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Young Music Talents in Europe

YMTE is a membership association for specialised schools and organisations within pre-college music education that provide high level musical training to a level appropriate for entrance into higher music education – if a pupil so should choose.

Pre-college music education is essential for musical life in Europe and with well-functioning pre-college programmes everybody wins. From the student’s point of view, these programmes ensure provision of the right support to enable them to reach their potential.
From the perspective og higher music education, these programmes will ensure good candidates, and in the professional life, these pre-college programmes will provide more high calibre candidates for orchestras, ensembles and other professional opportunities.
The levels are all linked with a joint responsibility, hence why YMTE is working closely with the European association for higher music education – AEC (

Music cannot be measured other than by quality, and the standards should be high. All professional artists spend a considerable amount of time to reach their level, so time is essential. The feedback we are getting is that our young students are stretched for time, so this lack of sufficient time will become a disadvantage.

The solution is to create a better balance of musical and academic education with the flexibility to accommodate the needs of all young music students. Good environments are also essential and the ability to reach out to other role models in higher education and the profession, to see examples of what students strive to achieve. More competences than just instrumental skills are also crucial, and an acknowledgement that the music profession is evolving. The skills should be developed for what is needed in society.

The golden years of development are before higher music education!

YMTE´s objectives

The object of YMTE is to support young talents under the age of 18/19.
YMTE aims to achieve its object by, for example:

  • emphasizing the importance of a combined curriculum that includes both music and academic studies related to the preparation of students for professional studies in the future.

  • to form a collaborative network to improve and develop the curriculum in both music and academic studies, with the emphasis on quality standards for excellent music performance and relevance.

  • the exchange and development of expertise.

  • encouraging and supporting exchange programs for students, staff, and teachers.

YMTE´s work: developing through mapping, exploring and research.

An important task for YMTE is to map and explore the different pre-college schools and systems in Europe. The pre-college system is diverse, and we strive to find ways of describing and unifying qualities and criteria that, through curricula and activities, will highlight and emphasize the result: young musicians of an extraordinary level as candidates to higher music education.

YMTE and AEC have formed a workgroup and through this collaboration we gain access to an important arena for higher music education. In 2022 YMTE took part at the AEC annual congress in Lyon, where the joint work group presented their work in a session called “Pre-College studies as pathway to Higher Music Education”. YMTE also took part in the AEC annual congress in The Hague in November 2023, where the finalisation of a questionnaire for all pre-college and higher music education institutions was presented. This questionnaire is being distributed in 2024.

YMTE hosted a webinar in 2022 together with MusiQuE. The organisation MusiQuE works internationally to uphold and advance the quality of music education and provide external evaluation and quality enhancement services. The webinar for YMTE is available here:

YMTE will work together with MusiQuE to further develop quality standards and criteria for pre-college, that are being used for evaluation of pre-college schools. Not only does YMTE share some of the goals and principles of MusiQuE, but we also believe that each one of our members can benefit through the external evaluation and quality enhancement services that MusiQuE provides. The reports from these reviews can be used nationally and internationally to strengthen the formal position of the pre-college sector that we represent.

The pressure on young people is high. On the one hand, the young musician needs to put in a lot of study hours; on the other hand, an excellent academic education is important. In practice, this results in students’ lack of time, stress, overwork, injuries, and sometimes even burnout-like complaints. The role of parents is also important in this. They often place strong emphasis on academic training. A course that focuses on a progression to Higher Music Education is seen by a lot of parents as a risky choice that can only be tolerated provided the academic formation is also good enough for a plan B (i.e., another study) This means that there are 3 forces exerting pressure on the student: parents, government, musical studies.

We see that in some schools, students are happier and more successful than in others. How can this be? It is therefore very important to conduct research into a healthy workload (balance) that focuses on the well-being of the learner. After all, a pupil who feels well performs better.
YMTE wants to contribute towards research in finding the best way to achieve this – a guide to creating an ideal learning environment for the music learner. This includes curriculum, guidance system, pedagogical climate, etc. The result will lead to fewer dropouts and a better progression to Higher Music Education.

Through our work, YMTE wants to help influence national and European authorities to acknowledge the importance of well- functioning pre-college programmes, and that the quality level of these programmes defines the quality level of the graduates from higher music education.

As a collaborative body of specialist music schools and organisations, YMTE is committed to identifying, nurturing and coaching outstanding young musicians throughout Europe.  We share our expertise, experience, knowledge and resources to ensure that we can offer our students the very best pre-conservatoire provision in a challenging, inspiring and supportive environment. Our aim is to train exceptional, versatile and resourceful musicians for a career on the concert platform or as highly skilled practitioners in other vocational fields within in the arts.

Being a member of YMTE

By joining YMTE you will support – and be part of – our mission for pre-college music education.
You will:

  • gain access to exchange opportunities for students, teachers and staff.

  • gain access to fellow education environments, systems and curricula.

  • be invited to an annual conference about pre-college music education, and other conferences, webinars etc.

  • be able to influence on European quality standards and criteria for pre-college.

  • meet people with the same dedication and motivation as yourself!

Becoming a member of YMTE


Members of YMTE can be any pre-college music institution engaged in the delivery of music programmes designed to lead to studies at higher education level.

The annual fee for becoming a Member of YMTE is 300EUR.


YMTE Membership application

Please fill in the application form below with information about your school/institution to apply.

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