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Bachelor of Education (Music) with Honours

Bachelor of Education (Music) with Honours is a vocational programme for musicians who aspire to teach music in schools. You will be enrolled in one of the most highly regarded routes into classroom music teaching in Scotland, qualifying you for both primary and secondary school teaching. The degree provides integrated school placements in all four years of study. 

Overview

Following graduation, you will qualify for Provisional Registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). All eligible graduates are guaranteed a probationary year of classroom teaching in a Scottish school. GTCS standards are recognised in the UK and internationally, with many of our former students working in Scotland or abroad after graduation. 

In this programme, you will study aspects of teacher education in developing your skillsets for effective classroom practice and preparation for school experience. With a focus on professionalism, practitioner enquiry and career-long professional learning, you will develop a personal educator identity. 

You will undertake intensive music studies focusing on creativity, performance and collaboration. You will develop your skills and knowledge in musicianship, musicology, technology, piano and classroom instruments. 

With school placements in every year of study, you will have the opportunity to embed learning and develop the practical application of skills through teaching practice. 

The important details

UK Applicant Deadline:
31 January 2024

International (including EU) Applicant Deadline:
31 January 2024

Institution Code:
R58

Programme Code:
WX33

Audition Fee:
£35

Application Fee:
£27.50


Why Study BEd Music at RCS?

A BEd Music student smiles to a crowd in a school gym. Students holding orchestra instruments stand behind her.

GTCS Primary & Secondary Teaching Qualifications


By the end of the programme, you will be accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and recognised across the UK and internationally. Our course prepares you for primary and secondary school teaching by incorporating school placement experiences and professional studies throughout all four years. 

A teacher is gesturing to sheet music placed on a stand.

Excellent Employment Rates


If eligible, you will be offered a guaranteed probationary year of employment as a classroom music teacher in Scotland. The starting salary as a probationer is £32,217 as of January 2024. Our graduates also boast high employment rates. The BEd Music programme is foundational to your long-term career in music education.

Errollyn Wallen smiles at the camera. A piano is behind her.

Intensive Music Studies


Sector-leading musicians will provide you with an intensive music study experience. In addition, you will access world-class facilities and professional equipment such as:

  • Three recording studios 
  • Portable recording kits 
  • Extensive IT facilities 
  • Two piano labs 
  • Five performance venues 
  • Practice and rehearsal rooms 
  • Whittaker Library
  • Extensive collection of instruments and technology equipment that can be borrowed on request 

Graduate Destinations

Upon graduation, eligible graduates are guaranteed a probationary year of classroom teaching in Scotland. 

Most of our graduates go on to become music teachers in schools in Scotland, other parts of the UK or abroad. 

Some graduates choose to balance a part-time career in classroom teaching with a freelance career in music and others have chosen to work in other educational settings. 

Following their probationary year, several graduates have gone on to pursue postgraduate study in either Education or Music Performance. 

Alumni include: 

  • Gordon Munro Deputy Director (Academic) of The Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts; Former Director of Music at RCS 

  • Hannah Kelly Teacher of Music, Hong Kong 

  • Rebecca Crichton Teacher of Music, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 

  • Kirsty Kelly Teacher of Music, Switzerland 

  • Stephen Cowan Principal Teacher of Music, St Joseph’s Academy, Kilmarnock 

 

  • Penelope Cousland Opera Singer and National Opera Studio Young Artist, 2016 

  • James McParland Head Teacher, St. Ambrose High School, Coatbridge 

  • Heather McMillan Head of Initial Teacher Education, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland  

  • Michael Gibson Opera Singer, Royal Opera House 

A teacher is showing showing sheet music to a group of students.

Programme Structure

Developing as a Teacher:  

Professional Studies will focus on developing as a teacher, exploring learning and teaching in the primary school, and key issues about how children learn, and teacher professionalism.  

Your school placement will be in a primary school where you will learn how to plan and develop lessons to support learning within the school context and develop a wider awareness of education.  

We provide a solid foundation in performance, ensemble playing, composition and arranging, collaboration, music technology and the exploration of musical contexts. 

Developing the Whole Child: 

In Professional Studies, the focus moves towards child development, health and wellbeing and inclusive education.  

Your school experience will be in a secondary school where you will focus on Broad General Education (BGE) in the Music department and the wider school.  

Music studies will focus on broadening knowledge and deepening understanding through collaborative and creative practice, to develop as a musician and support your work as a classroom practitioner, including building awareness and experiencing global musical contexts.

Assessment, Education and Society: 

Professional Studies in year three will explore assessment, education and society and the cross-cutting educational themes which influence learning and teaching. You will begin to consider the role of practitioner enquiry and reflective practice in the development of your teacher identity and capacity for career-long learning. 

School experience will focus on secondary three and four and the transition from Broad General Education into the Senior Phase and towards National Qualifications. 

In music studies, you will have core studies in composition for film and studio collaboration. You will choose additional electives from a list of modules such as performance, musicology, composition folio, additional support for learning, primary music, instrumental music teaching, accompaniment studies, conducting, arranging, additional performance study, etc.

