or degree certificate via the Studyinfo portal to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office by the given deadline.

If you complete one of the degrees mentioned below only after the application period ends, the decision on your admittance is conditional. In this case, you must submit a copy of your degree certificate to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office after you graduate (but no later than the deadline set for conditionally admitted applicants’ degree certificate submissions). If you fail to produce a verified copy of your degree certificate by the deadline, you will not be granted a right to study at the Sibelius Academy. Sibelius Academy can also at its discretion accept an official provisory degree certificate issued by a university or other institute of higher education that shows you have completed the course and will receive the official degree certificate or diploma later.

Sibelius Academy will check every applicant’s eligibility before the entrance examination.

Combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees (3 + 2.5 years)

To be eligible to study for a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree at Sibelius Academy you need to have completed at least one of the following:

  • The Finnish Matriculation Examination (a final certificate from upper secondary school is not sufficient)
  • An International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma
  • A European Baccalaureate (EB) diploma at a European School
  • A Reifeprüfung or Deutsches Internationales Abitur (RP / DIA) diploma
  • A vocational upper secondary qualification, a further vocational qualification, or a specialist vocational qualification defined under the Act on Vocational Education and Training
  • A foreign degree or qualification that makes you eligible for corresponding higher education in the awarding country
  • A Cambridge Advanced International Certificate (AICE).

Other exceptions to eligibility

You cannot apply to both the 2.5-year and the 5.5-year programme of a single main subject, or main instrument in the same year. If you do, only your application to the 2.5-year programme will be taken into account assuming you are eligible. If you are not eligible for the 2.5-year programme, your application to the 5.5-year programme will be taken into account.

If you have completed a higher education degree at Sibelius Academy, you cannot apply for the same main subject again, or the same main instrument in the case of Classical Music Performance.

If you already have a right to study toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree at Uniarts Helsinki, you need to apply for a change of right to study, or for special permission to pursue two degrees simultaneously. Read more here.

Language requirements

Degree studies at Sibelius Academy require sufficient command of Finnish, Swedish, and/or English. You must demonstrate your language skills with a language proficiency test or prior studies in order to apply to Sibelius Academy. If your chosen programme has several languages of study, you are only required to prove your proficiency in one of the languages.

The languages of tuition in the Church Music programme are Finnish, Swedish, and English. You must demonstrate your language proficiency in one of the abovementioned languages by the given deadline. Your language skills will also be assessed during the interview and during a writing skills test. If you apply to study in English, you are not required to demonstrate your skills in Finnish or Swedish.

Please note that the eligibility studies for a cantor’s position in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland can only be completed in Finnish or Swedish.

>> Demonstrating your language skills in English

>> Demonstrating your language skills in Finnish

>> Demonstrating your language skills in Swedish

You must provide proof of your sufficient language skills usually by the end of the application period. Sibelius Academy recommends all applicants to demonstrate their language skills by submitting the necessary certificates in advance. However, if you are unable to demonstrate your language proficiency by the deadline, the decision on your admittance is conditional. In this case, you must submit an acceptable certificate of your language skills to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office as soon as possible (but no later than the deadline set for conditionally admitted applicants’ certificate submissions). NOTE! If you do not submit the required proof of your language skills by the given deadline, you will not be granted a right to study at the Sibelius Academy.

How to apply

Church music degrees are diverse music qualifications, which can qualify the students for a cantor’s post within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

You can apply to study either in Helsinki or in Kuopio (NOTE! In Kuopio, studies are offered only in Finnish). On the application form, you can also indicate you are willing to accept a study place in either of the cities. This means that the university will place you in Helsinki or in Kuopio (to ensure an equal number of students in the two cities). Successful applicants will be located for study based on their final scores in the entrance examination. You may be rejected if you have not applied to the unit for which you are entitled based on your entrance examination score.

Submit your electronic application in the Studyinfo portal before the end of the application period. Late applications will not be accepted. Submitting your pre-examination assignments or other supporting documents is not considered initiation of application proceedings if you do not submit the actual application form by the deadline.

Supporting documents

All certificates and other supporting documents must be submitted (as .pdf files) via the Studyinfo portal to arrive at the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office before the given deadline.

