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Academics / M.A. Popular Music / Application

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Each year, approx. 20 new students will be admitted to the Popular Music M.A. programme. The programme always begins in winter semester.

Those who wish to apply to participate in an entrance exam must submit the following application materials by 30 April:

  • Completely filled in application form.
  • Proof of university entrance qualification in the form of a certified copy of your graduation transcript/certificate.
  • Proof of a university degree with a standard period of study of at least 6 semesters in the form of a certified copy of your graduation transcript and diploma or, if the degree has not been completed at the time of application, a current transcript. You may then deliver the graduation transcript at the time of your entrance exam or at the latest by 31 December of the year of enrolment.
  • Upload the corresponding productions. For Performing Artist and Educating Artist, at least one of the titles must also be uploaded as a live video (solo or with band, maximum 200 MB).
  • Additional application materials may be sent, such as other videos, press reports, photos, cover design, sheet music, lyrics, lesson plans (for Educating Artists), etc.
  • CV in tabular form
  • Applicants for singing/ vocal must bring a phoniatric report to the entrance exam!

Additional information for international applicants
  • Proof of required level of German language, at least level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, e.g. DSH exam level 1, must be supplied by the end of the first semester. (This is not necessary for German citizens graduated from German schools, those who have been educated in Germany or those who have a university entrance qualification from a foreign institution with German as the language of instruction.)
  • A valid visa/residence permit must be submitted at the latest by the start of the programme.

General information about applications and entrance exams can be found in our FAQs. Here is some specific information for each department:

Vocal and Songwriting
Entrance exam
Performing Artist: Three songs, your own compositions if possible, must be presented.

Educating Artist: Literature from different styles of popular music. These can be performed with up to three accompanying musicians or a play-along.

Then, improvisational elements will be tested in terms of lyrics and vocal flexibility and quality. A colloquium follows at the end.
Three songs, your own compositions if possible, with music that suits you best. There are no stylistic limitations. We are the first audience that you have to win over with your guitar skills. You must also show that you are curious and open to other styles of music. You also have to be interested in exploring other genres.

Entrance Exam
The entrance exam consists of a live performance of max. 3 songs with a band of max. 3 accompanying musicians (not necessarily the same songs from your application CD) or with playback. Then there is an ad-hoc exam, in which we test your degree of sensitivity to different branches of the music world.

Expected technical prerequisites:
~Rhythm guitar: Knowledge of simple chords (major, minor, Min7, Maj7, Dom7)
~Solo guitar: Pentatonic (in several positions = different fingerings), scales (major in several layers = different fingerings)
~General: Good sound in music (and behaviour), sensitivity, enjoyment of playing, good timing, flexibility and spontaneity
For the application, please send an audio CD and a video. The CD should contain three tracks: one should show audibly the bassline in a band performance, another should be a solo piece and the third is your choice. If you are singing lead or backup vocals, please also note that. The video should be a short live clip (approx. 2-3 minutes long), which can be recorded with a mobile phone camera and should not be edited. The quality of the recording will not be a deciding factor.
Entrance Exam
~Special emphasis is on originality (unique style), timing, groove, sound and technical skills.
~Examining of simple rudiments at the difficulty level of All American Drummer, Ch. Wilcoxon.
~Playbacks can be recordings of your own band without drums or commercially available play-alongs.
Entrance Exam
The practical part of the exam consists of you performing three songs, if possible your own compositions. Optional accompaniment can be done by max. 3 musicians or playback.

Natural musicality is important: enjoyment, timing, style, melodic playing, use of sounds, versatility. Versatility can range from a solo piano performance to playing in a band or with playback, from solo to tasteful accompaniment and from traditional to unusual sounds. A stage piano Korg "SV1" and a Workstation Korg "Kronos" are available. You are welcome to bring your own equipment.

Then you will be invited to play along to spontaneous playbacks, accompanying simple harmonies or soloing. The audition ends with a conversation between the applicant and examining commission.

More information can be found in the preparation tips for keyboard applicants (in German).
You will need to show special skills in the areas of compositing, arrangement and music production, exhibited through audio recordings, video recordings, sheet music and live performance if applicable. You are welcome to show a focus on specific competence fields.

Several years of practical experience in at least one of the above mentioned areas is required. You must have professional knowledge of all areas.
Music Theory and Composition
Entrance Exam
The theoretical entrance exam consists of two sections: a music theory section and an essay.

For the essay, you can choose from three topics, generally from history of popular music, pop culture or music business.

The music theory section contains the following tasks:
  • A melodic-harmonic dictation, e.g. listening to an excerpt from a song and notating the melody and accompanying harmony
  • Questions on the structure of a song, naming the parts of the form and notating the relevant time signature.
  • Two questions about arrangement and music production, describing aspects of arrangement relevant to instrumentation or unusual soundscapes and sound effects
Popular Music Education
For the Popular Music Education department there are no specific requirements for entrance. Please mention your previous pedagogical experience in your application, if you have any.


Student Office
Fon: +49 621 53397200  E-Mail:


  • The Popular Music programme is accredited by the Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute ACQUIN.
  • Students studying at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg are eligible for BAföG funding.
  • The application deadline for the start of the winter semester is April 30. To meet the application deadline, upload April 30 by 11:59pm.
  • The date for the entrance exam is announced on the PM Facts page.
  • The beginning of studies is only possible during the winter semester.
  • Here you can find the regulation of the Ministry of Science, Research and Art concerning the qualification for studying at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg (in German).
  • The admission to the Popakademie requires the acceptance of the valid usage regulations (in German).
  • There are no tuition fees for a consecutive master's programme at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg. For international students and for those pursuing a second course of study, the universities of Baden-Württemberg are obliged to charge tuition fees.