Las escuelas de música en España. Normativa comparada de las diferentes Administraciones educativas / Music Schools in Spain. Comparative regulations of the different Educational Administrations

(Article published in the magazine Doce Notas. Madrid, September-October 1999


Unlike everything that concerns professional music education and the centers in which it is taught, the LOGSE limits itself to providing for non-regulated education -but no less important, since it affects a proportionally much higher number of students- the existence of specific schools, in which students, without age limitation, may pursue studies not aimed at obtaining qualifications with academic and professional validity, and whose regulation corresponds to the Educational Administrations (that is: to the Ministry of Education and Culture for its territorial scope of management, and to the Autonomous Communities that are in the full exercise of their competences in educational matters). There is, therefore, no basic rule -at the state level- that regulates neither the academic aspects nor the minimum requirements (spaces, number of school places, etc.) that Music Schools must have, and it is up to each Educational Administration to determine all these aspects, including the especially important one, as will be seen later, of the qualifications of the teaching staff.
In this order of things, it is somewhat logical that, when comparing the different regulations governing the creation and operation of Music Schools approved by the different Administrations, one observes, along with the obvious coincidences, divergences that, although in some respects they are irrelevant, in others they are highly surprising.

1. Objectives

Thus, in the chapter dedicated to the objectives to be achieved by Music Schools, all Educational Administrations follow the guidelines set by the MEC in terms of the priority goal of "promoting knowledge and appreciation of music from childhood", as well as those of "offering instrumental education, oriented both to individual practice and to group practice", and "providing complementary musical education to instrumental practice. All of this, together with the especially transcendental objective of "orienting those cases in which that the special talent and vocation of the student advise their access to a professional education, providing, where appropriate, the adequate preparation to access said education", is collected almost literally in the different regulations, and expanded in some cases with other objectives aimed at the diffusion and knowledge of the different local musical traditions of the corresponding Autonomous Community.
Particularly lengthy in this chapter, as well as in the others, is the applicable regulation in the Basque Country, which comes to contemplate, among other interesting objectives, that of "coordinating with the rest of the Schools at their territorial levels, of Euskadi, Spain and Europe, in order to maintain contacts that facilitate the exchange of different methodologies, teachers and students, joint activities, organizational and operating models, etc...", thus following the healthy habit of self-criticism and self-assessment of these institutions adopted in the rest of Europe, and thereby giving an excellent example that it would not hurt to imitate regulated education, disoriented in many cases due to a disheartening autism.

2. Ordering of the teachings

Likewise, the guideline set by the MEC is followed by most of the Educational Administrations, with the exception of the Canary Islands, Catalonia and the Basque Country, as will be seen later.
The MEC establishes four areas of action, which must be covered by Music Schools to ensure educational quality in the fulfillment of its objectives, and which will constitute the basic offer of said centers. These areas are the following:
a) Music and movement for children between the ages of 4 and 8.
b) Instrumental practice, without age limit.
c) Musical training complementary to instrumental practice, and
d) Instrumental and vocal ensemble activities.
Against this contrasts the lack of definition of the Catalan regulations, by limiting itself to establishing that Music Schools must contain, at a minimum, a program that includes musical language, instrument and group vocal and instrumental practice. This same criterion is followed by the Canary Islands, although expanded with music and movement for children between the ages of 4 and 8, but only in case that the School teaches Music and Dance simultaneously. On the contrary, the regulations of the Basque Country are shown in this aspect to be excessively regulatory, by establishing that the different teachings offered (singing, symphonic instrumental music, instrumental music with traditional roots, various trends -jazz, rock, pop, electronic music…- and polyphonic instruments) are articulated in four levels of "education and competence" (level 1 or contact -from 4 to 7 years-; level 2 or initiation; level 3 or consolidation; and level 4 or preferred activity), each one of them defined by technical and general objectives that, as far as the first three are concerned, do not present, in essence, great differences with those established in general for the elementary and middle grades of regulated education.

3. Buildings, facilities and equipment

As far as buildings are concerned, all educational Administrations limit themselves to demanding that the hygienic, acoustic, habitability and safety conditions established in the current legislation be fulfilled. Music Schools located in the management area of the MEC must have the necessary facilities and equipment for the development of the teachings imparted, without the regulations defining the minimum size of the teaching spaces, as well as those of management and services.
This liberal treatment of the MEC is only followed by Galicia in what refers to that concept. Catalonia, Andalusia and Valencia establish a minimum of 25m2 for the spaces destined for ensemble instrumental practice, to which Valencia adds the minimum requirement of 15m2 for classrooms corresponding to theoretical teaching.
The Canary Islands, for their part, limit themselves to applying for these purposes what is established in Royal Decree 369/1992, of April 15, which establishes the minimum requirements that centers that provide artistic education must fulfill. The Basque Country, for its part, once again goes a step further by establishing conditions that are as rigorous or even more strict than those determined by said regulation: in the Basque Country, the minimum reiremenst is of either 4 instrumental classrooms of at least 20m2, or 2 classrooms of 20m2 and 3 of 15m2; likewise, a rehearsal room of at least 80m2 will be necessary. As if that were not enough, Music Schools located in the Basque Country must be equipped with a book-sound library and a teacher's room of at least 30 and 20m2, respectively. Finally, 40m2 are necessary for management spaces, secretariate, etc.

