An 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. GTCS standards are recognised in the UK and internationally, with many of our former students working at home in Scotland or abroad after graduation.

On this programme, you will study aspects of teacher education and preparation for school experience, and undertake intensive music studies including a principal performance study, piano skills and keyboard musicianship, practical workshops, music technology, and theoretical and historical studies.

Special features

  • Accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland
  • Upon graduation, you are guaranteed a probationary year of classroom teaching
  • Integrated school experience throughout all four years
  • Qualifies you to teach music in both primary and secondary schools

Institution Code:


Programme Code:


UK Deadline:

31 January 2024

International Deadline:

31 January 2024

Programme Structure

Year 1 – Developing as a Teacher

Your school placement will be in a primary school where you will learn how to plan and develop lessons to support the children’s musical learning. Teacher Education 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.

We provide a solid foundation in performance, music theory, arranging and composition, history of music, music technology and collaboration in your first year.

Year 2 – Developing The Whole Child

In teacher education, the focus moves towards 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.

Music studies will follow a similar pattern to year one with a focus on broadening knowledge and deepening understanding through practice, in order to support your work as a classroom practitioner.

Year 3 – Assessment, Education and Society

Teacher education in year three will explore Assessment, Education and Society, including wider issues which influence learning and teaching. You will begin to consider the role of professional enquiry in the teaching profession. School experience will focus on secondary three and four.

In music studies, you will continue to have core studies in composition and music technology and thereafter will choose further options in, for example, performance, musicology, composition folio, music technology folio, additional support for learning, primary music, accompaniment studies, etc.

Year 4 – The Enquiring Professional

In your final year, the focus of the placement will be the senior phase where you will spend an extended period in a secondary school in preparation for the GTCS Induction Year.

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

You will continue to have core studies composition and music technology, with a particular focus on the teaching of these areas, along with other options similar to those available in year three.

Year 4 – 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.

Meet The Programme Heads

Dr John Gormley

Joint Head of Programme

Programme Staff

Teaching Staff

Kathryn Callander
School Experience, Accompaniment Studies

Pauline Cooney
Education Studies

Tim Cooper
Music Technology

Ken Davidson
Education Studies

Clare Fodey
Education Studies

Alan Fraser
School Experience, Contemporary Classroom Instruments and Music Technology

Lucinda Geoghegan
Kodaly Musicianship

Lawrence Gill
BEd Ensemble

Dr Angela Jaap
Professional Learning

Caroline McCluskey
Orff Schulwerke

Professor Richard McGregor
Music and Education Studies

Dr Lio Moscardini
Education Studies

John Pitcathley
Keyboard Musicianship

Dr Claire Quigley
Digital Learning Technologies Lecturer

Dr Brianna Robertson-Kirkland
Historical Musicology

Clare Sutherland
Accompaniment Studies

Mairi Warren
School Experience

Monica Wilkinson Dalcroze
Eurhythmics, School Experience

Tom Wilson
Keyboard Musicianship and Composition

Multi-Faceted Learning

Staff on the Bachelor of Education (Music) with Honours course have a wealth of experience and often have multiple specialities.

As a result of this experience, our lecturing staff are capable of teaching a variety of modules throughout your time studying at RCS.

Why Choose Us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is consistently ranked in the World Top 10 for performing arts education (QS World Rankings 2023)

  • 100% of graduate respondents are in employment (HESA, 2016/17)
  • Integrated school experience and education studies throughout all four years
  • Intensive music studies with leading musicians
  • Accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and recognised across the UK and internationally
  • Qualifies students for both primary and secondary music teaching
  • All eligible graduates are guaranteed a probationary year of employment as a classroom music teacher

Bachelor of Education (Music) students benefit from the world-class facilities of the Royal Conservatoire’s School of Music, which includes:

  • Three recording studios
  • Portable recording kits
  • Extensive IT facilities
  • Two piano labs
  • Five performance venues
  • Practice and rehearsal rooms
  • Whittaker Library including extensive electronic resources
  • Extensive collection of instruments and equipment that you can borrow

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.

Graduate Destinations & Employment

Upon graduation you are guaranteed a probationary year of classroom teaching.

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, a number of graduates have gone on to pursue postgraduate study in either Education or Music Performance.

Some of our graduate destinations include:

  • Dr Gordon Munro Director of Music, 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

Graduate stories

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


Explore the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in our 360 virtual tour. You’ll be able to see our rehearsal and practice rooms, professional performance venues, production workshops, editing suite, ballet studios and more.

