Studying musicology in Weimar and Jena

As a joint department shared by two universities, the Department of Musicology Weimar-Jena combines its proximity to top-class artistic education at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar with academic research and teaching. This latter area is supported by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, one of Germany’s most traditional universities. To this end, the joint Department of Musicology Weimar-Jena offers the perfect conditions for a future-oriented discipline. The synergy effects created by pairing the academic work of UoM Weimar, with its artistic and pedagogical fields of teaching, with the intellectual and social science disciplines at FSU Jena underpin the breadth of the courses on offer and the content on which they focus. All told, this adds a unique selling point to the study of Musicology in Weimar, one that cannot be found elsewhere within German-speaking countries.

The historical focal points of Musicology, from the medieval period through to the present, are paired with the professorships for Jazz and Pop, Transcultural Music Studies and the History of Jewish Music to form a holistic approach to Musicology, comprehensive in terms of both methodology and content. Furthermore, Music Theory is firmly anchored in the department’s Centre for Music Theory and Arts Management can be studied both as a course in its own right, and as a major or minor subject in Musicology.

Application-oriented research and teaching

The department blends organically with various courses offered at the University of Music. This gives rise to the strongly application-oriented nature of the degree in Musicology in Weimar and Jena. Students have access to the university archive/Thüringer Landesmusikarchiv, which is brimming with unique historical documents, for research and practical work. This archive regularly sparks student edition projects, which students on artistic courses then perform. Regular, high-quality concerts at the UoM are accompanied by programme texts and introductions that draw on Musicology. This, too, is a core part of the work performed by students in the department. Excursions, both within Germany and abroad, serve to deepen the knowledge developed in lectures, ranging from visits to Italian music archives through to UNESCO-funded music projects in Bahia, Brazil. The department’s musicological UNESCO lectureship (in Transcultural Music Studies) is unlike any other in the world, focusing on music as a cultural heritage and permitting insights into, and partnerships with, UNESCO projects around the globe.

Semesters abroad at one of the department’s numerous partner universities are recommended and regularly encouraged. The connection with musical practice is expanded further in the project seminars on artistic and academic topics. They could encompass an introduction to the playing of the Guqin, a Chinese zither, or South African xylophone music performed on the department’s Marimba set. Workshops on Arabic and Jewish music have been offered to the entire UoM since 2015, combined with an in-depth period of work at the partner university in Haifa, Israel, so that public concerts could ultimately be held, in conjunction with students from Israel, as part of the ‘Yiddish Summer Weimar’ with the Caravan Orchestra. The symphony orchestra of the Collegium Musicum is aligned with the Department of Musicology and puts on classical music concerts every semester. The Weimar University Choir and the university’s Chamber Choir are open to any student at the university who is interested in singing. These ensembles also give regular concerts and undertake frequent tours. Symposia and academic interactions can be experienced by students throughout their studies of Musicology in Weimar.

Role models for musicological work

The students’ first role models are to be found at the Department of Musicology itself, with the teachers and researchers based here. The profession of a musicologist is brought to life in the department, with research both inside and outside the university being part of the lecturers’ everyday work. At the same time, the Department of Musicology employs many of its students. Research projects and gaining third-party funding, something in which the department has previously enjoyed success, lead to mid-level faculty positions, i.e. the creation of highly qualified jobs, subject to social security, at the university. Examples of this include projects such as Music in Afghanistan, Persecuted Jewish Musicians in Thuringia under National Socialism, Österlein Wagner Collection Eisenach, Jazzomat, Cherubini Research and so on. These projects, funded by third parties, have benefitted many students and provided them with professional experience. The Department of Musicology Weimar-Jena is the only department at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar that is registered with the Federal Ministry for Science and Research as a ‘research institution’.

About the general "occupation profile of music"

The triple focus of its education, in terms of artistic practice, pedagogical teaching and academic work, is defined in the UoM’s mission statement. These three areas of education correspond precisely to the current occupational profile of musicians that UoM graduates can expect to come across: alongside practical artistic work and teaching music at schools or privately, an additional third of music-related professions come in both public and private cultural institutions, at universities, libraries and in cultural management, with publishers and media houses, in education and cultural policy and in the music and culture industry in the broadest sense, the ‘creative economy’ (according to data from the Deutsches Musikinformationszentrum). This lists the most important, albeit not the only, areas within which professionals trained in musicology can take up employment.


The ability to recognise the signs of the times, and respond to it, is given to up-and-coming musicologists, from the very first steps along their educational path. Of all the students at a university of music, at first, they don’t know much about what to expect, professionally. However, this is also a testimony to the array of possibilities that a musicological career can offer. The foundations for this were probably laid during their studies and through the teaching offered by the lecturers at the department. Today, our graduates work successfully at cultural institutions (Goethe Institut, operas and orchestras) within public and private institutions, such as municipal cultural administrations and ministries, universities, publishing houses and radio broadcasters, in the music industry or in research.