When I finished university in 2010, I was inclined to think that the goals of academic education in music would never change, and that institutions would continue to produce hundreds and thousands of highly-qualified graduates, preparing for a professional profile that had long ceased to be a standard: permanent full-time positions in orchestras and at theatres. I believed that administrations of music universities were uninterested, or even incapable, to thoroughly observe the occupational field and the conditions and requirements for career starters, as they obviously ignored the fact that the vast majority of music graduates were expecting patchwork careers in a precarious environment, characterised by short-term freelance jobs and hybrid working conditions. In particular, the numbers of available study places for artistic degrees compared to those qualifying for teaching in (music) schools were in a severe disproportion. So, in all likelihood, there would be a continuous and increasing mismatch regarding the goals of professional music education and the demands of the job market—that seemed to be the only predictable future.
However, after the experience of the past few years, there is at least some hope. Many music universities have reacted to the challenges of the quickly developing field, implementing self-management and career advancement courses in their curricula, and sometimes also offering professional development options for students and graduates. Of course, there are yet many issues and structures to improve at music universities (some of which still appear deeply rooted in their nineteenth-century traditions and routines). The most urgent desideratum seems to be to question the need for artistic elitism, and to focus on pedagogical expertise as the foremost aim of professional training in music. In a noteworthy VAN Magazin interview, Lydia Grün, the new president of Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, outlines some administrative measures to be taken at her institution, and demonstrates a remarkable openness and readiness for change. Hope this will yield some emulation, or at least incite appropriate thoughts in the boardrooms of other institutions.