Royal Conservatoire The Hague

Publications & supported Research Projects 2022 - 2025

The lectorate 'Music, Education and Society' is led by Dr. Paul Craenen and focuses on the changing role and meaning of musical expertise in contemporary culture and society, and on the consequences of these changes for the curriculum of higher music education.

For an overview of research projects supported between 2018 - 2021, please click here.

Sound UP

Research project in the context of Horizon 2020 and JPI Urban Europe.

Co-funded by Regieorgaan SIA, part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

2024 - 2025

Sound Up is a collaboration between Luleå University of Technology (main applicant), Royal Conservatoire The Hague (co-applicant), Leiden University, Soundtrackcity, I'm Binck, and Kluster.

Starting as of January 2024, the lectorate Music, Education & Society participates in this interdisciplinary arts-based research project, building on community engagement in data collection and artistic co-creation with a focus on sound. The project seeks - on a practical as well as theoretical level - to enable an improved quality of life (for all living beings) in residential areas and public (urban) spaces through a considered artistically inspired (re-)design of the sonic environment. Through cooperation across a diverse interdisciplinary team, ranging from (sound) artists to landscape architects, and from historians and ethnographers to sound studies scholars, the project develops new insights and tools of relevance to such practical and applied fields as urban design and regional development. Additionally, the project is designed to establish new active collaborations with local stakeholders and businesses in order to set this innovative approach in practice, and thereby to contribute tangibly to the green transition and development of sustainable and more attractive living environments.

The research will focus on two urban environments in full transformation: the city of Kiruna in Sweden, and the Binckhorst area in The Hague. The research team focusing on the Binckhorst area consists of Justin Bennett (KC, Sonology), Irene Ruiz Perez Canales (KC, Sonology), Renate Zentschnig (Soundtrackcity), Marcel Cobussen (Leiden University), and Paul Craenen (KC, lector).


Disembordering the Musical Field 

Paul Craenen & Michiel Schuijer (2023)

 At the November Music New Music Conference 2022, seven Dutch professorships (lectorates) in the fields of music and art embarked on a journey together by initiating Shifting Boundaries – Situating Contemporary Music Practices, a multi-year research that enquires into the rapidly shifting boundaries in contemporary music. At the conference in Den Bosch, Paul Craenen and Michiel Schuijer moderated the panel discussion ‘Disembordering the Musical Field'. Participants were Maya Verlaak, Thanasis Deligiannis, Heloisa Amaral and Aart Strootman. This text is a synthesis and further elaboration of the panel discussion and has been published in the booklet Shifting Boundaries. Situating Contemporary Music Practices (p. 130 - 157). Click here to download the publication.

Listening to / in Public Space

Justin Bennett (2023)

As an artist working often with audio walks I often have the nagging thought: does using headphones to present sound in public space immerse the listener in a bubble, separating them from their surroundings? This research looks at the form of the audio walk and the possibilities of using binaural recording, narrative devices and locative media to prioritise engagement with the environment. In addition it documents the re-activation of an older work of mine in a app using geo-location and it collects documentation of a number of walk-pieces including scripts, audio files, maps and other background information. Lectorate Music, Education and Society, Koninklijk Conservatorium, Den Haag. 


The creative act in higher music education

Felix Schlarmann (2023)

Ideas for and thoughts on the BA bachelor curriculum development of conservatoires. This article compiles findings on and ideas for creative activities in higher music education on the example of the BA program of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. During his work for the Research Lectorate 'Music, Education and Society' Felix Schlarmann gathered colleague teachers and students to discuss the topic of interdepartmental and creative activities in oder to come up with ideas and solutions. Study offer has been analysed, ideas for better structure and communication about creative subjects formulated, and concrete methods designed.

In this research, I show that music theory was until the 19th c. initiated by compositional practice and after that by a musicological practice. Or, as musicologist Michiel Schuijer puts it: “… performers did not have a big stake in the development of contemporary music theory (…) It is not difficult to understand, then, why practicing musicians have never fully embraced the legacy of music theory”. For this research, I did a pilot in which first-year trombone and percussion students bring their instruments to class, the results of which are discussed in this presentation. I demonstrate and reflect on the material I have developed so far, how it is used in class, how the idea of connecting to a 'players' practice can be formed in exercises and games, and how connections between playing, singing and knowing can be reinforced. I reflect on the whole process and give some conclusions and ideas for further research.

