Development plan

Approved by EAMT Council on 18 Mar 2015



The Development Plan is a strategy document that defines the role of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (hereinafter ‘EAMT’ or ‘the Academy’) in society, its vision, key goals, and measures to achieve them until 2020. The Development Plan includes a table of performance indicators with target values for 2020.

The EAMT Development plan is in line with the general development directions of Estonia and the European Union, as well as with the following national strategies and resolutions of the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament):

  • Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2014–2020;
  • Estonian Research and Development and Innovation Strategy 2014–2020 “Knowledge-based Estonia”;
  • General Principles of Cultural Policy until 2020;
  • Decision of the Riigikogu of 5 November 1006 on the Construction of the Estonian Academy of Music, the Art Museum of Estonia, and the Estonian National Museum.

The first strategic objective of the Development Plan is based on the 1996 decision of the Riigikogu regarding the construction of three national cultural objects. The recommendations of experts during external evaluations, the self-analyses of structural units, feedback from students and the results of an employee satisfaction survey were taken into account during the preparation of the Development Plan. The Development Plan has been discussed among the Academy members; it has been endorsed by the EAMT Board of Governors and approved by the EAMT Council.

General principles of action and role in society

On the Estonian university landscape, EAMT is responsible for music and theatre arts. According to the administrative contract with the Ministry of Education and Research, EAMT is responsible for providing musical and theatre education, meeting high standards and corresponding to the needs of society, and for ensuring the quality and development of this education. In addition to high-level specialised studies, the Academy has a regard for broader key competencies of students, aiming to develop its graduates into responsible citizens who are able to take initiatives. The activities of EAMT are based on the constitutional principle that the main purpose of our statehood is to guarantee the preservation of the Estonian people, the Estonian language and the Estonian culture through the ages. As the leading institution of musical and theatre education in Estonia, EAMT plays a crucial role in fulfilling this mission.

With about 700 students, in a European context EAMT is a medium-sized music and theatre university. The range of areas of specialisation and study programmes in EAMT stands up to international comparison, with its study programmes successfully passing the transitional assessment of the Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education from 2009 to 2014. In addition to formal academic education, EAMT also offers in-service training for musicians and music teachers in Estonia. EAMT is the Estonian centre of research in musicology, but its research also covers the fields of music education, theatre and cultural management. Most of the academic staff of EAMT are active creative persons. The students also participate in various creative projects of EAMT, which are sometimes organised in cooperation with professional performing arts institutions.

EAMT has a modern educational environment and its buildings are in a good condition; however, the lack of the Academy’s own concert and theatre hall has been a major problem for a long time. As without such premises the Academy is unable to fully perform its role as an educational and cultural institution, the construction of a performing arts complex remains the first priority of this Development Plan.

EAMT develops cooperation with other universities, professional networks and organisation in Estonia and abroad, supports the mobility of students and academic staff, and is an active participant in the education programmes of the European Union and the Nordic countries. EAMT is a member of the Estonian Music Council, the Estonian Music Development Centre, the European Association of Conservatories and Music Academies (AEC), the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), the Association of Nordic Music Academies (ANMA), the Association of Baltic Academies of Music (ABAM), and the European Network on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Education (ENCATC). EAMT is an active contributor to the development of Estonia’s education and culture policy and considers it important that the work of musicians, actors and stage directors is valued by society. EAMT believes that all levels and fields of music education are important and cooperates, in different formats, with primary and secondary education schools.


The mission of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre is to contribute to the development of a human-centred Estonian society, the spread of a creative mindset and the preservation of the Estonian language and culture through education in the fields of music and theatre and the promotion of creative and research work.


The Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre is a recognised and attractive educational and cultural centre and an exponent of national cultural traditions that actively develops international cooperation and is open to new and interdisciplinary study programmes, creative ideas and research projects.

Strategic objectives and measures to be implemented by 2020

In this Development Plan, EAMT sets five strategic objectives, associated with the improved organisational performance of the Academy, its educational, research and creative activities, and its wider role in society. For each objective, the plan specifies the necessary measures and the steps and actions envisaged to achieve the objective.

  1. EAMT shall build a hall complex next to its current main building to finalise the educational environment of the Academy, raise the quality of education, improve domestic and international cooperation, and increase the visibility and impact of the Academy in society.

