Although music is critically important in European and American culture and education, and although the music profession has always been a subject area with a strong international dimension, contacts between music institutions in Europe and the United States have been limited in number and highly informal. A clear need has been identified on both sides of the Atlantic to conduct an analysis and then to compile and disseminate information in two related areas: (1) advancing and improving joint cooperation projects between European and American music institutions, and (2) considering common issues of curriculum and quality assessment and enhancement, with particular attention to their impact on student mobility. A joint consortium of five institutions for professional music training, together with two international associations of music institutions–European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and NASM–formed a Working Group to take on the challenge of answering this need and started the “Music Study, Mobility and Accountability (MSMA) Project” in 2001.

Between 2002 and 2004, the European-American Working Group explored issues regarding student and faculty exchanges, curricula, and evaluation criteria and procedures. Funding was provided by the project partners and by the European Commission and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education of the United States Department of Education.

The European Commission has given a unique “Best Practices” designation to the MSMA project.

In the course of the project, the partners addressed the following issues and subjects:

  • Transatlantic cooperation between music institutions
  • Transatlantic student and teacher exchanges between music institutions
  • Joint curriculum development and joint intensive programmes
  • Quality assurance and quality enhancement approaches in music institutions

The information produced in this project has been assembled in a number of publications which can all be downloaded from this portion of the NASM website.


  1. Language.  The texts of project documents use British English except when the entire content is a direct quote from an American publication, or addresses American practices or issues.
  2. Printable Documents.  Documents have been uploaded to this website as Adobe Acrobat PDF files. You will need to have or install Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print these documents.

Introductory Paper

This short introductory paper contains a reflection on the objectives of the project, as well as conclusions drawn from the research and activities.

Project Recommendations

Professional music education and training institutions in Europe and the United States share a large body of interests and work. This provides a strong reference point for comprehending, understanding, and enjoying differences. The paper below, “Music as a Major Vehicle for Cultural Understanding Between the European Union and the United States and Project Recommendations,” explores the common heritage as well as the great diversity in the context of professional music training.


The member institutions of the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) provided, through their daily work, the reason for this project. They participated in its creation for their mutual benefit and that of their students and faculties.

Project partners, including coordinating institutions in both the EU and the US and their representatives to the MSMA project were:

  • The Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester (US coordinating institution)
    James Undercofler (US project leader)
  • The Moores School of Music, University of Houston — David Tomatz (US)
  • The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) www.arts-accredit.org — Samuel Hope (US)
  • The North Netherlands Conservatoire, Hanze University for Professional Education in Groningen
    (EU coordinating institution)
    — Rineke Smilde (EU project leader)
  • The Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University — Johannes Johansson (EU)
  • The Royal College of Music in London — Janet Ritterman (EU)
  • The Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC) www.aecinfo.org — Martin Prchal and Janneke Vrijland (EU)

Project funding was provided by the partners and externally by the European Commission and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE-US) of the US Department of Education, which made a grant of $76,100 to support the project, 45% of the total US funding with the remaining coming from non-governmental sources.

The project partners acknowledge with gratitude the research, text, and web development support provided by Janneke Vrijland of AEC in the EU; and Sheila Barrows, Cameron Hooson, and Willa Shaffer of NASM in the US.

Contact (NASM)

Karen P. Moynahan
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA  20190-5248
Tel.:  +1.7034370700 (Ext. 116)
Fax:  +1.7034376312
Email:  kmoynahan@arts-accredit.org

Contact (AEC)

Janneke Vrijland
PO Box 805
NL-3500 AV Utrecht
The Netherlands
Tel:  +31.302361242
Fax:  +31.302361290
Email:  aecinfo@aecinfo.org