• The ESNCM operates its academic program on the basis of modules. Students must pass specific modules in order to obtain the elementary and intermediate certificates. Students register at the beginning of the academic year for a set of modules, choosing the number and nature of modules on the basis of their own wishes and their overall academic program, in consultation with the academic supervisor.

  • Instrumental tuition is considered the core of the academic program, and the student must register for instrumental lessons as the major module.

  • Registration for musicianship modules is compulsory for regular students over the age of 9 (or 2nd grade at school), so if a student over that age does not register for musicianship he will be considered to be on the amateur program.

  • An amateur student may register for selected group modules, after getting the approval of the subject teacher and the academic supervisor.

  • A student's acceptance into the regular program is by approval of the academic supervisor.


Module Descriptions


Below are module descriptions for the modules offered at the ESNCM, and a table including all the modules and their respective numbers.  


ESNCM Instrumental Course descriptions – exemplified by flute

Preparatory level

This level is designed for young children or those students requiring a stepping-stone before level 1. They learn to produce a sound in the 1st octave and good hand position and posture. Proper breathing technique is introduced at this stage, and the concept of playing in phrases. Pieces are short, focused in the 1st octave and in the basic keys – mainly up to one flat or sharp. Simple articulation is taught: tonguing, staccato and legato are learned as concepts and in practice. Students learn to perform solo and with accompaniment. Note reading and learning by ear are both introduced at this stage, with a flexible approach adopted depending on the age and natural aptitude of the student.

Level 1 (115)
All the concepts introduced in the Preparatory level are of course extended throughout the other 8 levels. Sound production is extended to the overblown 2nd octave in level 1, requiring greater lip and diaphragm control. Intonation is discussed, and students are trained to listen critically to their tuning, especially when playing with accompaniment. Good breathing and extending breath control is emphasized, and playing a whole phrase in a single breath is given great value. Repertoire is similarly extended, in terms of length, register and complexity; mainly it will be still in the basic keys, up to one flat or sharp, but may include more complex keys when appropriate. Scales and arpeggios are introduced at this stage: G Major, F Major and E minor (all 1 octave) are requirements. Simple sight reading exercises are introduced to develop note reading skills.

Level 2 (215)
The second level introduces new notes such as the Re in the third octave, as well as increased chromaticism and new keys. Repertoire and scales are extended to major and minor keys with up to 2 flats and sharps. Pieces show more variety in tempo, with finger speed becoming an important area of work. Basic dynamic control is emphasized (forte and piano). Intonation work is extended, and students are made aware of the differences in intonation in forte and piano, the reasons for the differences, and techniques for correcting intonation during playing as well as initial tuning-up. Sight reading and learning by ear continue to be important themes. Students may begin ensemble playing at this stage, joining beginner groups such as flute choir.

Level 3 (315)
At this stage students are trained in greater use of the third octave, up to Sol on the 4th ledger line, as well as more focus being given to the very low notes (C# and C). Scales and arpeggios are mainly 1 ½ or 2 octaves and are learned up to 3 flats and sharps, along with the introduction of the chromatic scale. Beauty and homogeneity of sound throughout the range is stressed, and in terms of intonation, students are now encouraged to tune their own instrument whenever possible as well as correcting intonation during playing using the lips. Repertoire may be up to one page long, and will be more sophisticated in terms of tempo, dynamics and articulation, including ritardando, accelerando, crescendo, diminuendo, tenuto and mid-range dynamics such as mezzo-piano and mezzo-forte. At this stage students should be of a standard that they can participate in the children’s orchestra and other beginner ensembles.

Level 4 (415)
This is an important stage for flutists, as they begin playing some of the mainstream flute repertoire, for example the Siciliana from Bach’s Sonata in E flat major and other simple baroque sonata movements. Their scales are extended to keys with 3 sharps and flats, as well as 2-octave chromatic scales and the introduction of dominant 7th patterns. A greater level of maturity and discipline in home practice is expected at this stage, and a greater commitment to music. Students at this level can expect the teacher to work less with issues of correct notes and rhythm (as students should be able to work on this more or less independently by this level) and more with matters of stylistic playing, interpretation, tone development etc.

Level 5 (515)
New skills at this level include playing most scales and arpeggios over 2 octaves, the addition of major and minor keys up to four flats and sharps, and the introduction of diminished 7th patterns. Students require significant daily practice at this level, as they need greater finger dexterity for fast playing, especially in the third octave (at least up to A above the 4th ledger line), and their pieces become significantly longer and more challenging. Examples of typical repertoire include the Adagio from Mozart’s flute Quartet in D Major, Faure’s Sicilienne and Mike Mower’s Rockitup study.