The current study building of EAMT was opened in 1999 essentially in a half-finished condition, without larger performance premises, which could not be built due to a lack of funds. The lack of a concert hall and of a study stage for the Drama School is a serious shortcoming in the otherwise modern infrastructure of EAMT, and this should be a matter of the highest priority in the development of the Academy, as was also noted by the foreign experts in the course of the institutional accreditation of EAMT in 2007.


1.1. Resolution of the issue of construction financing and building of the hall complex within a reasonable period of time. Despite EAMT’s explanations about the importance of the hall complex and funding applications over the course of many years, as of the beginning of 2105 no final decision in this regard had been made by the Government of the Republic. EAMT has overseen the completion of a construction design and other preparations for the start of construction work.

The Academy shall:

  • continue to apply for funding through the Ministry of Education and Research to finance the construction;
  • announce a procurement of construction works as soon as possible after the resolution of funding issues.

1.2. Development of the hall complex as a creative environment to raise the quality of music and theatre education in Estonia. Completion of the hall complex will create a set of wholly new opportunities for the development of music and theatre education in Estonia, which should be used to maximise the positive impact for the quality of education.

The Academy shall:

  • establish a new procedure of students’ creative practice after the commissioning of the hall complex;
  • utilise the concert hall for the development of cooperation with Estonian music schools (including the organisation of student competitions in cooperation with the Estonian Association of Music Schools);
  • negotiate the conditions of the shared use of the EAMT concert hall with the Tallinn Music and Ballet School;
  • develop the EAMT theatre hall into a central study stage for all Estonian universities that offer education in performing arts, facilitating joint educational efforts and creative projects.

1.3. Developing the hall complex as a modern incubator of music and theatre entrepreneurship. The EAMT hall complex is envisaged as a space that inspires, supports and facilitates cooperation with and the activities of enterprising young musicians and theatre practitioners in the heart of Tallinn. While the foundations of music performance are largely laid through individual training, the final set of skills of a professional musician, required for effective operation in the world of music, is developed in a creative symbiosis with cultural entrepreneurship. The same applies to performing arts.

The Academy shall:

  • develop EAMT’s concert and performance centre, based on the current concert bureau, which will be responsible for the administration of the hall complex and the exchange of information;
  • offer spin-off businesses in the field of creative industries associated with EAMT, premises, performance and recording opportunities as well as business start up services;
  • support studying through entrepreneurship and the development of a cluster of start-up entrepreneurs among students;
  • include Estonian and foreign creative entrepreneurs in the development of the hall complex, including the organisation of showcases of EAMT’s students;
  • organise joint projects with Estonia’s professional concert organisers and performing arts institutions.
  1. The Academy as an organisation shall function in an efficient manner, with motivated employeesand a modern working environment.

Even though the results of the EAMT employee satisfaction survey in November 2014 were quite positive, it also highlighted a number of problems and bottlenecks which require greater attention and specific changes.


2.1. Improvement of the management of the Academy and the system of development planning and performance assessment. EAMT should become more consistent in applying modern principles of quality management, taking into account the needs and specific characteristics of the organisation.

The Academy shall:

  • analyse the management of EAMT and initiate the drafting of an EAMT Act;
  • implement modern quality management principles in the field of human resources;
  • develop specific action plans for the achievement of established goals and monitor the implementation of the plans;
  • organise employee satisfaction surveys every two years;
  • identify other institutions of higher education for comparison of performance indicators;
  • make greater efforts to involve its alumni in the development of the Academy.

2.2. Improvement of information exchange and academic and social communication between members. While EAMT is a relatively small university, its internal communication is not at a satisfactory level. There are problems with communicating the decisions of the Council and of the Rector’s Office to its members, as well as with information exchange between structural units. In addition to official communications, informal communication between members should be supported as well.

The Academy shall:

  • map and improve the utilisation of the channels of information distribution;
  • analyse and, if necessary, modify the academic structure and establish mechanisms for greater cooperation between academic units;
  • continue the development of its intranet;
  • improve the conditions of interpersonal communication and the free exchange of ideas in the main building.

