Artistic director Andrea Voets has developed a philosophy-course for musicians, to let them reflect on their daily practice and careers, inspired by relevant thoughts of great philosophers. The goal is to encourage young musicians to think out of the box, challenge habits and put the profession in the broader context of the societies we live in. The course consists of 24 hours of lessons, which can be broken down into individual workshops.


Professional classical musicians spend a lot of time in isolated practice rooms. This makes it easy to overlook that they remain artists, who need extra-musical inspiration to develop their artistry. Many music students enthusiastically express the desire to get a solid introduction to music philosophy in order to strengthen the ability to reflect on their own work in a diverse and critical way: an important skill in the swiftly changing cultural field. Unfortunately, most texts of great thinkers are too hard to understand without guidance. On top of that, the scholarly way of teaching philosophy is not cut out for, nor relevant to professional musicians. Their particular way of accessing, creating and experiencing music, calls for a new way of teaching music philosophy, merging these two worlds to bring out the best in both. Practical Music Philosophy builds the bridge between these complimentary disciplines.


The course
-discloses the most important ideas in music philosophy in a language, understandable to music students
-focuses on the practical implications of these ideas for the performing practice
-nurtures a curious spirit in musicians, enabling them to ask critical questions about their art and profession throughout their professional career
-shows how to access complicated texts by guided close reading of selected material
-encourages students to voice their thoughts by active participation in class discussions and the writing of assignments


The role of music in society
Plato, Andriessen, Adorno
The role of a classical musician in the cultural field of today
Adorno, Baricco
The art of interpretation
Gadamer, Merleau-Ponty
Mindset: anxiety and working attitude
Alain de Botton
The musical language
Plato, Hanslick, Langer
Philosophy by the great composers
At this moment, the course is a fixed part of the curriculum at the Hochschule für musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.