Overview

The Guitar and Harp Department at RCS is structured to directly reflect musical realities in the 21st century. Most successful musicians live varied musical lives, it is our desire to prepare you for the profession and we feel you must acquire as broad a range of skills as possible in order to become excellent musicians and interesting, expressive artists.

Weekly individual, group tuition, chamber music and orchestral performance are a focal point of the newly formed department. Regular collaborations with composers in creating new repertoire, side-by-side opportunities with all of Scotland’s national orchestras, classes in technique and performance practice, history and repertoire, improvisation, business skills, techniques of teaching, alongside regular masterclasses with visiting international soloists all are integral to the development of an aspiring and versatile musician.

The Guitar and Harp department consists of an exciting, forward-looking team of lecturers, who are all experienced soloists, chamber musicians, orchestral players and teachers in their own right. They are on hand to give invaluable advice and tuition drawing from their own experience of life as professional musicians.

Institution Code:

R58

Programme Code:

300F

UK Deadline:

1 October 2021

International Deadline:

1 October 2021

Programme Structure

 

In each year of the undergraduate course, students will have regular opportunities to play in weekly performance classes, participate in masterclasses, showcase concerts and festival events, including Guitar Digifest, Big Guitar Weekend and RCS’s contemporary Plug Festival.

Classes in technique, performance practice, repertoire and, of course, chamber music run throughout the year enhancing learning and developing the performer.

There are many opportunities to perform either as a soloist or as a chamber musician. We also encourage students to take part in competitions and play in student ensembles, both within RCS and externally. You will also have the chance to collaborate with other artists across RCS including actors, musical theatre performers and dancers. Our contemporary music festival, Plug, provides the perfect opportunity to work with emerging composers.

The Guitar and Harp department also offer prestigious concerto opportunities to students to perform with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC SSO as well as the RCS Symphony Orchestra. We enjoy close collaborations with distinguished teaching artists from around the world, including our Associate artist in guitar – Paul Galbraith and harpists Ruth Potter and Karen Vaughan, amongst many others.

Meet the Staff

Professor Allan Neave

Head of Guitar and Harp

Paul Galbraith

Associate Artist

Matthew McAllister

Lecturer in Guitar

Sharron Griffiths

Lecturer in Harp

Pippa Tunnell

Lecturer in Harp

Sasha Savaloni

Guitar Chamber Music

Peter Stewart

Lecturer in Guitar

Ian Watt

Lecturer in Guitar

Jamie Akers

Early Guitars / Lute

Malcolm MacFarlane

Fretboard harmony and Improvisation

Graduate Destinations

Guitar and Harp graduates have gone on to further study in the US and Europe, become heads of university departments, International concert solo artists, orchestral principal harpists, teachers in private practice and festival directors.

Guitar alumni include:
Sean Shibe – the first guitarist to be admitted to the prestigious BBC New Generation Artists Scheme and the only solo guitarist to have received a Borletti-Buitoni Fellowship. In 2009 Sean won first prize in the Ivor Mairants Guitar Award of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in 2011 he became only the second guitarist ever to win the Royal Over-Seas League first prize and gold medal. Nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award for his recent album Dreams and Fancies, which debuted at No.3 in the Classical Album Chart. In 2018 he received the RPS ‘Young Artists Prize’.

Laura Husbands received a full scholarship to complete an Artist Diploma at Lamont University, Colorado 2009. In June 2011 she received an Artist Diploma in classical guitar performance as well as Lamont’s Outstanding Graduate in Performance Award. Laura Husbands was the winner of the Denver Classical Guitar Society 2010 Debut Competition and the 2011 Portland International Guitar Competition.

Marek Pasieczny is one of the most popular contemporary polish composers and guitarists of his generation. He completed a Masters in Guitar Performance with distinction as well as in Composition, first studying at Karol Lipinski Academy of Music in Wroclaw under Professor Piotr Zaleski, and then RCS. Established as a successful performer, composer and teacher, his career has taken him all over the world.

Harp alumni include:

  • Mary Ann Kennedy Scottish musician, composer, radio/television
    presenter and music producer
  • Helen Thomson Acting Principal Harp BBC Scottish
    Symphony Orchestra
  • Louise Vickerman Principal Harp Utah Symphony Orchestra

Guitar Digifest

In November, RCS hosted Guitar Digifest; a two day online festiveal of all things classical guitar. From competitions to masterclasses, showcases and concerts.

Here is a showcase of some of our current students performing.

Why Choose Us

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is in the World Top 10 for performing arts education 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 (QS World Rankings)

 

The Guitar and Harp department also offer prestigious concerto opportunities to students to perform with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC SSO as well as the RCS Symphony Orchestra. We enjoy close collaborations with distinguished teaching artists from around the world, including our Associate artist in guitar – Paul Galbraith and harpists Ruth Potter & Karen Vaughan, amongst many others.

