MUSA – European young MUsicians soft Skills Alliance is a European vocational training project for young string quartets. It aims to provide them with entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and competences that are usually missing in their curriculum although fundamental for their professional career.

MUSA is addressed to young professional string quartets specialized in the classical chamber music repertoire and composed by musicians between 20 and 35 years old who regularly work together. 

The project also includes the following associated partners, that have expressed their interest and support for the initiative: Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane, Borletti-Buitoni Trust, Câmara Municipal de Mafra, Centro di Musicologia Walter Stauffer, Europa Nostra, European Chamber Music Teachers Association, European Historic Houses, Fondazione Cariplo, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Fondazione Monzino, Fondo Ambiente Italiano, Fundação EDP | MAAT, Palácio Nacional de Mafra, Philharmonie de Paris, Si-Yo Music Society Foundation, String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, UK Historic Houses.

MUSA started in October 2020 and lasts for 25 months. It is composed of four main activities:

  1. A Short-Term Joint Staff Training Event dedicated to trainers, teachers and experts from the partner organizations during which a methodological framework on the training pathways, learning outcomes and evaluation will be defined (C1);
  2. The translation of the methodological framework into operational Guidelines (IO1) replicable at European level;
  3. The pilot application of the Guidelines with activities dedicated to the musicians:
    a) innovative high-level training pathways on entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and competences in Italy, Portugal and France (IO2, IO3, IO4);
    b) transnational training activities taking place at the same time as the training sessions in the form of artistic residencies as non-formal learning (C2, C3, C4);
    c) multiplier events that help disseminating the results of the project.
  4. The final evaluation of the pilot application, carried out in collaboration with ASK Research Center of Bocconi University, through a Manual for High-Level Training Programs in Cultural Entrepreneurship for Young Musicians (IO5) and a Research on the Educational and Social Value of Cultural Heritage as Economic and Employment Growth: the MUSA case study (IO6).

The pilot application develops through three main European stages, that are composed of
artistic residencies and workshops:

Milan & Bergamo (Italy), September 2021 |
The string quartet image strategy

Innovative training course in the music sector in Italy: 
4-Bows drive, the string Quartet image strategy in collaboration with IED – European Institute of Design.

The workshop, held at IED Campus and in Historic Houses in the province of Bergamo, focuses on:
Image Strategy & Styling: key considerations for enhancing the personal presentation of professional musicians and creating a memorable image identity through colour and style
Digital Storytelling & Communication: an introduction to the social media landscape and how to create and curate engaging content.
Photography: the fundamentals of photography, including mobile photography and posing for pictures.
The workshop aims at improving the understanding and the skill-set of the string quartet in regards to their public image.  At the end of the programme the musicians will receive professional photo/ video materials and style guidelines.

During the week of activities, the musicians are hosted in residency and perform concerts in Historic Houses part of the network of Dimore Storiche Bergamo.

Lisbon & Mafra (Portugal), October 2021 | Cross-fertilization among the arts

Innovative training course in the music sector in Portugal: Cross-fertilization among the arts with experimentadesign

The workshop focuses on:
Understanding of Space The relationship between sound and space with architecture: thinking of space as a non-visible and abstract platform, a territory for communication
Light Design and Public Performances
Product design and the creation of musical instruments, combining the knowledge of instrument makers with the vision of product designers
Interconnections between classical music and contemporary art
Graphic Design and Communication working with graphic designers to create the leaflet for the final public event
Sound Design, new sound applications and possibilities through cinema, theatre, performance and art

These activities are conducted by designers, graphic designers, contemporary artists, architects and professionals in the field of scenography.

The residency, workshop and concerts take place at the National Palace of Mafra and MAAT museum in Lisbon.

Villefavard (France), May 2022 |
Recording & Market Distribution

Innovative training course in the music sector in France: Recording & Market Distribution in collaboration con ProQuartet-CEMC and La Ferme de Villefavard en Limousin.

The activities in France concern topics such as:
Recording of a piece of music, with the aim to give quartets the tools to communicate and introduce themselves to agents, concert hall directors and competition juries; the musicians will learn how to adapt the choice of the repertoire and the interpretation to the context, and to understand the technical issues for a high-quality recording
Market Distribution and Copyright Regulatory Market related to labels, innovative multimedias, and European regulatory frameworks of copyright, legal concepts on copyright and intellectual property
Mental and Physical Preparation how to deal with stress, how to get individual and collective motivation, discipline and positive thinking, how to better protect oneself against physical injuries
These activities involve an artistic consultant, a sound engineer, a record label representative, an administrative consultant and a coach for physical and mental training.

The residency, workshop and concerts take place at La Ferme de Villefavard en Limousin.

The journey of MUSA ends in October 2022 in the heart of Europe, Brussels,
with a big event in a symbolic place of the city

MUSA final event aims at disseminating the project results in the wider European context and lasts two days. Testimonies of musicians and representatives of the involved institutions play a central role in retracing all the MUSA steps over Europe and the achieved results.

On this occasion, ASK Research Centre of Università Bocconi presents a Handbook for Higher Training Programs in Cultural Entrepreneurship for Young Musicians and a Research on the Educational and Social Values of the European Cultural Heritage, realized over the 25 months of the project implementation. These two fundamental outputs contribute to make MUSA’s results sustainable and transferable over time on a large scale.

The event concludes with a round table aimed at presenting policy proposals capable of connecting music education, cultural heritage, and circular economy models. This is the first act of a lobbying action at European level that will be pursued in the following months with the scope to enhance, transfer and support the MUSA project.


The achievements of MUSA – European young Musicians soft Skills Alliance are recounted at the project’s official presentation in Brussels.
Thanks to Sneška Quaedvlieg- Mihailović, Paola Dubini, Yasmin Hilberdink, Xavier Pelgrims de Bigard, Leon Lock and Igor Zanti for their valuable contribution.

MUSA involves the participation of 9 international string quartets, selected by all the partners and hosted in residency in historic houses and other places of relevant cultural interest. String quartets, in fact, need to spend as much time together as they can in order to become a single instrument made of sixteen strings, both technically speaking and on the point of view of the development of transversal competences and skills. For this reason, the artistic residency represents a source of inspiration for the development of the quartets’ identity and competences.

MUSA has the final objective of enabling young musicians to improve their career prospects, providing the organizations involved in this sector with a new training offer, strengthening the relationship between the music and the cultural heritage sectors with the perspective of enhancing the European culture to achieve a socio-economic development. 

Discover more about the project by downloading the official brochure 


Le Dimore del Quartetto S.r.l. Impresa Sociale
Via Carlo Torre, 28, 20143 Milan – Italy
+39 02 36753026 

KA2 Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
KA202 – Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training
“MUSA – European young MUsicians soft Skills Alliance”
Grant Agreement N. 2020-1-IT01-KA202-008397

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.