Born in Arnhem, in 1955, where he attended the Katholiek Gelders Lyceum. Contiguously he studied musicology at the University of Utrecht and took his Master’s degree cum laude in 1982. Six years later he obtained his Doctorate cum laude with the interdisciplinary study The Harp in the Middle Ages: The Symbolism of a Musical Instrument. Dr. Van Schaik was Assistant Lecturer in Ancient and Medieval Music History at the Department of Musicology of the University of Utrecht from 1981-1987. After he was given the venia legendi, Latin for "permission for lecturing", he was Assistant Professor of Ancient and Medieval Music History from 1988 till 1993. In 1990 he completed the study Advanced Management & Communication as well. As a Program Director for the Netherlands he was detailed to the ERASMUS Inter-University Cooperation Program in Music and Musicology during the years 1988-1992. From 1996 till 2001 he worked as a part time Senior Consultant in Speech Management at the Town Hall of Utrecht. In 1996 he became Senior Research Fellow in Ancient Music and Chair of the Dutch Study Group on Music Archaeology, and Dutch coordinator of RILM (Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale in New York). From 1999 on he is also Chief Editor of the series Focus of the Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis (KVNM). Since 2006, in co-operation with Dr. Ulrike-Hascher Burger, he is Co-Editor of Klankbord: Newsletter for Ancient and Medieval Music. Since 2017 he is a committee member of the KVNM.
As Assistant Professor Van Schaik held guest lectures in Ancient and Medieval Music History at the Universities of Bochum, Innsbruck, Thessaloniki, and Utrecht. Beside he contributed to international symposia and congresses in Amsterdam, Athens, Basel, Berlin, Dion (Greece), Geneva, Hamburg, Skála Eressou (Lesvos, Greece), Lisbon, London, and Blankenburg (Monastery of Michaelstein, Germany). He also taught at the Senior Academy of the Universities of Leiden and Tilburg. He is the author of twelve books and a great number of articles on music archaeology, music iconography, music theory, notation of medieval music and historical performance practice. At the moment Van Schaik is not bound to a university in particular and beside his musicological activities he works as a freelance Senior Consultant in Written Communications.