  • 90-minute lesson in your principal study each week (27 weeks)
  • Collaborate with performing artists from across RCS
  • Opportunity to undertake an additional performance study
  • Excellent partnerships and links to industry; partnerships include Big Guitar Weekend, Celtic Connections, Classical Guitar Retreat, Ullapool Guitar Festival, European Mandolin and Guitar Youth Orchestra, NECGS Concert Series, Sphere Concert Series, National Youth Guitar Ensemble and International Guitar Festivals (London)
  • Side-by-side schemes with national companies, enabling harpists to play alongside the professionals, including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Vast number of performance opportunities each academic session
  • An expert teaching team with regular guitar masterclasses from ?ukasz Kuropaczewski, Marcin Dylla, Marco Tamayo, Lorenzo Micheli and Göran Söllscher
  • Numerous harp masterclasses; recent guests have included Karen Vaughan, Isabelle Perrin, Sioned Williams and Lucy Wakeford
  • Undergraduate music students can take advantage of learning within this unique Scottish conservatoire and undertake a module within traditional music, enabling you to broaden your repertoire, musicality and ensemble arrangement practices

A Campus Built For The Performing Arts

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.

RCS Presents

Watch one of the first live concerts performed under Covid restrictions in the RCS Presents series, performed in November 2020.

Entry Requirements

General Academic Entrance Requirements
  • Scottish Highers — 3 passes (grade C or above)
  • A Levels — 2 passes
  • International Baccalaureate — minimum score of 24 with 3 subjects at Higher Level
  • Recognised equivalences (EU and International Entry Requirements)

We welcome the Scottish Baccalaureate and will accept combinations of Highers and Advanced Highers.

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.

Subjects recommended

Within the minimum academic entrance requirements listed above, the subject recommended are:

  • Music at Higher, Advanced Higher or Advanced level or equivalent
  • English at Higher, Advanced Higher or Advanced level or equivalent
Other Standards

A strong indication of potential is sought at the entrance audition for this programme. Successful applicants will normally be of a standard at least equivalent to Grade 8 with Distinction of the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music in their Principal Study. You can apply and audition without having obtained Grade 8 with distinction, however as an indication only, applicants are normally expected to have reached this standard in their performance.

Language of Study

The language of study is English. Applicants who 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.

Direct Entry

Applications for direct entry beyond Year 1 will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with 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 UCAS Conservatoires application as 2 or 3.

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 via UCAS Conservatoires

Applications are made through 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 £26 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.

Application deadline date

The deadline dates to apply and submit your audition recording can be found in the table below –

  UCAS Conservatoires Application Deadline Audition Recording Deadline
Applicants 1 October 2021 15 October 2021

Once you submit your UCAS Conservatoires application, please then upload your audition recording to Acceptd – https://app.getacceptd.com/rcs.

If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that your audition recording 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. Late applications will be considered on a case by case basis and will not be considered in the first round of scholarship allocation.

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2022, you must apply next year.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland institution code is R58.

BMus (Hons) Performance: 300F

Joint Principal Study (Hons): 301F

Book an advice lesson with one of our Music tutors (faculty)

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. If you are unsure of what programme you wish to apply for, we recommend booking an advice audition with a teacher who can assist gauge which programme you may be suitable for. Advice lessons normally take place late August to early October and are dependent on staff availability.

Email hello@rcs.ac.uk to book a lesson.

Application Fee

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £26.50. In addition to the application fee, each conservatoire charges an audition assessment administration fee. For RCS, the audition assessment administration fee is £65 per programme applied for. Fees are not refundable. The fees are paid via the UCAS Conservatoires website and not directly to RCS.

Audition fee

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland charges an audition assessment administration fee of £65 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.

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 who apply on time invited to upload their audition recording to Acceptd. The deadline dates can be found below –

  UCAS Conservatoires Application Deadline Audition Recording Deadline
Applicants 1 October 2021 15 October 2021

If you submit your audition recording after this date, we cannot guarantee that your audition recording will be reviewed by the audition panel.

Please note that the Conservatoire is obliged to offer one audition recording per application. If you are unable to submit your audition recording by the deadline date above, you must email us immediately stating the reason. We have a specific period allocation to audition and all on time applications will receive a decision before Christmas (week commencing 13 December). If your audition recording is delayed, there is a risk that places will already have been taken and your application may not be considered in the first round of scholarship allocation.

Applicants are selected first and foremost on the basis of merit and potential. However, due attention is also paid to the range of Principal Studies accepted in order to ensure the optimum experience for each student and to sustain the critical mass required for curricular activities, such as the symphony orchestra and choral activities.

