The described competencies for Contextual Studies were formulated by using the "Opleidingsprofiel 2017" (Netwerk Muziek, september 2017) as a starting point. Details in this document (PDF).

From the 7 competency clusters, 3 are (partly) assessed within the program of Contextual Studies:

1. Ambachtelijk vermogen (Craftmanship): 1.4 and 1.5

4. Vermogen tot onderzoek en ontwikkeling (Ability for research and development): 4.1 up to and including 4.7

5. Communicatief vermogen (Communication abilities): 5.1 and 5.5

These competencies are used within as a competency framework, linked to training material and course material.


Study Guide Description Contextual studies:

The subject comprises the following knowledge domains: 

  • history (general history, cultural history and history of Western music) 

  • music analysis (focused on form, structure and texture of music) 

  • aspects of harmony and counterpoint (the way in which Western music deals with the vertical and linear (pitch) dimension of music) 

As the name indicates, this subject is about making connections. 

During all lessons you will hear music that will be studied from various perspectives, such as historical, theoretical and analytical. Content will be actively dealt with, for example by listening, singing, playing, recognizing, comparing, putting things into words and carrying out assignments. 

The most important objective in year 1 is to build a historical and theoretical framework and a glossary of terms connected to (Western) music. What is important here is learning how to recognize and learning how to work with musical concepts. 

Concepts may vary from relatively simple phenomena (such as chords, intervals) to more complex phenomena (such as tonality, musical style, polyphony, modality). 

In year 2 and 3 we will be working in a similar way. The reference framework and the glossary of terms you worked on will be extended and there will be further in-depth learning concerning the three knowledge domains. The questions we will work with will shift from what-questions to how- and why-questions. The complexity and the size of the subjects will increase as well. 

Contextual studies pays a lot of attention to developing a researching attitude. We do this by working on how to set up research, formulating research questions, making mind-maps, using literature, scientific and academic sources, such as data banks, works of reference, magazines etc. Examples are J-STOR, Oxford Music Online, Oxford Art Online, etc. 
Aspects of research are treated as well in subjects and themes which are dealt with in class, and during the work on a personal contextual essay (in year 1, 2 and 3) about a subject of the student’s own choosing.