The Enquiring Professional: 

Professional Studies in year four will support you to implement a small-scale, action-research project in your classroom, with a focus on analysing the impact of a pedagogical intervention, uniting theory and practice. 

In your final year, the focus of the placement will be the senior phase. You will spend an extended period in a secondary school fully embedding the GTCS Standard for Provisional Registration into your practice to join the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT). 

You will combine your knowledge, skills and school experiences to date, making connections between your studies at RCS and career-long professional learning.  

You will have core studies in composition and composition for film, with a particular focus on the teaching of these areas, along with other electives from the elective catalogue, some of which build on year 3 electives. 

Catholic Teacher’s Certificate: 

The University of Glasgow offers the Catholic Teacher’s Certificate to students who are in Year 4 of the BEd Programme. 

Applications to this Programme should be made directly to the University of Glasgow. 


Entry Requirements

Academic Requirements

Scottish Highers:

  • A in Higher Music plus three others at BBC, one of which must be Higher English
  • Maths at either National 5 (grade C) or Intermediate 2 at grade C or above 

A Levels:

  •  B in Music plus two additional A Levels at C
  • English Language and Literature at GCSE level grade 4 (former grade C)
  • Maths at GCSE level grade 4 (former grade C)

The General Teaching Council for Scotland sets the minimum entry requirements with regard to the qualifications in English and Maths and may change these requirements. Normally several years’ notice is given impending any changes. 

It is the responsibility of the applicants to be aware of the current minimum requirements. We offer a flexible approach to students taking Higher over more than one academic year and/or who achieve their qualifications in more than one sitting. 

More information about the GTCS entry requirements, including accepted alternatives to the Maths and English requirements, can be found in the GTCS Memorandum on Entry Requirements. 

English language requirements

The language of study is English. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. We accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Level 6.0 (with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component) is required of applicants to the School of Music. 

Music requirements

Successful applicants will normally be of a standard equivalent to Grade 7 or Grade 8 of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) in their Principal Study. You can apply and audition without having obtained either of these ABRSM qualifications. 

In addition, it is expected that applicants will have experience of playing piano. For the audition, you will be asked to prepare a short piano piece and a keyboard harmony exercise that will be sent in advance. 

Direct entry 

Applications for direct entry beyond Year 1 will be considered on a case-by-case basis and by the Royal Conservatoire’s Recognition of Prior (Experiential) Learning policy. If you wish to apply for direct entry, please mark the point of entry on the UCAS Conservatoires application as 2 or 3. 


Fees & Funding

Tuition fees

  • Scotland: £1,820 
  • RUK: £9,250 
  • International (including EU): £27,968

Funding & Scholarships

You can find out about the funding and scholarships available for studying at RCS by visiting our dedicated page:

Funding & Scholarships

 

 

Cost of Living & Programme Costs

In addition to tuition fees, it is estimated that you will need between £11,200 and £15,300 per year to live in Glasgow, plus programme costs. Much will depend on your lifestyle and whether your course runs for three or four terms. 

Programmes within the School of Music have a range of associated costs related to the specific activities required and advised by the programme team. You can find an indication of these costs below: 

School of Music Programme Costs 


How to Apply

Apply via UCAS Conservatoires

Applications are made through the UCAS Conservatoires website. The UCAS Conservatoires application system is separate from the main UCAS undergraduate application system. If you wish to apply to conservatoires and universities within UCAS, you will need to register for both services.

You can read our guidance about using UCAS Conservatoires on our dedicated how-to-apply page.

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2025, you must apply next year.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland institution code is R58. You will also require the following programme codes to apply:  WX33

The closing date for all on-time applications is 31 January 2024.  If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that your application will be reviewed by the audition panel. If you do want to submit a late application, you must contact admissions@rcs.ac.uk in the first instance to check we are accepting late applications

Application/Audition fees

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £27.50. In addition to the application fee, each conservatoire charges an audition assessment administration fee. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland charges an audition assessment administration fee of £65 for this programme.

We recognise that auditioning and interviewing for conservatoires, drama and ballet schools can be costly. The audition assessment administration fee charge allows us to offer a thorough and positive experience to all applicants and we encourage you to get in touch to ask the panel questions and find out more about the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to see if it is the best place for you.

We are committed to ensuring fair access to a conservatoire education for students who have the talent and potential to benefit from it, regardless of their background. In support of this, audition fee waivers are offered to applicants whose financial hardship may be a barrier to auditioning. Please see the audition fee waiver document for more information.

Policy

We have a number of policies and statements which you should read when applying to study at the Royal Conservatoire.

Please select the links below to read each policy.

References

It is your responsibility to ask two separate referees to write references and ensure that these are sent to RCS.

The references must be written by two different people and we will not accept references from family, other relatives or close friends. You can submit your UCAS Conservatoires application form and send your references at a later date, but they must be received prior to your audition date.

UCAS Conservatoires provides reference forms for you to download and send to your referees for completion.

