As of October 2021, mdw students have the opportunity to attend the new Global Conservatoire. This shared space for digital teaching and learning is based on a cooperation agreement between four renowned institutions: the Manhattan School of Music (New York), the Royal College of Music (London), the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Copenhagen), and the mdw. The Global Conservatoire offers music students from its four partner institutions an innovative compliment of online courses with synchronous and asynchronous learning units.
“I’d long had a vision for a programme of study that features international exchange and superlative subject-specific quality in the digital realm, with no need for a lot of travel in the interest of sustainability. And I’m happy that we can now realise this idea in the form of the Global Conservatoire. This will afford our students contact with numerous specialised experts while also enabling them to build large artistic and academic networks”, says mdw Rector Ulrike Sych. She views the mdw’s role here as that of a worldwide pioneer with this further excellence programme, and she finds it particularly important that the Global Conservatoire features strong quality assurance, as does the mdw itself.
The asynchronous course content—in the form of offerings such as videos on demand, texts, and exercises on this joint study platform—is advantageous in that students can individually organise their completion of coursework in ways that suit their calendars, which are often densely packed with teaching, rehearsals, practising, and concert tours. And the overall model, which combines synchronous and asynchronous units, is thus particularly ideal for students who already work as musicians or teachers and desire flexible course offerings. Another important aspect of the Global Conservatoire is, of course, direct exchange between teachers and students of the four participating educational institutions—which is why these courses also include synchronous units in which the participants interact live using appropriate online tools.
“The immense potential of this concept lies in the combination of synergy and quality-enhancing expansion of course offerings for the participating institutions. What’s more, this collaborative format offers students opportunities to get to know the various perspectives and focuses of the cultural regions represented by the other participating institutions while attending courses that could not be offered in the same way by their home schools. And finally, the objective is to gradually build a structured and permanent platform that will provide the students and teachers involved with the Global Conservatoire with opportunities for specialised exchange as well as the ability to do interinstitutional teaching in selected areas,” says Johannes Meissl, the mdw’s Vice Rector for International Affairs and Art.
The Global Conservatoire begins with an eight-course pilot phase for the 2021/22 academic year. Following evaluation of this initial phase, course offerings will be expended step by step. In general, its courses are directed toward all music students from the four institutions—although a few of the courses are open only to master’s degree and doctoral students. The initial course to be offered is the Royal College of Music’s “Music and Words”, a practical online workshop in which students can improve on their abilities to speak and write about music. This initial course will also be open to faculty members who will be developing Global Conservatoire courses in the future in order to help them gather know-how with regard to digital teaching and the provision of asynchronous content. The summer semester of 2022 will then see the offerings expanded: from “Music Production for Musicians” and “Nordic Noir – Structure and Melancholy in Nordic Music”, offered by the Royal Danish Academy of Music, to “African-American Music History” and “Music Theatre Dance” from the Manhattan School of Music. Courses to be offered by the mdw include “Music and Racism”.
All participating students will be enrolled as regular students at the partner institutions and exempted from tuition. Administration of the Global Conservatoire is quite challenging, since it involves differing institutions and systems of higher education: the Manhattan School of Music, the Royal College of Music, and the Royal Danish Academy of Music are music conservatories, while the mdw is a university. Furthermore, the Global Conservatoire partners’ academic years are differently scheduled and organised, with semesters beginning and ending at different times. For this reason, it is extremely important for the organisers to coordinate course scheduling and the (on-time) issuance of evaluations. “The complexity of this project’s organisation is due above all to how the various thematic areas are closely intertwined. So for the individual areas of activity like communication and branding, studies-relevant legal issues, and technical realisation, we’ve formed our own working groups,” explains Bojana Tesan, deputy head of Event Management and International Affairs, who represents the mdw in the Global Conservatoire’s international project team. The Global Conservatoire is also co-funded by Erasmus+, as part of which a research paper and an open access online handbook on the topic of asynchronous learning are being authored by the project partners.
View the course offerings of the Global Conservatoire at: mdw.ac.at/programmemobilities/globalconservatoire/en
The registration deadline for courses scheduled for the 2022 summer semester is in November 2021.
Registrations and questions are welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org