The purpose of the Conservatory is to provide professional music education at State school level. Its primary objective is to offer instruction for the formation of composers, singers and instrumentalists as well as music teachers. It also conducts research activities (conventions, publications, etc.) and artistic production (concerts, musical events, etc.). It is a stage of the Alta Formazione Artistica e Musicale (Higher Education in Music and Arts) system, one of the branches of the Italian higher education system, that starts after the Italian secondary school cycle (senior highschool). The Italian higher education system, also known as “Third Cycle”, comprehends two main subsystems: university education, available in universities, polytechnic institutes and university institutes, and higher education in music and arts, obtained from conservatories and academies.
The Higher Education in Music and Arts in Italy is an extremely lively sector, enlivened by a reformation law (No. 508 of 21 December 1999) that is promoting a specific institutional and teaching system reorganization. This sector is subdivided into Conservatories of music, Fine arts academies, the National drama academy, the National dance academy and the Superior institutes for artistic industries. Their task is to promote professional and highly specialised education in the fields of music, visual arts, theatre, dance and design. Its students number about seventy thousand (source: MIUR 2004-2005), of which 65% represented by those attending the conservatories and officially recognized music institutes.
The system is extremely productive. Perhaps because of the various screening elements, that ensure that the students that advance are only the highly motivated ones and after passing various examination levels, it can be said that hardly any of these lack interest in their studies. This is an historical feature of the system, that prevails in the new phase too, oriented towards different teaching structures and inspired by the university model. The general situation shows a 30% increase in enrolments. In Italy there are now over 2000 new courses, based on the European model of higher education, aimed at helping students focus on new forms of creativity, on new professions and on the world of employment.
The new system is now oriented towards the multi-teacher module, and bases its courses on a constellation of subjects that are evaluated with study time and credits system. First level academic diplomas are now given after a three-year curriculum for a total of 180 credits, to which another two years can be added, for a total of 120 credits, in order to obtain a second level academic diploma. This constitutes the so-called 3+2 model that derives from university curricula. Post-diploma education consists of masters, specialization courses and research training courses.
The education credit is a measure of the study time required for a student to reach specific educational goals: the more difficult courses – and relating examinations – when successfully completed, provide the student with a higher number of credits. The credits system is flanked by the examination marking system, expressed in 30ths, as well as the final grade, expressed in 110ths, for obtaining first and second level academic diplomas.
The “F.A. Bonporti” Conservatory of music of Trento has planned first and second level academic courses, and master degrees.