Jan Kochanowski University

Become an expert MUSIC TEACHER, specialising in 'piping!!

Study, as a piper, for a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education with the possibility to continue to Master's Degree

Work prospects after your degree are fantastic, especially if you are interested in global travel.

If your dream career is either music teaching or playing pipes with other people then this may be of interest to you.

Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland, has opened up their Music Education degree for Scottish Bagpipes. You can sit your final exam performing either bellows pipes or highland pipes or, ideally, both.

The degree is designed to train students to become expert music teachers and includes the following compulsory elements: teacher training, how to learn more effectively, how to cope with performance nerves, conducting, harmony and how to write for other instruments, music history, composition, music analysis, vocal technique, performing in an ensemble, research methods.

All students have to learn the piano and a variety of classroom piano skills suitable for a music teacher. No prior piano skills are required.

There are also a series of options to be taken in the later years of study.

These include one of the following:

how to be a music teacher in primary school (a variety of pedagogical theory, didactics, psychology and classroom management skills)
piano and choir teaching/conducting

and one of these

community music teaching
conducting and leading/teaching youth ensembles
vocal performance (including how to make and perform backing vocals)

For those who wish to continue to their Masters, a further two years of study are needed and these feature equally useful modules such as how to organise and market a music teaching service, more in-depth knowledge about musical forms and deeper training in composition and conducting.

The options in addition to these compulsory components are one of these:

teacher training above primary school level
keyboard/vocal teaching

and also one of the following:

teaching in a liturgical music setting and the skills this requires
conducting and ensemble work
vocal stagecraft

and one of the following options:

pop music writing and creating
community music making
recording techniques and composing for mass media

The final exam has two forms to choose between - either a performance project with a small accompanying text (a recording plus booklet about the tunes) or a longer written work (about 70 pages of text on a topic of the student's choice).

The cost is 6000 euros per yer for the degree, regardless of where in the world you come from (UK/USA/Canada/Australia). The cost of living in Kielce and Poland in general is very low - rent for an apartment comes in at between PLN900 and PLN1600 in Kielce (GBP170-GBP300) per month, excluding bills. A room in a shared apartment is less.

5 years Masters studies is typical in Poland, and this qualification makes you eligible to work as a music teacher not only in Polish (and EU) schools, but more excitingly, across the whole world in international schools. In Poland alone there are about 50 international schools who need teachers to teach in English, and if they have Polish qualifications they have an immense advantage competing for a position. 

For someone who wants to study piping and develop a variety of essential and extremely valuable music knowledge and skills, such as how to write for the group you want to play with, and how to record it as well as have the ability and skill base to create a stable work situation while you develop your music career, this is an ideal degree.

The 'piping element is led by Dr Lindsay Davidson, who studied music at Edinburgh University, and Napier University, teaching in Sunderland University and Bath University, and who grew up in the leading bands of his day - Boghall and Bathgate, Wallacestone and District, and was the founder of bands such as Stockbridge Pipe Band in Edinburgh before he went to live in Poland. Lindsay's PhD concerned piobaireachd and composing for orchestra (including borderpipes and orchestra) and he has toured the world (over 40 countries on five continents) playing with orchestras and as a soloist. He is also the founder and Head of the leading international school in Krakow, Poland and frequently consults with other international school across the globe.

You can choose either bellows pipes or highland pipes or a mixture of both. The level of performance required is intended to be competitive with all of the globally available piping degrees. The final musical project, should this be your choice, will essentially feature a recording that can serve as your first commercial recording. (UJK has a recording studio).

One further benefit is that you need to learn Polish first and Jan Kochanowski University runs special courses for this purpose, essentially one year courses, to get you prepared. You will join fellow students from all over the globe, who take this pathway. There is always a large contingent from China. They learn Polish and then train as music teachers.

So for a student from Scotland, your first year is learning Polish followed by three years of training to be a music teacher, so a four year degree as you would have in Scotland. Your music skills and knowledge will be adequate to support you as a composer and recording artist, and your piping level will be set to compete with the best in the world.

Poland is a beautiful country to live in, open and friendly, with great food, refreshingly cold winters and warm summers. Kielce is a town the size of Dundee with a very lively student life and is outrageously safe. Public transport in Poland is excellent and cheap and Kielce is served by airports in Krakow and Warsaw. There are many musical opportunities both for performance and for teaching positions across the country.

The international student body will allow you to make connections and a network that will serve your professional career well.

For more information please contact:

About the course and university in general  Dr Marek Kawiorski
About living in Poland, the piping aspects and how to become an international music teacher after that Dr Lindsay Davidson l.davidson@embassyschool.org

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