All applicants should submit the following documents:

Certificate of your prior education and a transcript of study records
If you have completed your education outside of Finland, we might ask for clarification of the educational system and the level of completed education in the country in question. If you complete your degree after the application period ends, you do not need to submit your degree certificate in the initial application stage. The certificate should be provided once completed (but no later than the deadline set for conditionally admitted applicants’ degree certificate submissions).

Certificate demonstrating your language skills
If you demonstrate sufficient language skills through previously completed studies, the degree certificate or its appendix, the transcript of study records, or some other official document issued by the institution in question must clearly state in which language the studies were completed. In order for your education to be counted as proof of language proficiency, it must be completed by the deadline set for conditionally admitted applicants’ certificate submissions.

Document that proves release from liability for payment of tuition fees
If you are applying to study in English, you will be required to pay tuition fees unless you submit documentation (e.g. a copy of your passport) that shows you are exempt.

Your submitted documents must state your current name and the degree programme they relate to. If the documents are not in Finnish, Swedish, or English, you must submit an authorised translation into one of these languages.

If you are a refugee or in a refugee-like situation, or an asylum seeker and unable to submit documentary evidence of your qualification, you may still be deemed eligible to apply. Read more here.

Pre-examination assignments

Applicants to Church Music programme are not required to submit pre-examination assignments. All eligible applicants will be invited to the entrance examination.

Entrance examinations

You can be invited to the entrance examination if:

  1. You have submitted an electronic application form and the required attachments at Studyinfo.fi and
  2. The Dean of the Sibelius Academy deems you eligible based on these documents.

If you fail to deliver the required pre-examination assignments, video auditions, or other supporting documents, certificates, or clarifications to Sibelius Academy by the deadline and in the required format, your application will be rejected.

The preliminary schedule for the entrance examinations will be published in the programme-specific admissions guides in January before the admissions. Entrance examinations for different programmes are sometimes held at the same time. If you are applying for several programmes and your entrance exams are at the same time, you must choose which examination you will take.

The exact dates of your entrance examination will be detailed in your invitation. More detailed instructions for the entrance examinations will be sent to you with the invitation. It is important that you confirm receipt of the invitation by e-mail. If you live outside Finland and need to apply for a visa, Sibelius Academy is willing to send you a preliminary invitation letter on request.  

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 the matriculation examination (or a corresponding event of importance) and an accident or sudden illness (a medical certificate is required). If you do not attend your entrance examination or any of its compulsory components, you will not be offered a place at Sibelius Academy.

When attending your exam, please bring official proof of your identity: either a passport, a European Union identity card, or a Finnish driving license.

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 accommodation while attending the entrance examination. In some programmes, video auditions replace entrance examinations, and you do not need to attend the entrance examination at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. The programme-specific admissions criteria will mention video auditions if they are available.

You must notify the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the entrance examination.

Special arrangements in the entrance examination

If you require special arrangements in the entrance examination because of a sensory or physical disability or other corresponding reason, you’ll find more information here.

Church Music entrance examination

The entrance examination includes the following components:

  1. Piano or organ, and singing
  2. A demonstration of musical interaction with a group
  3. Interview and the sung part of the aural skills test 
  4. Music theory and the dictation part of the aural skills test
  5. Writing skills (only for Finnish Matriculation Examination candidates and others without a completed Matriculation Examination or higher education degree).

The entrance examination components will be arranged in a way that you will be able to complete all parts over three weekdays in which all entrance examinations take place. The final schedules are determined by the number of applicants.

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

1) Piano or organ, and singing

Before the audition, you have a 20-minute preparation time in a designated organ or piano classroom.

You will play two compositions on the piano or organ:

  1. A free-choice piano or organ composition, which demonstrates your technical and interpretive skills. The composition needs not be played from memory.
  2. A composition announced by the Entrance Examination Board with 20 minutes of preparation time (either for piano or organ, depending on your choice)

In addition to the piano or organ compositions, you will sing two songs:

  1. One stanza from a hymn a cappella at the pitch of your choice. Before the 20-minute preparation time, you will be informed of which hymn to sing. You do not need to sing the hymn from memory.
  2. One of the accompanied solo songs listed in the invitation letter. The solo song needs not be performed from memory. You will receive a link to sheet music for the songs (in different keys) together with the invitation from which you can choose the one that suits you best. You can also choose to perform another accompanied solo song instead of one of the listed songs. In such a case, you must submit the sheet music to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office via the electronic SurveyPal application no later than 15 April 2020. The music must be in the key in which you intend to perform it. The contents of the programme cannot be changed after the submittal deadline. The university will provide an accompanist, but if you wish to bring your own accompanist with you, you are free to do so. You are not allowed to accompany yourself.

