’It’s a very nice place to study, where you’re supported and safe, and can do whatever you want,’ says the violinist

Student - Salomé Bonnema pc Foppe Schut - Copy

Photo: Foppe Schut

Violinist Salomé Bonnema

What I really love about Royal Conservatoire The Hague’s artistic scene is that everything is combined: the building is shared with the city’s orchestra and dance theatre, and there are lots of international students. Of course, there’s a focus on your violin studies, but also a big focus on entrepreneurial and multidisciplinary things, because in the Netherlands that’s a big part of a musician’s life. We have a subject called ‘professional practice preparation’, in which they highlight things such as how to get funds and how to network. You also have to partake in extracurricular activities such as organising your own concerts, and it’s compulsory!

We have subjects like music theory, music history, orchestral projects and orchestral excerpts, but there’s a lot of freedom in the course. You might have one lecture per day, and you can use the rest of your time to organise chamber music rehearsals or your violin lesson. The conservatoire’s approach makes you feel very safe and valued, and teachers are all very easy to reach and eager to help with your questions.

A highlight for me was my final bachelor’s performance. I expected to be nervous but the atmosphere was so encouraging – I just loved every minute of it. What also helped me were the opportunities to play concerts in nearby churches and care homes. Every month the conservatoire has an open-stage concert, which is a great way to hear something from the other departments and try out new pieces. 

I love the city because it’s busy and everything is very close by. It’s a very nice place to study, where you’re supported and safe, and can do whatever you want, whether it’s classical, jazz, or your own multidisciplinary thing. I would say just come by and visit, and you’ll see if it fits.

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