BMus Joint Principal Study (JPS)

The Joint Principal Study pathway is intended to cater for the needs of individuals who are equally accomplished in two Principal Study disciplines (e.g. Flute and Composition, or Trumpet and Conducting, etc.) and who wish to maintain this intense level of dedication in their musical studies. Please note that Conducting is only available as a Joint Principal Study and Jazz Performance is only available in conjunction with Conducting or Composition.

The selection process for applicants applying for Joint Principal Study is the same as that for other applicants; please submit your audition recordings via Acceptd for each principal study. Applicants to the Joint Principal Study pathway who are successful in only one of their Principal Studies may be offered a place on the relevant ‘single-study’ pathway (i.e. Performance, Composition or Jazz).

Audition

With the safety of our students, applicants and staff as our priority, all auditions will take place via audition recording. This may or may not be followed up with an in-person interview or further audition. The deadline dates to apply and submit your audition recording can be found in the table below –

  UCAS Conservatoires Application Deadline Audition Recording Deadline
Applicants 1 October 2021 15 October 2021

Once you submit your UCAS Conservatoires application, please then upload your audition recording to Acceptd – https://app.getacceptd.com/rcs.

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition via UCAS Conservatoires track (you will need your username and password). We aim to post outcomes before Christmas (week commencing 13 December 2021).

Recording Guidelines:

  • When setting up for your video recording, your body (typically, from about the waist up) and instrument should be the focal point of the frame. The committee wants to be able to see not just your face but how well you navigate your instrument.
  • The video recording should be provided in ONE continuous shot without separate tracks for different musical pieces.
  • Please begin the recording by introducing yourself to camera and stating what you will be performing. You can take a little time between pieces so long as your body must remain in the frame.
  • For any pieces that were written for your instrument and piano accompaniment, you are encouraged to perform with piano accompaniment (whether live or pre-recorded) if practical for you. Be assured, however, that if this is not possible for you, then you will not be disadvantaged in any way.

Please prepare the following for your audition recording –

Guitar

  • Performance of two contrasting pieces of ABRSM Grade 8 standard or equivalent (maximum of eight minutes).

Harp

  • Performance: Two contrasting pieces, one of which must have been composed after 1900. Additionally, one study and one orchestral cadenza e.g. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker or Ravel’s Piano Concerto.
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 2021, unless an earlier date is specified. If your conditions include obtaining IELTS (English Language test), you must meet this condition by 31 May 2021.

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.

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 2022 1 February 2022
15 March 2022 12 April 2022
15 May 2022 1 June 2022
12 July 2022 29 July 2022
2 August 2022 8 September 2022

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.

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.

Fees and Scholarships

Scottish Students

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay tuition fees for all eligible full-time Scottish-based and other non-UK undergraduate EU 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.

Rest of UK Students

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 as appropriate.

EU Students

The Royal Conservatoire is resolutely international in outlook and we celebrate and are enriched by the diversity of our community of students and staff. Students from across the globe are -welcome and valued members of the RCS community and we continue to welcome applicants from across the EU and throughout the world.

QWhat is the fee situation for EU students?

A: On July 92020, Scotland’s Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead announced changes to the fee regime for EU students studying in Scotland. From next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.

Q: I’m an EU student looking to start my studies in 2021-22. How does this impact me?

A: From next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.

Only EU nationals who are ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ in the UK will remain eligible to apply for home tuition fees providing they meet the residency conditions.

Other EU nationals and associated groups, starting a course of study in academic year 2021-22 or later, are not eligible to apply to SAAS for tuition fee support.

Because of a long-standing agreement between the UK and Republic of Ireland, new students from the Republic of Ireland starting their studies in 2021-22 will be eligible to pay the rest of UK (RUK) fee and will be able to access a tuition fee loan from SAAS.

Please also see the SAAS website for more information.

Scholarships

Any potential student who auditions for a place at the Royal Conservatoire will automatically be considered for a scholarship. They are awarded on a combination of talent, potential and financial need. More information about Scholarships is available on our Fees and Funding page.

Sources of External Funding

For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit Fees and Funding.

The Conservatoire’s International and Student Experience team are available to advise and assist applicants and current students in respect of queries about funding your studies at the Conservatoire. Please email or telephone +44 (0)141 270 8281/ +44 (0)141 270 8223 for further information.

Cost of Living and Associated Programme Costs

Investing in your future is important and you need to consider the cost of your tuition as well as the cost of living during your studies. In addition to tuition fees, it is estimated that you will need between £10,000 and £12,000 per year to live in Glasgow, plus programme costs. Associated programme costs can be found here.

Tuition fees for academic year 2021-22

Scottish Students
£1,820

Rest of UK (RUK) Students
£9,250

International Students (Including EU)
£18,393

From the next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.