Level 6 (615)
At this level the student will be expected to be able to play over almost the entire range of the flute, to create a beautiful sound in all the registers, to tune well without prompting, and to learn how to correct the idiosyncratic intonation problems of the flute over the whole range. Scales and arpeggios are extended to include majors and both harmonic and melodic minors up to six flats and sharps, and all over 2 octaves. Dominant and diminished 7ths increase, as well as chromatics. Typical repertoire at this stage includes the 1st Movement of Vivaldi’s Concerto in F op.10, the Madrigal by Gaubert, and the Allegretto from Godard’s Suite.s

Level 7 (715)
Students at this level will mainly be those for whom music has become a central activity in their lives. They will be relied upon in ensembles such as the ESNCM orchestra and other advanced chamber groups, and may begin to give solo recitals. Repertoire at this level consists of works such as the 1st movement of the Bach G minor Sonata, 2nd Movement of a Mozart Concerto, 2nd movement of the Poulenc Sonata, and 2nd movement of CPE Bach’s Solo Sonata in A minor. All major and minor scales are required, with additional diminished 7th, dominant 7ths and chromatics. A high level of independence and initiative is needed, and tutors will encourage students to develop their own interpretative skills and individual voice to a much greater degree than before.

Level 8 (815)
This is the final level at the ESNCM currently, after which students will be awarded the Intermediate Certificate on completion of the other requirements. While not a guarantee, passing this stage should give the student a high degree of independence in their playing and the opportunity to further their musical studies at a higher level, and subsequently to enter music professionally in many cases. The repertoire taught at this stage includes complete sonatas and concertos, pieces from every professional classical flutist’s repertoire such as the 1st movement from Prokofiev’s sonata, Debussy’s Syrinx, and movements from sonatas by Reinecke, Hindemith, Schubert and Poulenc. The scale list includes 3-octave scales from C, and consolidates all the scales from previous levels, as well as adding whole-tone scales and patterns in thirds. Sight reading at this stage will be at an advanced level, and students will be expected to be performing regularly in solo, chamber music and orchestral settings.


Group playing (levels 1-4)

The course develops the student's skills and musical personality in group playing (Oriental groups ("al-Takht al-Sharqi"), string groups, wind groups, mixed chamber ensembles and orchestra).

Level 1 (251)
This level is designed for students between grades 2-4 in their instrument. The course will emphasize basic techniques in ensemble playing, including: listening to others in the group, learning to follow the leader, learning to follow simple conducted hand signals in 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 time (in the case of orchestral instrument players), learning when to start and stop playing and how to count accurately and listen for entries, listening for correct intonation and correcting intonation problems, discipline within the ensemble, individual and collective responsibility for the musical result. The repertoire used for this level is usually significantly less technically difficult than that which the students play in their solo work, in order that more attention can be paid to issues of ensemble playing. Each part may be played by several players, allowing students to help and support each other.

Level 2 (451)
At this level, students will be between grades 3-5 in their instrument. The course will emphasize intonation; following the leader or conductor; listening within the ensemble; students tuning their own instruments; musical phrasing as an ensemble; dynamics and appropriate sound production; solo parts for individual players, increasing the responsibility on the individual player for the group result. Repertoire will again be somewhat easier technically than the solo work, but will be of a level intended to retain the student’s interest and a sense of challenge.

Level 3 (651)
At this level the student will be between grades 5-7 in their instrument. The course will emphasize a greater degree of technical fluency and flexibility, creating a tight, co-operative and musically pleasing ensemble; basic techniques of leading, the importance of eye-contact with each other (and with the conductor in the case of orchestra); creating different sounds for different moods explored in greater detail than before, and a more sophisticated repertoire with greater variety. More responsibility is expected of individual students.

Level 4 (851)
At this level students will be between grades 7-8 in their instrument. The course will emphasize advanced repertoire; technical fluency in the instrument; good sight reading; increasing independence from tutors; ensembles finding their own voice and style; capacity for arranging music on their own (in the case of oriental groups). 


Chamber Music (levels 1-2)

The course develops the student's skills and musical personality in group playing. The course is intended for piano, guitar, string and woodwind students.