2.3. Creating a system of employee motivation and development. The development of an open society and international communication raises the expectations on EAMT’s wage conditions, but non-monetary recognition, professional development opportunities and a clear perspective of career development are also important factors for employee motivation. 

The Academy shall:

  • continue its efforts to pay its employees competitive wages and pay more attention to the non-monetary recognition of its members;
  • specify a career model for academic staff members;
  • implement the system of academic staff evaluation, combining it with measures to support the development of the teaching staff;
  • offer professional development opportunities, including opportunities in other countries, to both academic and non-academic staff members.
  1. The students of EAMT shall receive a high-quality and internationally competitive education that meets the requirements of the field-specific labour market.

During the previous development plan period, EAMT developed student-centred and outcome-based teaching methods. A number of study programmes have been merged, practical training procedures have been improved, new subjects presenting the basics of cultural entrepreneurship have been added to study programmes, etc. However, there is a continued need for the analysis of study programmes and the renewal of teaching methods. The same applies to internationalisation, in which the Academy has been relatively successful in the Estonian context, but not in all its fields of action.


3.1. Modernisation of the educational approach. The educational approach covers both study programmes and teaching methods, as well as a general concept of the nature of education and the roles of various parties in the educational process. In order to keep up with the times, EAMT needs more courage in modernising its teaching methods and expanding the use of digital technologies in education. Students should take more responsibility for shaping their studies and for the achievement of learning outcomes.

The Academy shall:

  • establish an interdepartmental consultation group for taking initiative in educational innovation;
  • promote the use of open forms of study, integration between subjects, and learning from each other;
  • develop methods for increasing the transparency and comparability of assessment;
  • step up the implementation of new forms of study to develop students’ initiative, enterprise and teamwork skills.

3.2. Creating a network of performing arts among Estonian universities. The teaching of special subjects associated with the performing arts in Estonia is divided between two cities and four universities. In most cases, the issue is not one of duplication but of teaching closely related subjects at different institutions. As the university responsible for the development of music and theatre education, EAMT should take the initiative to reduce the negative impact of such division on the quality of education and to achieve a significantly higher degree of cooperation between universities. Further integration is also required in theatre and film education.

The Academy shall:

  • develop a specific cooperation model and submit it for discussion to other Estonian universities that offer courses in performing arts and film;
  • develop the necessary material resources and organisational capacity for joint educational stage productions involving several universities.

3.3. Learning from international experience. Even though EAMT’s mobility indicators are quite good, participation in student and staff exchange programmes has not become a generally accepted norm in the Academy. The number of foreign teaching staff with more regular teaching arrangements should be increased as well. The goal is to maximise the number of Academy members who are able to benefit from international communication and international experiences.

The Academy shall:

  • promote the international mobility of students and teaching staff;
  • support students’ participation in international competitions and in international cooperation and research projects;
  • invite foreign top-level musicians, actors, stage directors and prominent teachers, cultural administrators and cultural politicians to contribute to its educational efforts;
  • develop an international learning environment in the Academy, facilitating professional and extracurricular communication between local and foreign students.

3.4. Active cooperation with educational institutions, professional organisations and associations. In order to attract new students and establish better links between education and the future employment of graduates, EAMT needs to engage in close cooperation with music schools, the National Opera, theatres, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Eesti Kontsert, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonian Public Broadcasting and other potential employees, as well as with professional organisations and associations.

The Academy shall:

  • support the maximum availability of high-quality music education;
  • continue cooperation with the Tallinn Secondary School of Music, the Georg Ots Tallinn School of Music and the Heino Eller Tartu School of Music in the field of study programmes, teaching methods, joint examinations and the practical training of students;
  • cooperate with primary, middle and high schools to streamline the organisation of the practical training of students in the field of music teaching;
  • support, using career counselling, the employment of graduates as music teachers and engage in cooperation with the Estonian Association of Music Schools and the Estonian Association of Music Teachers for this purpose;
  • strengthen cooperation contacts with the main employers of its graduates in order to make arrangements for studies and the practical training of its students;
  • increase the productive involvement of the representatives of employers in the development of study programmes.


  1. Research at the Academy shall support educational and creative activities and the preservation and development of the Estonian national culture.

