New Division Established at VMU – the Music Academy
Having integrated the Kaunas Faculty of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LAMT) into Vytautas Magnus University, the brand new VMU Music Academy has been established, seeking to support and vitalize the traditions of music education in Kaunas and train musical talents, who would make both Kaunas and Lithuania better known around the world.
In September 2010, the LAMT Senate decided to close down its faculty in Kaunas, but the community expressed wishes to associate their future activities with Vytautas Magnus University. In January 2011, the VMU Council sanctioned the establishment of the VMU Music Academy by ratifying the plan of integration of the Kaunas Faculty of the LAMT into VMU and the structure of the new Music Academy.
According to the VMU Rector Prof. Zigmas Lydeka, the significance of the integration of the Kaunas Faculty of the LAMT into VMU is measured not just in terms of Lithuanian schools of higher education, but also in the much wider context of Lithuanian cultural heritage and the development of cultural policies – saving, revealing and expanding the artistic potential of the country, presenting it to the global music community. "This step has been inspired by historical and cultural stimuli, based on the fundamental values of VMU and strategic position of developing creativity and arts, ensuring the continuation and progress of national culture. It is also an acceptance of responsibility to preserve the tradition of music education, which has been kept since the beginning of the 20th century, save the young musical talents recognized not just in Lithuania but abroad as well, and nurture and vitalize the life of music in Kaunas," claimed Professor Lydeka.
According to the Rector of VMU, the new academic division of the university (whose status is equated to that of a faculty) will have an opportunity to retain the work passed on by the Kaunas Faculty of LAMT, more purposefully perform activities in support of Kaunas musical culture and look for a unique way to improvement and change. "We will strive that the VMU Music Academy, based on the Kaunas Faculty of LAMT, would become a modern music school, recognized abroad as of equivalent status, breeding new musical talents, who make the names of both Kaunas and Lithuania more famous around the world", said Prof. Lydeka.
Until now, the wide-spanning liberal studies at Vytautas Magnus University have been organized by nine faculties. The newly established Music Academy will contribute even more to the education philosophy and expression of the principles of artes liberales upheld by VMU. "After integrating ourselves into the study system of VMU, we think that the studies will become more attractive and open more opportunities. Also, we will be able to offer music subjects to other students of the university as well. Accomplishing the task of remaining the hot spot for higher music education in Kaunas, I hope that all of this not only persists, but also keeps growing together with the expanding cultural selfhood of the city," claimed the Dean of the Music Academy, Assoc. Prof. Saulius Gerulis.
After the VMU Council sanctioned the establishment of the VMU Music Academy, the structure of this academic division was defined: it was decided that the academy will consist of the council, Dean, Dean’s office and five departments: Instrumental Music, Jazz, Music Theory and Pedagogy, Piano and Singing. If the necessity arises, specialized divisions may be opened at the departments based on the study programmes and/or their branches. Higher music education Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees’ studies will continue to be offered and realized here, while the methods and traditions of preparing professional musicians will also be maintained. The material base of the LAMT will also be retained and continually developed.
After the integration of the Kaunas Faculty of the LAMT into VMU, the students are offered two Bachelor’s degree study programmes – Performance Art (28 specialties) and Music Pedagogy – and three Master’s level programmes: Performance Art (31 specialties), General Didactics of Music and Music Pedagogy (28 specialties). Since 2011, applications to VMU Music Academy will be accepted according to the prepared and registered regulations of VMU and the compliance to the requirements of BA and MA study programmes at the university. Two brand new programmes, the first ever of their kind in Lithuanian schools of higher education, will be offered here. The possibility of organizing PhD. studies is considered for the future. No information is available at this time on the prospects for English-language studies at the VMU Music Academy.
At present, there are almost 10000 students and about 1000 workers at VMU. The majority of more than 140 students from the Kaunas Faculty of the LAMT have expressed desire to be transferred to VMU. The staff at Vytautas Magnus University will be joined by approximately 80 teachers, recognized artists and workers who aid the academic life of music artists. After the establishment of the VMU Music Academy, close collaborations with some of the most famous music schools in the world have already begun, initiating talks on the future student and teacher exchange, as well as the arrival of professional musicians to perform in Lithuania.