2) A demonstration of musical interaction with a group

You must demonstrate your musical skills and working method as a musical leader in a 10-minute session with a choir or another ensemble. The ensemble/choir will consist of eight church music students (2 sopranos, 2 altos, 2 tenors, and 2 basses). You will rehearse one of the following options:

  1. One of the listed 3–4-voiced songs (link to the sheet music in the invitation to the entrance examination); or
  2. A free-choice song in unison or with parts, accompanied (by you) or a cappella. If the song requires sheet music, you must bring 12 copies of the song with you; or
  3. A musical task (for example, body percussion) suitable for the ensemble/choir.

You are not required to have studied choir conducting or have any experience working with a group. Instead, the Entrance Examination Board will assess your interaction with the group and ability to structure the task and the process in an appropriate manner.

The Board will also monitor for problems in your voice production. You may be asked to attend a functional voice examination on the same day or later on one of the entrance examination days. In the case of illness or other situations that obstruct voice production, you are encouraged to bring a medical doctor’s certificate with you.

3) Interview and the sung part of the aural skills test

The interview will assess your motivation as well as the extent of realism for your studies. In the interview, you can also give a demonstration of up to 5 minutes on your secondary instrument or otherwise describe your musical skills that are not demonstrated in the other parts of the entrance examination. A piano will be available in the interview room.

The test on aural skills assesses your aural perception of tonal music and short-term musical memory. The test includes sight-singing and singing of intervals, harmonies, and short melodic items. You must attend the aural skills test for church music regardless of any aural skills tests you may have completed for other degree programmes. The dictation test will be held in connection with the music theory test. The level of the entrance examination questions corresponds to the Aural Skills Level I/D at Finnish music institutes.

4) Music theory and the dictation part of the aural skills test

The music theory, aural skills, and perception examinations measure your ability to recognise music styles and works by ear, as well as your basic aural and music theory skills. You may prepare for the test by reviewing entrance examination questions from the previous years. The questions have been published on Uniarts Helsinki website.

If you are admitted to study church music but fail to demonstrate sufficient proficiency in music theory and aural skills during the entrance examination, you may be required to study and complete the required remedial modules as defined by the university. More detailed information will be available in the letter of approval. The remedial modules must be completed before starting the university-level music theory and aural skills studies.

The results for the entrance examination’s general music theory, aural skills, and perception tests may be taken into consideration for those accepted to the Sibelius Academy as part of the placement test, which will be arranged at the beginning of the studies.

5) Writing skills

You will write a brief essay on a given topic in Finnish, Swedish, or English. The test is compulsory for Finnish Matriculation Examination candidates and others without a completed Matriculation Examination or higher education degree in Finland.

Admissions grading

Your entrance examination and its components will be graded. If you fail to complete any of the compulsory parts or components of the entrance examination, you will not be granted a right to study at the Sibelius Academy.

In written examinations, your answers will be scored. In other examinations, the Entrance Examination Board will assess your skills, knowledge, and educability based on the programme-specific admissions criteria.

For educability, the Entrance Examination Board will assess your ability to complete your degree studies in the normative duration for the completion of a degree in accordance with the decree on university degrees (bachelor: 3 years, master: 2.5 years).

Assessment (Church Music)

Applicants for the Church Music programme are admitted in three separate groups: one in Finnish, one in Swedish, and one in English.

In addition to educability and good musical skills and knowledge, you must be motivated to study church music and comprehensive musicianship in general. Your skills and knowledge will also be assessed in relation to your prior musical experience and education.

For components 1–5, you receive 0–25 points for each; the lowest acceptable number of points for each component is 11. If you fail one or more components of the examination, you may be rejected regardless of the total score.

The components of the entrance examination are weighted as follows:

  • Piano or organ, and singing: 60 %
    • Piano or organ: 30%
    • Singing: 30%
  • A demonstration of musical interaction with a group: 20 %
  • Interview: 10 %
  • Aural skills: 5 %
    • Dictation and sung part: 2,5 %
    • Educability: 2,5 %
  • Music theory: 5 %
  • Writing skills: Approved or not approved 
  • Voice production check-up: Approved or not approved 

You may be rejected if you have a severe functional voice disturbance, which can be seriously detrimental to professional studies in the Church Music programme.