Compared to other research and development institutions, EAMT has a limited volume of research activities. However, the role of research in fulfilling EAMT’s mission should not be underestimated. Providing higher education that meets modern standards would not be possible without the participation of researchers, even in practical creative study fields. Furthermore, EAMT is responsible for making a contribution to research into Estonian culture.


4.1. Maintaining the volume of research at a stable level at least. The changes in the funding of research in recent years have had a negative impact on the research budget of EAMT, which decreased by 15% between 2010 and 2015. Individual researchers and small research teams find it increasingly difficult to raise funds for their projects. In this situation, the main task of EAMT is to ensure the sustainability of its research activities.

The Academy shall:

  • establish a research council for the strategic management of its research activities;
  • prioritise studies of Estonian culture when planning research topics;
  • improve the working conditions of its research staff.

4.2. Increased research cooperation and improved capacity for research and development with practical applications. The researchers of EAMT have established rather good cooperation links with their foreign colleagues, particularly in the Baltic Sea region. However, links with other research fields in humanities and social sciences are relatively weak within Estonia. There are almost no research and development cooperation agreements with public or private institutions, despite the availability of relevant competencies at EAMT.

The Academy shall:

  • continue and develop research cooperation in the Baltic Sea region;
  • seek specific cooperation opportunities with Estonian universities and other research and development institutions;
  • develop, primarily on the basis of the electronic music studio and cultural management study fields, its capacity for applied research and development projects, and offer its competencies to potential partners in the public and private sectors.

4.3. Development of doctoral studies. The efficiency and quality of doctoral studies should remain under particular focus in the Academy. The plan for the development of doctoral studies, which was approved in 2013 by the council, should be implemented, the results achieved should be analysed and any necessary adjustments should be scheduled. The keyword in doctoral studies is cooperation – between different departments of the Academy, within the country, and at international level. It is very important to offer international experiences to doctoral students.

The Academy shall:

  • establish a centre for doctoral studies in order to create a clearer structural framework for doctoral studies;
  • participate in the work of doctoral schools together with other Estonian universities;
  • be an active member of international networks of doctoral studies of music and theatre universities;
  • support the training of doctoral students abroad and participation in international projects.
  1. EMTA shall be an institution with a positive image, contributing to the positive evaluation of creativity and lifelong learning in society.

EAMT sees its wider role in society in the promotion of a creative mindset and creative activities,; this has an indirect impact on the general living environment and on people’s well-being. In order to fulfil this purpose, EAMT should be visible and have a positive image as an institution.


5.1. Organisation of concerts and performances for different target groups. Despite limited opportunities, EAMT organises over 100 concerts every year and creates several stage productions, partly in cooperation with professional theatres. Public performances are a natural and essential element of education for music and theatre students, while they enable the Academy as an institution to fulfil its broader social mission as a contributor to Estonia’s cultural life.

The Academy shall:

  • increase the number of public concerts and performances after completion of its hall complex;
  • devote more attention to creative activities for school students;
  • continue organising the festivals of Autumn Fest for innovative music and Caeciliana for early music.

5.2. Promotion of the activities of the Academy through various channels. The Academy has a generally good reputation in society, but there is a lack of public awareness concerning its goals, development directions and achievements.

The Academy shall:

  • develop a communication strategy;
  • use direct marketing and direct communication with schools to promote concerts and performances;
  • engage its alumni in the development of public relations;
  • develop the necessary media communication skills of its members.

5.3. Active participation in social discussion, particularly on topics concerning cultural life. EAMT members should advocate putting greater value on the social role of music and theatre, on spreading a creative mindset and on raising the musical quality of public spaces. The Academy considers it important for its members to appear in media channels and participate in the work of third-sector professional organisations.

5.4. Providing in-service training for teachers and creative individuals in the fields of music and theatre. As a centre of excellence in music and music education, EAMT should maintain its leading role in planning and organising in-service training in these fields. The teacher training in EAMT is based on the goals and principles established in the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy and on a comprehensive view of music education.

The Academy shall:

  • plan and organise in-service training in cooperation with other educational institutions and professional organisations in the third sector;
  • participate in the in-service cooperation networks of universities;
  • develop new forms of in-service training, including e-training and independent in-service training;