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Sibelius Academy Guide for Doctoral Studies in Music: Production and Assessment of a Doctoral Concert or Recording

Guide for Sibelius Academy Doctoral Programme (DocMus+MuTri)

General Information Concerning a Doctoral Concert

A doctoral concert is part of the student’s assessed demonstration of proficiency. It is applied for 6 months ( + possible summer break 2 months) prior to the concert and is registered for 6 weeks before the date of the concert. Registration requires an approved pre-examination of the concert. The student organizes the pre-examination by contacting the pre-examiner appointed by the Academic Council well in advance before the end of the registration period.

A debut concert may be the first doctoral concert if it is included in the approved doctoral study plan. A Level A consert cannot be transferred and included in a Doctoral or a Licentiate degree.

The student has the right to one hall rehearsal prior to the concert. Additional rehearsal time can be agreed upon separately, if needed. However, before a doctoral concert classrooms may be booked six weeks ahead. NB: Extra booking rights will only be permitted upon specific request. Please, send your request to the Facilities Department,

Outside the doctoral concerts the doctoral students may book classrooms 4 weeks in advance (max 13 hours/week)

The student may have the concert recorded by the Technical Services of the Sibelius Academy if the concert is held in SibA’s facilities. Elsewhere, the student is responsible for the recording. It is recommended to record concerts.

The doctoral concert should primarily be held in the halls of the Sibelius Academy or in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. No rent is charged from the student for using the Academy’s own halls.

If there is a pressing reason to hold the concert somewhere other than the Sibelius Academy, the student is obligated to agree on the matter with the Doctoral School and the artistic committee well ahead of time, about one year in advance. When the concert is organized outside the Sibelius Academy, the student must reserve a room (a classroom or similar) for the concert assessment meeting for roughly two hours after the concert.

Doctoral concerts are public. More information about the possibility to organize doctoral concerts is available from the producers assigned to the concert (cf.Artsi  instructions for organizing concerts).


Applying for a Concert

  1. All doctoral concerts held under the Arts and the Applied Study Programmes are applied for in connection with the general Sibelius Academy concert application period 6 months ( + possible summer break 2 months) before the intended time. More information and the application form are available at Taito channel (link on Artsi). Applications are processed and considered at the DocMus Doctoral School.
  2. When setting the date of the concert, the student must confirm that the date suits the schedules of the members of the artistic committee. The concert hall may be reserved as soon as the attendance of the majority of them has been assured. However, the first doctoral concert date is usually determined without agreement with the artistic committee members because the committee is typically not appointed at this moment.
  3. Before submitting the application, the student must agree upon and reserve a date and place for the concert (stated on the application) with the Producer of the concerts. In addition to programme information, the application must include a brief introduction describing the concert for communication purposes. For practical reasons, it is a good idea to include 2–3 suggestions for concert dates on the Soiva Akatemia application.
  4. In addition to a concert hall, the student must also reserve a room (a classroom or similar) for the concert assessment meeting for 2 hours after the concert. This is particularly imporant when organizing the concert outside the Academy building.
  5. A cost estimate must be included in the concert application (possible transfers of an instrument, assistant fees, rent of hall outside the SibA etc.).
  6. Once the concert applications have been processed, the artistic committee members will be notified of the date and place of degree concerts.


Concert Pre-examination and Registration

  1. The student should make preliminary contact with the chair of the artistic committee and its members well in advance before the six-week deadline so that the artistic committee can be assembled.
  2. Public concerts that are to be assessed for the degree must be pre-examined. Before registration, the student contacts the pre-examiner appointed by the Academic Council to organize the pre-examination of the concert. The pre-examiner then confirms that the postgraduate student is ready to perform the concert programme successfully; in terms of a postgraduate student in Composition, the pre-examiner confirms the quality of the compositions to be performed. The pre-examiner may approve minor changes to the concert programme. In such cases, the student is responsible for notifying the artistic committee of the changes and informing the office of the Doctoral School of the changes immediately after pre-examination.

In the case of compositions, the pre-examiner includes a statement of no more than 3 000 characters (including spaces) concerning the pre-examined compositions in the registration form.

If the pre-examiner does not approve, the student may appeal to the artistic committee, which may grant the student permission to perform at its own discretion.