Level 1 (771)

This level is designed for students between grades 4-6 in their instrument. The course will emphasize basic techniques in group playing, including: listening to others in the group, learning to lead and follow the leader, learning when to start and stop playing and how to count rests and listen for entries, awareness of correct intonation, discipline within the group, individual and collective responsibility for the musical result, students tuning their own instruments, musical phrasing as a group, dynamics and appropriate sound production, good sight reading.

Level 2 (871)
At this level the student will be between grades 7-8 in their instrument. The course will emphasize technical fluency and flexibility, creating a tight, co-operative and musically pleasing ensemble, basic techniques of leading, the importance of eye-contact with each other, creating different sounds for different moods explored in greater detail than before, and a more sophisticated repertoire with greater variety. Students are encouraged to rehearse their own groups in addition to their coached lessons, and to find their own voice and style.


Choir (levels 1-2)

The course develops the student's singing skills through the practice of songs from the Arabic classical and folkloric repertoires and/or the practice of western music vocal polyphony.

Level 1 (161)

This is intended for students between Grades 2-4 in their instrument. In this level students will focus on the good use of their voice (the ability to sing in pitch), developing a good sense of rhythm and tempo through singing, practicing the major and minor scales and the basic modes of Arabic music. The focus is on the folkloric repertoire and the simple genres of classical Arabic music.

Level 2 (261)
This is intended for students starting from Grade 5 in their instrument. In this level students will focus on the main genres in Arabic classical music (Dawr, Qasida, Muwashah, Taqtuqa) and /or will focus on repertoire of western vocal polyphonic music.


Introduction into Harmony (634)

The course is intended to students of Western instruments starting from Grade 5. It presents the basic tonal and functional harmony of Western music in theory and practice. The general theoretical outline of the course is as follows:

Scale material, intervals, triads, inversions, harmonic progressions in the major and minor modes, cadences, modulations and special characteristics featuring the six-fourth chord and the dominant seventh chord; perfect consonance, imperfect consonance and dissonance; rules for good voice leading (moving step by step, a mixture of similar, oblique and contrary motion, occasional melodic leaps followed by a step in the opposite direction, avoiding leaps of major of 6th, 7th or augmented intervals, harmoni6c rules of parallel fifths and octaves, hidden fifths and octaves, avoiding sequences or motifs).


Introduction to Arabic Music History (742)

The course is intended for students of oriental instruments starting from Grade 5. It presents the development of music and music theory corresponding to the different processes of change in Arabic urban socities, focusing on the cultural area of Greater Syria and Egypt starting from the second half of the 19th century until the second half of the 20th century. The course will emphasize the development of the vocal and musical genres, the main composers and performers, their styles and their effect on the overall musical vision of the time, as well as the main theoretical treatises of the 19th and 20th centuries.


Introduction to Oriental Music (532)

The Course is intended for students of Western instruments starting from Grade 5. It presents basic knowledge of Arabic music culture theoretically and practically focusing on the cultural areas of Greater Syria and Egypt. The students will gain a basic knowledge of the Arabic modal system, the prevalent instrumental and vocal genres, Arabic rhythms and their functions in given pieces, the main composers and their styles, the main performers, the main Arabic instruments, and an introduction to the Turkish and Persian musical cultures.


Introduction to Western music history (541)
The course is intended for students of all instruments starting form Grade 5. It presents the origins and development of Western music theoretically and aurally from the time of the ancient Greeks until the 20th century. Students are trained to identify music from the different historical periods and styles by ear and by study of written scores. The course introduces the development of the different genres and the knowledge of the main composers of the Western music repertoire. The outline of the course is as follows:

Early beginnings (Music in ancient Greece, Roman times, and Hebrew music) music in the Middle Ages (500-1450), music in the Renaissance (1430-1600), the Baroque period (1600-1750), Classical period (1750-1825), the Romantic period (1825-1900), impressionism (1890-1925) and the 20th century.


Maqam (levels 1-2)

The course presents the theory and practice of the Arabic and Turkish modal system. The course emphasizes the function of the modal system in the different vocal and instrumental genres and the knowledge of the modal system in regards of playing and improvising on the instrument. The course also aims to develop the singing and aural skills of the student.

Level 1 (433)

The module is intended for students of oriental instruments between Grades 2-4. in this level students will gain basic knowledge of the maqam theory (the concept of 24 quarter tones, intervals, the basic tetra-chords, the concept of scale, tonal sequences, the basic modes (maqamat), the different attitudes to key signature, transposition, ability to identify the basic modes by ear and by study of written music, the function of the basic modes in simple vocal and instrumental genres.

