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Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music Search

Prin­cip­al instru­ment I

  • Year of study: First and second year of study
  • Final assessment: Final Recital
  • Prerequisites: Admission to Bachelor in music performance
  • Language of instruction: English

Course description

This course is for string students.

The course takes place over the first four semesters of the study programme and focuses on self-development as a performer and repertoire study in different genres with particular attention paid to the characteristics of selected genres. Developing the student’s technical skills with focus on practice techniques and practising how to perform repertoire alone and together with others are key aspects of the course.

The course is followed by Principal instrument II (UTHO24).

Learning objectives

On completion of this course, the student is expected to

  • have the instrumental skills needed to realise musical intentions
  • demonstrate an understanding of styles, artistic expression and creativity
  • be able to perform music in different settings and introduce it to an audience
  • have acquired a repertoire that covers different genres and traditions
  • be able to work conscientiously alone and together with others
  • master appropriate techniques for learning and practising repertoire


The works should be carefully chosen to enable the student to build a repertoire that is as broad as possible based on their technical skill and interests. Much of the course will be spent learning new repertoire and maintaining and developing existing repertoire. Norwegian, Nordic and contemporary music should all be represented. Some of the repertoire studied in Chamber Music could form part of the combined principal instrument repertoire for the final recital. The student is expected to develop independence and evaluation skills when interpreting repertoire.

Most of the course is dedicated to:

Principal instrument study

  • Learning repertoire
  • Technical exercises
  • Interpretation and presentation
  • Practice and interpretation techniques
  • Studying audio materials / recordings and literature. The student should choose the materials themselves under the guidance of their teacher

Rehearsal and accompaniment

  • Learning repertoire and rehearsing with an accompanist
  • Guidance on repertoire, including challenges relating to interpretation, ensemble play and the musical aspects of the work

Forum and interpretation

  • Historically informed performance, instrument and repertoire studies
  • Training in assessing and commenting verbally on own performances and those of others
  • Training in audience communication, both musical and verbal
  • Awareness of what makes a good performance
  • Ensemble performance / sectionals
  • Audition training

Orchestra and chamber orchestra

  • Learning and performing orchestra / chamber orchestra repertoire in the most common musical styles for orchestra / chamber orchestra and other large ensembles from the 17th century up to the modern day


A variety of working methods and set-ups will be used. Key are the student’s independent practice and study of materials (recordings, literature etc.) linked to the practice process. A number of concert and performance opportunities will be provided.

Principal instrument

  • Weekly one-to-one tuition and classes with principal instrument teacher.

Rehearsal and accompaniment

  • Individual sessions with an accompanist.
  • Performing repertoire with an accompanist in principal instrument lessons, in forum and interpretation, classes, concerts and exams.

Forum and interpretation

  • Weekly lessons and/or projects/workshops in instrument-based groups (strings, woodwind, brass etc.).
  • Taught by multiple NMH teachers or by guest teachers.

Orchestra and chamber orchestra

  • Project weeks culminating in a concert / concerts.
  • At the start of each academic year a schedule will be issued detailing repertoire, seminars and rehearsal times, concerts, sectional coaches and conductors.
  • A final rehearsal schedule and orchestra lists detailing each student’s participation will be published no later than three weeks before the project begins.

Students are automatically enrolled for the course and exam in accordance with the progression described in the individual education plan.

For a summary of expected progression, teaching hours and structure, please see the “Structure” section of the relevant programme of study.

Course requirements

1. Mandatory participation in forum and interpretation

  • Active participation is expected.

Attendance is monitored by the co-ordinator / course tutor.

2. Mandatory participation in orchestra and chamber orchestra

  • Mandatory and active participation as described in the orchestra lists, rehearsal schedules and the prevailing guidelines issued by the orchestra committee.
  • Participation in at least one chamber music project every academic year (applies to strings and to wind players when the repertoire requires it).

3. Mandatory participation in at least one concert in the first two years

  • The concerts should be organised by the NMH unless otherwise agreed.

4. Submit principal instrument report signed by principal instrument teacher, to include

  • exam programme of 30 minutes’ duration (maximum 35 minutes)
  • summary of repertoire studied of at least 75 minutes’ duration
  • summary of participation in concerts and seminars
  • summary of supporting literature studied

Deadline: The report should be digitally submitted to the examinations office by 15 April in the fourth semester of the course at eksamen

Final assessment

All course requirements must be met before the student can be given a final assessment.

The assessment is based on the learning objectives for the course. The final assessment is graded and is determined on the basis of a final recital at the end of Year 2. The assessment is carried out by least two internal examiners. The examination committee should make a verbal statement on the student’s final recital.

Final recital

The final recital is usually held on the academy’s premises. The student and their principal instrument teacher should decide on the concert programme. In the event of a disagreement over the programme, the principal instrument teacher has the final say.

Duration: Approx. 30 minutes (maximum 35 minutes).

In the case of re-assessment, the same procedures apply.

Study component

Published: Apr 3, 2020 — Last updated: Aug 16, 2023