Entry Requirements

Admissions process

Our admissions processes are designed to be fair, transparent and efficient. The audition/interview approach serves the dual nature of allowing the panel to assess first-hand an applicant’s suitability for their chosen programme and it also affords the applicant the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the nature of that programme and the opportunities offered by the RCS.

In arriving at its recommendation, the audition/interview panel will take account of all aspects of the applicant’s profile i.e.:

  • Performance at audition/interview
  • Commitment to the particular programme
  • Potential to benefit from the programme
  • Academic qualifications
  • Personal statement
  • Performance qualifications
  • Performance/practical experience
  • References
  • Contextualised data
General academic requirements

Scottish Highers — A in Higher Music plus three others at BBC, one of which must be Higher English; and 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) and Maths at GCSE level grade 4 (former grade C).

The General Teaching Council for Scotland sets the minimum entry requirements with regards 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, included accepted alternatives to the Maths and English requirements, can be found in the GTCS Memorandum on Entry Requirements.

Other 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.

Non-standard entry

We welcome applications from individuals whose academic qualifications or English language qualifications do not match (in terms of equivalence) or fall short of the normal entrance requirements, where specified*. Having satisfied the Audition Panel that they meet the selection criteria and demonstrated that they have the capacity to pursue the proposed course of study, such applicants will be considered through examination of contextualised data provided in accordance with the Non-Standard Entry Policy. The appropriate Head of Department/ Programme will make a case in support of the applicant for consideration by the Directors of the Schools and Convener of the Quality and Standards Committee.

*Note that UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) imposes minimum English Language qualifications in respect of international (non-EU) applicants who require a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK.

Mature students

RCS welcomes applications from mature students, i.e. students over the age of 21 at entry to the programme. Whilst the selection procedures will still be applied, consideration will be given to appropriate artistic experience not normally expected in school leavers, which is deemed to compensate for any lack of traditional entrance qualifications. Successful mature applicants, as for all other applicants, must convince auditioning panels that they have the ability and potential to cope with the demands of the programme. Their progress, especially in the early stages of the programme, will be closely monitored and appropriate advice and support given.

How To Apply

Apply on 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. There is a UCAS application fee of £27.50 to register to use UCAS Conservatoires.

To begin a new UCAS Conservatoires application, you will need to register. You can read the UCAS Conservatoires’ advice on completing the UCAS Conservatoires application. If you need assistance with your application, you can contact UCAS Conservatoires team by telephoning (Monday to Friday, 8.30 — 18.00). Phone 0371 468 0470 from within the UK or +44 330 3330 232 if you are calling from overseas.

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 code to apply: Bachelor of Education (Music) with Honours: WX33

Book an advice lesson with one of our Music tutors

An advice lesson gives you the chance to experience having a lesson at the Conservatoire and provides a great opportunity for you to gain some expert advice and insight. Advice lessons normally take place from late August to early October and are dependent on staff availability. Book your advice lesson or e-mail our team for further information at

Application deadline date

The deadline date for all applications for entry in September 2024 is 31 January 2024. Once you have submitted your application, you will be scheduled for an interview and audition in March.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland institution code is R58.

You will also require the following programme code to apply: Bachelor of Education (Music) with Honours: WX33

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

Application fee

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £27.50. In addition to the application fee, each conservatoire charges an audition assessment administration fee. For RCS, the audition assessment administration fee is £35 per programme applied for. Fees are not refundable. The fees are paid via the UCAS Conservatoires website and not directly to RCS.

Audition Assessment Administration fee

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland charges an audition assessment administration fee of £35 per course.

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 whom financial hardship may be a barrier to auditioning. Please see the audition fee waivers document for more information


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 on the basis of 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.

Interview and Audition

The interview and audition will take place in three parts:

Part 1 – Interview

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 of how these might impact on music education in Scotland.

During the interview you will be asked to express your views on music education, and to describe and reflect upon your own experiences of learning and teaching. The interview will be conducted in an informal manner, 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

Part 2 – Principal Study Audition

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, there are special requirements if you are presenting Timpani and Percussion or Jazz as your Performance Study.
  • Sing one song of your own choice in order 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 in order to fully gauge your potential and suitability for the Programme.

*Timpani and Percussion Applicants


Hindlemith: Sinfonissche MetamorphosenMozart: Overture to the Magic Flute


Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra


Glazunov: Violin Concerto

Snare Drum

Rimsky Korsakov: Scheherazade fourth movementProkofiev: 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:

  1. 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.


  • 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
  • Chordal player play melody, improvise 3 choruses and comp 1 chorus.