Announcement of results

Uniarts Helsinki Board decides the number of new bachelor’s and/or master’s students to be accepted to Sibelius Academy. No more than 170 new students will be admitted to Sibelius Academy in 2020. Uniarts Helsinki does not apply the first-time applicant quotas in their admissions.

The entrance examination results will be available at Sibelius Academy’s Helsinki (Nervanderinkatu 13) and Kuopio premises at 9.00 a.m. on the day of the admissions results. Results will also be published on the Uniarts Helsinki admissions website, including the names of applicants who have given permission to publish their names online.

If you have been accepted to Sibelius Academy or added to the wait list we will send you an email on the day results are published.

The most successful applicant or applicants after the accepted candidates can be placed on a wait list for places that may become vacant at a later date. The wait lists are either programme-specific or alternatively group-specific, if there are several wait lists for different groups in a single programme. If you have been placed on a wait list, you may only be admitted to the programme if someone in the programme in question (or group in question) does not accept the study place, or if someone who has been selected conditionally fails to submit the necessary documents by the end of the deadline.

If the admissions criteria aren’t met, some programmes may choose not to admit new students. If a degree programme does not accept any new students, no applicants can be placed on a wait list for places that might become vacant at a later date.

Feedback

You have the opportunity to receive feedback on your entrance examination performance. A list of people responsible for giving feedback will be announced on the Uniarts Helsinki admissions website when results are published. Feedback is intended to guide you to further improve your performance and help you identify areas for improvement.

How to request for rectification

You can request for rectification of the Dean’s admission decision from Uniarts Helsinki within 14 days of the publication of the admission results. The right of appeal means that you have the possibility to request for rectification if there is a reason to believe that there has been an error in the decision-making process.

The right of appeal is not intended as a means for receiving feedback or asking for further information about the application process.

Read more here.

Accepting the offered study place

You can accept your study place electronically on the Studyinfo system or by submitting the confirmation form attached to your letter of acceptance by e-mail to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office. You must accept your study place by the given deadline.

If the confirmation arrives late, it will not be considered. The confirmation of acceptance is binding and irrevocable, and it cannot be cancelled. If you want to give up your study place after first accepting it, you are still considered to have accepted the study place for the semester in question (for more information, see ‘one study place per term’ provision).

Tuition fees

>>Tuition fees and scholarships in Uniarts Helsinki

Uniarts Helsinki will charge an annual tuition fee from non-EU and non-EEA students studying for a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in a foreign language. The amount of the fee will stay the same for the duration of a particular student’s studies.

If you are liable for payment due to your nationality, you must use the application form in the Studyinfo portal to notify whether you have a document that would release you from payment. The documents that prove your right to exemption should be submitted to the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office by the end of the application period. If your liability to pay the fee changes after the application deadline, please contact the admissions office immediately.

Scholarships

Uniarts Helsinki has a scholarship programme for students who are liable for payment in the form of tuition fee waivers. The applicants should note that the university does not offer any scholarships for living expenses.

If you are liable for payment, you must state on the Studyinfo application form if your wish to apply for a scholarship from Uniarts Helsinki to cover the annual tuition fee if you get accepted. A separate form is used to apply for the scholarship (link to the tuition fee waiver form can be found on the Studyinfo application form).

The scholarships are granted for one academic year at a time based on applications. The amount of the scholarship is 2,500 or 5,000 euros. If a student is awarded a scholarship, they will be notified of the decision personally at the same time as they receive the admission results.

Starting your studies

The academic year begins and new students are expected to attend from mid-August. If we offer a preliminary course in music theory before mid-August, course participants will be given a detailed schedule in their letter of acceptance.

New students must register at Sibelius Academy before the academic year begins – more information will be sent to you about how to do this along with your acceptance letter. You can apply for the right to be absent for the first year of studies only under certain statutory circumstances. Read more here.

The right to absence must be applied for in writing to Sibelius Academy before the end of the registration period. Submit a certificate that entitles you to absence with your application.

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.

Admissions chat

Want to study at Sibelius Academy but don’t know how to get started?

You can watch a video of our live admissions chat which was recorded on 14 November 2019. On the video our staff representatives and students answer your questions about Sibelius Academy. The video is in English.

>> Link to the YouTube video