The String Department, incorporating Harp and Guitar, offers one of the most dynamic string
programmes in the UK. Your weekly 90-minute Principal Study is enhanced by orchestral repertoire
classes, performance classes and historical performance practice and you may also choose a second
and/or related study. Experience in Symphony, Chamber, and Opera orchestras is offered alongside
Chamber Music, which emphasizes the essential ensemble and communication skills needed for a
long-term career. At the Conservatoire we enjoy unique
number of high-profile orchestras and ensembles, including the Scottish Ensemble, RSNO, BBC SSO and
The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.
At the Conservatoire you’ll benefit from regular
with leading performers
and we’ve appointed a number of prominent International Fellows who work with our students several
times a year. These include
in Double Bass,
in Chamber Music, and
in Guitar. We also run an established concerts agency so that you’re already a practicing
professional by the time you graduate.
The String department has its own corridor where practice rooms, notice boards, instrument
stores and lockers are together. As a close knit department you’ll be allocated to a different
chamber group each year and also encouraged to set up your own. Each group is assigned a tutor for
weekly coaching and advice on repertoire and performance issues. You may also choose to work with
other departments, either as part of a recognized music ensemble, or in a very different way.
Recent students have collaborated with Musical Theatre, Ballet and contemporary Composition
students in creating new work.
At the Conservatoire classes, masterclasses and rehearsals take place in our purpose built
venues. Classes are given in the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio and the Guinness room is an ideal
recital space for Chamber rehearsals. Our newly-refurbished Stephenson Hall is also home to the
Conservatoire’s Symphony Orchestra and once a term you’ll rehearse intensively with a professional
conductor. Symphony Orchestra concerts also take place in prestigious venues across Scotland
including Glasgow’s City Halls and Royal Concert Hall, Perth Concert Hall and the Usher Hall in
Edinburgh. There’s also the opportunity to play in one of the Conservatoire Operas, either in the
pit of our New Athenaeum Theatre or side-by-side with The Orchestra of Scottish Opera in Glasgow’s
Theatre Royal or Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. So you’ll develop specialised skills in solo,
ensemble, and orchestral playing throughout all four years in a number of venues and professional
Our lively Guitar department offers classes in improvisation, fretboard harmony, lute and
19th Century guitar studies. Over the last few years it’s enjoyed a number of successes, with
current students Sean Shibewinning the prestigious International Royal Overseas League Award 2011
and Ian Watt releasing a CD on the new Conservatoire Record Label and performing in Kiev and
Beijing. This year Head of Department Allan Neave also goes to the San Francisco Conservatory of
Music as part of a teachers’ exchange and there exists the opportunity for all students to
undertake exchanges throughout the programme.
During your studies you’ll be assessed through practical exams, technique classes, performance
classes and weekly 90 minute one-to-one lessons. Each year there are so many opportunities to play
and you can also take part in the many competitions and concerts. The Big Guitar Weekend is a
particular feature and this annual event includes public masterclasses, lessons with visiting
artists, the Young Artists Platform Concerts and the acclaimed Scottish International Guitar
At the Conservatoire there are many opportunities to collaborate with students and create new
work. Our annual contemporary music festival, Plug, recently involved student guitarists and we
encourage collaboration through regular ensemble workshop classes.