Selection Process

Applicants are selected first and foremost based on merit, potential and a clear desire to enter the teaching profession. 

Please note that the Conservatoire is obliged to offer one audition date per application. If you are unable to submit your application by the deadline date above, you must email us immediately stating the reason. If your audition recording is delayed, there is a risk that places will already have been taken and your application may not be considered. 

Audition Information

 

The interview and audition will take place in three parts: 

During the interview, you will be expected to display a good general knowledge of and interest in music and a keen commitment to teaching. You should be able to demonstrate an awareness of recent curricular initiatives and how these might impact music education in Scotland. 

During the interview, you will be asked to express your views on music education and describe and reflect upon your own experiences of learning and teaching. The interview will be conducted informally, and you will be assessed on your: 

  • Ability to express yourself clearly and fluently 

  • Perceived commitment to and enthusiasm for teaching 

  • Level of preparation and reflection 

The following questions are provided only as a guide. The actual questions you are asked may differ from the ones given here.  

  • Why have you decided to apply to the BEd (Music) programme (why do you want to be a teacher)? 

  • What personal qualities and/or experiences do you have which you think would make you a good teacher? 

  • What recent changes in Scottish education are you aware of and can you tell us what you know? 

  • Do you have any experience with Music Technology? If so, what software or hardware have you used? 

  • Apart from piano and your first-study instrument, what other instruments have you learned to play (including classroom instruments e.g. guitar/ukulele, bass, drum kit, tuned percussion, etc)? 

  • What aspects of music do you enjoy? Are there any particular skills which you feel you need to develop? 

Panel members may also ask you questions about your personal statement. 

At your Principal Study audition, you will be required to: 

  • Play two contrasting pieces of your own choice on your chosen Performance Study.

    • Please note: see the special requirements if you are presenting Timpani and Percussion* or Jazz** below

  • Sing one song of your own choice to demonstrate the stage of development of your vocal skills.  

    • If your Performance Study is Voice, this requirement will not apply

At your Principal Study audition, in addition to you playing your pieces, the panel will spend a little time working with you on sections of your pieces to fully gauge your potential and suitability for the Programme.

 

*Timpani and Percussion Applicants 

Timpani 

  • Hindlemith: Sinfonissche Metamorphosen

  • Mozart: Overture to the Magic Flute 

Xylophone 

  • Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra 

Glockenspiel 

  • Glazunov: Violin Concerto 

Snare Drum 

  • Rimsky Korsakov: Scheherazade fourth movement

  • Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf 

All of the above-stated excerpts are available in ‘Test Pieces for Orchestral Auditions’ published by Schott.

**Jazz Applicants 

For your BEd jazz audition, you should submit your video performing with a live rhythm section or a play-a-long/minus-one backing track: 

Billie’s Bounce by Charlie Parker (12 Bar Blues) 

  • Key: F Major [Vocalists choose their key] 

  • Tempo: Medium to Fast – anything above 160 bpm 

  • Melody Form: (12 bars) 

  • Improvisation Duration: Minimum 3 choruses (12 x 3 = 36 bars) or more

Aims: 

  • Introduce your performance 

  • Play the melody once 

  • Improvise 3 choruses of original improvisation interacting musically with live musicians or with an Aebersold play-a-long (Vol. 6 Charlie Parker) 

  • Or  https://youtu.be/CI0sLGOEQg0 

  • The chordal player plays the melody, improvises 3 choruses and comp 1 chorus

Avoid: 

  • Electronic play-a-longs like a real pro 

  • Transcribed or pre-prepared solos 

  • Do not read a solo 

Around three weeks before your audition, you will be sent a selection of piano and keyboard harmony pieces. You should prepare one piano piece and one keyboard harmony piece.

At the Piano Audition, you will take part in a group class where an RCS tutor will work with you on your prepared pieces. This will allow us to gauge your potential on piano and your suitability for the programme.

You can view examples of the level of pieces at the links below: 

More from the Education Department

An assembly hall full of students playing musical instruments.

A Day in the Life


Watch what the average day looks like for RCS BEd Music students.

 

 

 

A teacher is pointing at sheet music on a stand. A student is playing saxophone.

The Student Experience


Hear our students talk about their love of music and teaching, how they came to study the course and why they want to be music teachers in the future. 

 

 

 

A teacher is showing showing sheet music to a group of students. There is a violin out of focus on the table.

Graduate Stories


We spoke to graduates from our BEd (Music) degree programme as they begin their careers as music teachers. Watch our video about their experiences. 

 

Why RCS?

We are the only place in Europe where you can study all of the performing arts on the one campus. There is a distinctive creative energy at RCS and you’ll be made to feel part of our inclusive and diverse environment from the very beginning of your studies.

Our graduates are resourceful, highly employable and members of a dynamic community of artists who make a significant impact across the globe.

At RCS, students develop not just their art but their power to use it.

Find out more 

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World Top Ten


We were voted one of the world’s Top Ten destinations to study the performing arts (QS Rankings) in 2024, the eighth time we have been placed in the top ten since the ranking was established in 2016.