  • Electronic play-a-longs like iRealPro
  • Transcribed or pre-prepared solos
  • Do not read a solo

Part 3 – Piano Audition

Around three weeks before your audition, you will be sent a selection of piano and keyboard harmony pieces from which 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:

Following your audition

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition via UCAS Conservatoires Track,  (you will need your username and password). You will also receive notification from UCAS Conservatoires when decisions on all your choices are available.

Please see below for an explanation of UCAS Conservatoires codes:

Guaranteed Unconditional (GU) RCS is satisfied from the information you have given, that you have already met the conditions for entry. Unless your application and/or qualification are subsequently shown to be fraudulent, a guaranteed unconditional offer is binding.

Guaranteed Conditional (GC) RCS has made the offer subject to you meeting certain conditions such as examination results. Conditions can be viewed via UCAS Conservatoires Track. Unless your application and/or qualifications are subsequently shown to be fraudulent, the offer is binding if you accept the offer and meet the conditions. You must meet the conditions of the offer by 31 August 2024, unless an earlier date is specified. If your conditions include obtaining IELTS (English Language test), you must meet this condition by 31 May 2024.

Reserve Unconditional (VU) RCS is satisfied from the information you have given, that you have already met the conditions for entry and you have been offered a place on our reserve pool.

Reserve Conditional (VC) RCS has offered a place on its reserve pool subject to you meeting certain conditions such as examination results. Conditions can be viewed via UCAS Conservatoires Track.

Unsuccessful (R) RCS does not wish to offer you any type of a place.

Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme

Due to the nature of the programme and specifically because you will come into contact with children, there is a requirement for students of the BEd (Music) programme to be members of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. This means that checks are carried out for any unspent and spent convictions and cautions. The checks also include any non-conviction data held by the police that may be relevant to teaching.

Applications for the PVG Scheme membership are processed and assessed by Disclosure Scotland which provides this service as a means of enhancing security, public safety and protecting the vulnerable in society. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will administer students applying to be members of the PVG Scheme. It is the student’s responsibility to pay for the check. If for any reason, the check reveals anything in your past which might impact on your suitability to be registered as a teacher, or as a student teacher, your offer of a place on the programme may be rescinded.

Reserve outcomes

If you have received a ‘reserve’ outcome, it means that RCS is not able to offer you a guaranteed place at the time of making our decision. A ‘reserve’ outcome indicates that RCS would like the opportunity to review its outcome to you in the light of acceptances/declines to its guaranteed offers. You will become part of a ‘pool’ of ‘reserve’ candidates and RCS may choose to make you a guaranteed offer if a suitable place becomes available. Reserve does not mean that a place has been ‘reserved’ for you. If RCS chooses not to make you a guaranteed offer, you will not have a place to start at RCS.
If you have been given a ‘reserve’ outcome, in order to be considered for a guaranteed place (should one become available) you will need to accept the outcome (and meet any conditions if applicable).

Reserve outcomes remain active until the end of August. The decision to wait and see whether a guaranteed place becomes available, or to accept an offer at another conservatoire is entirely at your discretion. As soon as your situation changes, this is updated on UCAS Conservatoires.

Replying to offers

As soon as a decision is made, UCAS Conservatoires will let you know. You must reply online via UCAS Conservatoires Track. Your reply date is displayed on Track. If you do not reply by the date given, your offers will be declined automatically. The reply date may be different to other applicants as it is based on when you receive your last decision.

Last decision by Your reply date is
3 January 2023 1 February 2023
15 March 2023 11 April 2023
15 May 2023 1 June 2023
11 July 2023 27 July 2023
2 August 2023 8 September 2023

Please see the UCAS Conservatoires website for more information on replying to offers. If you make an application through UCAS Conservatoires, UCAS or UCAS Teacher Training, you cannot hold more than one confirmed place. A confirmed place in UCAS Conservatoires is a guaranteed unconditional offer as your first choice (GU1) and in UCAS and UCAS Teacher Training it is an unconditional firm (UF) place. If you receive more than one confirmed place, UCAS will ask you to accept one offer and withdraw from any others.


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.

Fees and Scholarships

Scottish students

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay tuition fees for all eligible full-time Scottish-based students who are studying in Scotland at degree level for the first time. Students should apply to SAAS for payment of tuition fees even if they are not applying for any other means of support. Eligible students can also apply for student loans through SAAS. For further advice and to check eligibility contact SAAS directly on 0300 555 0505 or visit the SAAS website.

UK students (non-Scottish)

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland studying in Scotland will be eligible for the same funding/loan package that they would benefit from if they attended an institution in their home country. For further advice please visit student finance England , student finance Wales , or student finance Northern Ireland