The Conservatoire offers Bachelors and Masters courses in harpsichord within the department of Early Music. The course follows the structure of a Bachelors course lasing three years, and a Masters which lasts two years.
For around three centuries, the harpsichord, as a solo and continuo instrument, was favoured by composers and choir conductors, and found itself at the centre of the Western music world. This resulted in an immense repertoire and a variety of instrument practices. The work of the harpsichord class at the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles aims to explore and practice these different aspects :
A specific course in basso continuo, alongside the numerous activities of the Early music department, give students the chance to develop and progress thanks to regular work, playing together and practising playing continuo, alongside learning the basic skills of choral direction.
There is a particular focus on keyboard technique, which is the most common obstacle to achieving good musical results on the instrument, requiring as it does virtuosity but also a controlled touch, control of the sound, range of sounds, and the voice of the instrument.
The introduction to improvisation also allows students to gain a better knowledge of the repertoire. This skill is incorporated into seminars on offer throughout the year, and these also offer the chance for students to explore other specific parts of repertoire.
The class is given in the form of a masterclass and all students are invited to be present. Nonetheless, students at Masters level will be expected to reach a higher level, in line with their growing independence and technical fluency which is higher than that of students at Bachelor level.