The ABPU offers integrated bachelor degree courses in which artistic performance and pedagogical studies are closely entwined with each other, so that not only are the boundaries between them porous, but it is also possible to study and graduate in both courses simultaneously. In this way the university is responding to a changing professional situation, which is progressively demanding professional qualifications from one individual in both the artistic and pedagogical fields.
Numerous projects and co-operations introduce the students at a very early stage to the practical challenges of performing and teaching. In the performing field, for example, they can take part in the orchestra academy and there is practical artistic work in the framework of various studios for the performing arts (music theatre, drama and dance). In this way outstanding students can acquire by means of short-term contracts an excellent working knowledge of the professional practices of an orchestra or a theatre, while at the same time obtaining a degree (BA or MA) at the university. In addition, co-operations with music schools, schools, kindergartens and socio-educational institutions give students the opportunity to learn about the wide range of challenges in the teaching profession.
The ABPU offers many courses specific to the principal study of the student in the areas of music, drama and dance. The object of these is a deep and detailed study of the individual artistic discipline. To the university it seems equally important, however, to offer a broader, more comprehensive education which goes beyond the chosen artistic speciality. This emphasis on cross-disciplinary work characterizes not only artistic projects and classes which are specially conceived for students from different institutes (for example, the interdisciplinary module), but is also a leitmotiv for research. Cross-disciplinarity in research is reflected in the composition of the research council, with members from many different institutes, as well as in the institute for the history and theory of music, drama and dance, which embraces all disciplines as part of its conception.
An understanding of the changed – and changing – challenges in the professional worlds of the performer and the teacher lies at the heart of the special profile of the ABPU. To hold one’s own professionally in the cultural landscape of our society requires a range of qualities and qualifications.
The fundamentals are provided by solid technical skills and an artistic education which engages with a wide variety of musical and artistic languages from the past and present, and includes the communication of these languages and ideas. However, above and beyond the concentration on individual disciplines every student is required to engage actively with other artistic disciplines. As a response to the way our cultural life is progressively organized along cross-disciplinary lines, artists and performers need to have knowledge of related disciplines and to keep themselves informed of new developments in these fields. Just as the boundaries between the disciplines are being eroded and in some cases removed, so the boundaries between artistic and pedagogical activities are disappearing with increasing frequency: graduates of the ABPU are artists who work, research and shape the cultural landscape equally in theatres and in pedagogical contexts.
This plethora of demands can be met only by graduates with a view of the wide horizon, who can examine critically not only their own work but also the value and the place of the arts as a whole in our society. Alongside technical and artistic qualifications an important goal of the educational process at the ABPU is thus to promote the critical faculties of its students. This is facilitated by the porous boundaries between the artistic and the pedagogical, between study and professional performance, and between the individual disciplines.