4. Ratios and teaching times

The MEC and Galicia establish the following ratios and teaching times for the different training areas:
a) Music and movement: 12/1 at the initiation level (4-6 years), and 15/1 at the basic training level (6-8 years).
b) Instrumental practice: Individual (1/1), maximum 30 minutes/week; In a group: maximum 4/1, and 45 minutes/week.
For the remaining areas, ratios and teaching times are not established, and each School is responsible for its determination and planning.
In the regulations of the Basque Country, so strict with the other aspects, a maximum of 20 and a minimum of 10 students per group is established, in a maximum of 90 minutes/week, for Musical Language classes. Regarding instrument classes, group classes are favored, without the maximum weekly teaching time exceeding 30 minutes per student.
The remaining educational Administrations elude this aspect in their respective regulations, referring their determination to later developments or agreements.

5. Teaching staff

All in all, it is in the chapter on the academic requirements that music school teachers must fulfill that the deepest divergences between the different regulations are appreciated, and, therefore, the greatest comparative grievances between music teaching professionals of the different Autonomous Communities.
Thus, both the MEC and Andalusia, Valencia and Galicia establish that the teaching staff of the Schools of Music must be in possession of the degree corresponding to the intermediate level of music, while Catalonia requires that corresponding to the higher level.
The Basque Country, for its part, has variable requirements according to the different levels of the courses taught: in this way, for levels 2 and 3 (see Section 2. Organization of courses above) it is necessary to be in possession of the Degree of Professor (intermediate grade), at least, of the 1966 plan, or of the Higher Degree established in the LOGSE. Said qualifications, together with the supporting documents of having taken courses or short courses in specialized pedagogy to impart these teachings to children between 4 and 7 years of age, also authorize them to teach level 1, while level 4 requires a higher qualification from the different plans. In a similar line, the Canary Islands require the qualification corresponding to the higher degree of music, and those who are in possession of the qualification corresponding to the intermediate degree (Title of Professor) of the 1966 plan may be qualified as teachers of the initial and elementary levels of the corresponding subjects.
In the case of the MEC, Andalusia, Galicia and Valencia, by not differentiating the study plan referred to in the required intermediate degree title, it is understood that said requirement is applicable, both to the title corresponding to said degree of the 1966 plan (Title of Professor) as well as that of the new Law (Professional Title). Although in the first case this is not particularly important, since the Title of Professor of the 1966 plan is already equivalent to the new Higher Degree -and, therefore, to that of University Graduate-, although only for the purpose of teaching the elementary and middle grades of music (which would require a slight modification of Royal Decree 1542/1994, of July 8, which establishes the equivalences between the Music Degrees prior to the LOGSE and those established in said Law, for its application in Music Schools), this is not the case with the Professional Title of the new regulation, which, lacking teaching effects, would thus be valid for its exercise in Music Schools throughout the national territory, except in Catalonia, the Canary Islands and the Basque Country, thus giving rise to the deep comparative grievance between the professional perspectives of the graduates of the different Autonomous Communities mentioned above.
Therefore, a rapid awareness of the problem and a no less urgent solution to it is necessary, which must necessarily involve equalizing for the entire State the qualification requirements for the exercise of teaching in Music Schools. In this sense, of the different treatments given by the Educational Administrations to this important matter, the most successful seems to be that of the Basque Country, in that it contemplates all the possible situations without leaving any room for ambiguity (since it even regulates the educational validity of diplomas and titles prior to the 1966 plan), and guarantees, through the requirement of higher qualifications or equivalent, the technical quality of the teachings imparted. Provided that, yes indeed, teachers are not exempted from having completed the pedagogical subjects established in the LOGSE for the exercise of teaching, given that a good part of the students of these centers are located in the very delicate range of 4-8 years of age, which requires teachers to have a pedagogical qualification that goes beyond that which is purely related to instrumental technique.
In any case, what must be clear for citizens is that the non-regulated nature of Music Schools does not exempt the quality of their teachings (and, therefore, the pedagogical qualifications of the teachers in charge of teaching them), since this is required by the dual purpose of this type of center: to provide an adequate level of knowledge for the practice without professional perspectives of music, on the one hand, and on the other, to prepare for access to regulated education, in the case of those students in whom the necessary talent and vocation have been detected.

Orders and Decrees consulted

MEC: Order of July 30, 1992 (BOE of August 22, 1992)
Andalusia: Decree 233/1997, of October 7 (BOJA of October 11, 1997)
Canary Islands: Decree 179/1994, of July 29 (BOC of August 26, 1994)
Catalonia: Decree 179/1993, of July 27 (DOGC of August 4, 1993)
Galicia: Order of March 11, 1993 (DOG of April 22, 1993)
Basque Country: Decree 289/1992, of October 27 (BOPV of January 4, 1993)
Valencia: Order of January 4, 1994 (DOGV of January 31, 1994)


Puerto de Mazarrón, August 1999