Diamond Marimba as a creative tool 

Arend Jan Hendrik Strootman (2022)

Since a couple of years I teach music theory lessons for the sonologists at the Conservatoire in The Hague. Amongst others I'm explaining overtones and their use in Just Intonation in these lessons. A topic that is, albeit from a different perspective, also part of the second year curriculum for the composition department. When the ratios, lattices, otonalities/ utonalities, harmonics/subharmonics, calculations in cents and hertz go into depth and become more complex, the connection with the sounding result can get lost easily. As part of the lectorate in 2022/2023 I wanted to investigate in how far the diamond marimba can be a valuable asset in addressing the potential of Just Intonation via a physical manifestation. Due to its construction the instrument reflects limits and lattices and much that needs to be known for an understanding of ratios - can this instrument be(come) a tool to be able to train the sonic imagination in Just Intonation and microtonality? In this exposition the preparations, building, try-outs, implementation in the classes and reflection can be found.

Crossing borders

Felix Schlarmann (2022)

Crossing borders – supporting ‘beyond genre’ artistic exchange by creating models for interdepartmental collaborative learning environments in a conservatoire. Open creative spaces that offer freedom for artistic collaboration, inspiration and creation between music students are still rare in conservatoires. Meanwhile these students, coming from all departments, show a deep interest in creative activities based on collaborating with and learning from peers from other genres and departments. But there are too many obstacles still occuring like busy schedules, the fear of the unknown or being afraid to improvise. The models and the communication around it need to be more clear, inviting and stimulating. In this research Felix Schlarmann investigates on new formats of inter-departmental cross-genre activities and their impact on conservatoire students' motivation, creativity and artistry. [...] 

Throughout the year 2021, as part of the lectorate project “Look Again” we researched the performance practice of music written in Italy between 1675 and 1760. Our project was to look again at the well-known Italian sources but also discover new sources of information for this period, being open to what the sources might say that could be in shock with what we usually do. We collected more than 150 documents, in situ at Italian libraries or through online resources, and presented a preliminary summary of our findings.1 Our overarching realization was that one cannot speak of one “performance practice of music written in Italy between 1675 and 1760”. Standardization, which has had a strong impact in the current early music practice, is a concept that, we proposed, should be forgotten.

However, we realized also that this was the start of a process with different stages, which would require more time: in order to start to absorb our findings in practical terms, we would need to try things out in a variety of ways, over time deconstructing much of what we normally do. Therefore, during the second phase of this research project in 2022 ("Look and listen again: practical application of an in-depth study of the performance practice of music written in Italy in the early 18th century"), we focused on the application of what we have found. In this phase, we aimed to approach the sources from a more practical, musical angle. [...]

This study explores a year's worth of research into how performers, composers and audiences can highlight different ways of listening in order to better communicate with one another. Inspired by the work of Pauline Oliveros, the study takes an in-depth look at Oliveros' Deep Listening practice, and how aspects of this practice and other works of Oliveros might be incorporated into traditional concert settings, with audience participation, to deepen connections between performers and audience members. Further attention is given to works of James Tenney and Cornelius Cardew which highlight certain aspects of listening and music making, and which can be used to explore how we give meaning to sounds and symbols.

A dossier on different perspectives on higher music education held in conservatoires in Europe and beyond.

The Promise of Music. Hopes an expectations in higher music education - Preface & Introduction (2022)

In the present day young musicians who start their professional musical studies have a mission. Their choice for a labour-intensive education that offers few guarantees at obtaining a steady job requires a lot of courage and faith. Both faith in their own potential, as well as in that of music for the world of tomorrow. This publication asks how music today can be promising, and also how conservatories can help to fulfil that promise. Students, teachers and researchers affiliated with the Royal Conservatoire The Hague have contributed to this book.