Level 2 (833)
The module is intended for students of oriental instruments from Grades 5. In this level students will gain knowledge of a wide variety of modes extended from the basic families and used in practice, a view of the main theory treaties of the Arabic and Turkish modal systems and the overlapping between the two systems, more features of the unfolding of modes (melodic progression, ambitus, alternative tetra-chords, texture, the concept of "modulation"…), the function of the modal system in the main vocal and instrumental genres, the ability to improvise in the different modes, basic knowledge of composition in the classical instrumental genres.


Piano Literature (681)

The course is designed for piano students working towards the intermediate certificate. It presents the major styles of western classical music in a historical context ranging from Baroque to Jazz, offering a guideline for an appreciation of piano music repertoire in particular. It includes listening and analysis of great piano performances; student performance and live concert attendance. Biographical background and stylistic characteristics of the great piano composers enhances the students understanding and performance of their works. 


Musicianship (Levels 1-5)

These modules emphasize the development of rhythmic, singing, and aural skills, while stimulating the growth of the student's musicality. The method book used in the course was developed in the ESNCM and is grounded in Western classical music, but in combination with the Palestinian student's own heritage. For example we emphasize the use of traditional and popular melodies in the exercises; the use of Arabic words in connection with certain rhythmic formulas, and an introduction to the Arabic modal system. The theoretical outline for the different levels is as follows:

Level 1 (131)
Introduction into staff, pitch and rhythm; Do Major scale, Sol and Fa keys, introduction to the keyboard, half and whole steps, sharps and flats, tempo (Lento, Adagio, Andante, Moderato, Allegretto, Allegro, Presto), dynamics (fortissimo, forte, mezzo forte, piano, pianissimo), articulation (legato and staccato).

Level 2 (231)
Re, Fa and Sol major scales, melodic and harmonic intervals (major and minor second, perfect first and eighth), dissonance and consonance, key signature, repeats (repeat brackets, D. C. and D. S. al Fine).

Level 3 (331)
La minor scale, Si Flat major scale, natural, harmonic and melodic scales (Re and Mi minor), major and minor third intervals, perfect fourth and fifth intervals, ritardando and diminuendo, 8va and arpeggio, portato and tenuto.

Level 4 (431)
Conducting patterns, accent in meter, ornaments (grace note, turn, mordent, trill), major and minor sixths and sevenths intervals, interval inversions, chromatic and diatonic semitones, enharmonic tones, double flats and sharps, augmented and diminished intervals, enharmonic intervals, chromatic scales, basic introduction to Maqam (Arabic Modal system), half Flat and half Sharp, key signature in Maqams (Arabic Modes), Bayat, Hijaz, Rast, Ajam and Nahawand modes.

Level 5 (531)
Major and minor scale, circle of fifths, transposition, compound intervals, major and minor triads and their inversions, augmented and diminished triads, key, scale degrees, melodic and harmonic functions, cadences (perfect, plagal, imperfect, interrupted), chromatic tones, modulation, musical texture, musical form (AAB, AB, ABA, theme and variation), Kurd, Saba and Sikah modes.


ESNCM modules
Module nameNumberModule NameNumber
Piano101 - 201 ... 801Baritone Horn125 - 225 ... 825
Guitar102 - 202 ... 802Choir 1161
Oud103 - 203 ... 803Choir 2261
Buzuq104 - 204 ... 804Choir 3561
Qanoun105 - 205 ... 805Choir 4661
Nai106 - 206 ... 806Group Percussion 1162
Oriental violin107 - 207 ... 807Group Percussion 2562
Percussion108 - 208 ... 808Theory and Solfege131 - 531
Oriental Voice109 - 209 ... 809Introduction to Oriental Music532
Classical Voice110 - 210 ... 810Maqam 1433
Violin111 - 211 ... 811Maqam 2833
Viola112 - 212 ... 812Introduction to Harmony634
Violincello113 - 213 ... 813Introduction to Counterpoint734
Contrabass114 - 214 ... 814Introduction to Classical Music History541
Flute115 - 215 ... 815Introduction to Arabic Music History742
Clarinet116 - 216 ... 816Piano Literature 681
Saxophone117 - 217 ... 817Group Playing 1251
Oboe118 - 218 ... 818Group Playing 2451
Bassoon119 - 219 ... 819Group Playing 3651
Trumpet120 - 220 ... 820Group Playing 4851
Trombone121 - 221 ... 821Chamber Music 1771
French Horn122 - 222 ... 822Chamber Music 2871
Tenor Horn123 - 223 ... 823  
Tuba124 - 224 ... 824