  1. The student must register for the concert no later than six weeks before the concert by filling in the registration form and submitting it to the DocMus office (cf. link on the right). The registration form must bear the signature of the pre-examiner as the proof of approval; the artistic committee cannot assess a concert without approved pre-examination. Based on the registration, the DocMus Doctoral School convenes an artistic (examination) committee (the date has, of course, been set with the committee in advance).

Concurrently, you may request for your expanded six weeks' classroom advance booking rights at the Facilities Department, by email

  1. The student submits the registration form to the parties mentioned therein: the chair of the artistic committee, the Senior Advisor, and the Producer.

Concert Flyer and Sheet Music

  1. The concert flyer text is submitted for examination to the artistic dissertation supervisor no later than six weeks prior to the concert. In addition to a high quality musical performance and carefully compiled programmes, our concerts are characterized by interesting flyer texts. The artistic dissertation supervisor helps the student to correct minor flaws and provides instructions on how to proceed if there is a need for more extensive editing.
  2. After this, the student delivers the flyer text to the concert producer four weeks prior to the concert. The text must state the name of the full degree and the share of the concert in it.
  3. If the concert programme includes other than standard repertoire compositions, the student delivers copies of the sheet music for the artistic committee to the office of the DocMus Doctoral School or electronically directly to the members of the committee four weeks prior to the concert.

Assessment of Concerts and Recordings

The Academic Council appoints an artistic committee with at least five members to examine the artistic component of the demonstration of proficiency. The Council nominates one member of the artistic committee as the chair. The student may issue a comment on the composition of the examination committee prior to its appointment.

The artistic committee listens to all the concerts and recordings included in the artistic component of the demonstration of proficiency. The presence of three members shall form a quorum when listening to a concert. If the nominated chair is not present, the committee nominates a chair from among its members. The chair of the committee or the substitute may, with approval from the candidate, nominate temporary additional members to the committee if the examination is in danger of being cancelled due to a sudden shortage of artistic committee members.

The artistic committee gives feedback to the student immediately after the concert. However, before the feedback discussion, the members must hold preliminary discussions among themselves as to whether the concert is a pass or a fail. After this, the student is invited to take part in the discussion. Each committee member submits a brief written statement to the chair within one week of each artistic component. The chair fills in the lower section of the registration form/record, indicating whether the concert is a pass or a fail. The form is submitted to the office of the Doctoral School within two weeks of the concert. A fail decision must include a written statement, which is submitted to the Head of the Doctoral School in question within two weeks of the concert. The performance may be repeated at the committee’s discretion. The possibility to repeat the performance must be stated on the written statement.

The artistic component in a Licentiate Degree must demonstrate high artistic standards. The artistic component in a Doctoral Degree must demonstrate extremely high artistic standards.

Assessment and feedback focus particularly on the standard of the performance, the student’s artistic development during studies, and how the concert and recording programmes function as a whole. During the feedback discussion, the committee may propose changes to the programmes of upcoming artistic components. If the student decides to change them, approval must be obtained in the manner determined by the Head of the Doctoral School.

Following the final doctoral concert or equivalent the committee prepares a reasoned written statement to the Academic Council concerning the artistic component of the dgree. The statement must contain a characterization and assessment of each component of the artistic demonstrations, a critical analysis of the performer’s merits, concluding remarks, and a proposed grade (“fail”, “pass”, or, for a special reason, “pass with honours”). The chair discusses the final statement proposal with all members of the committee. The chair may sign the final statement on behalf of the entire committee. The statement must include the names of all committee members who assessed the artistic demonstration. Each member of the board may also provide a separate statement.

The student may issue a comment on the final statement of the artistic committee.

Organizing the Assessment of Recordings

A high-quality audio recording may replace one of the concerts in the Arts Study Programme. The audio recordings are usually released under a commercial record label or the SibaRecords label. The candidate is responsible for producing the audio recording.

Assessment of recordings included in the demonstration of proficiency is organized so that the student fills in the “Doctoral Concert” form and submits the form and the recordings to the office of the DocMus Doctoral School. The Doctoral School convenes the artistic committee. The same procedure applies to assessing recordings as to assessing concerts.

When You Hold a Doctoral Concert Outside the Soiva Akatemia Series

The same principles, as applicable, apply to doctoral concerts held outside the Soiva Akatemia concert series as to concerts organized as part of the series: applying for a concert, concert registration and pre-examination, concert flyer texts, and sheet music.

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