An Overview

The Strings department offers outstanding opportunities to explore your musical passions. With a high staff-student ratio, we have a friendly and supportive learning environment that responds to individual needs and promotes initiatives.

We strive to maintain and develop an environment where both staff and students feel they have a share of its ownership. We encourage our students to participate in shaping the Department into an artistic community that responds to the aspirations of tomorrow’s musicians.

The majority of our teaching staff are professional musicians working in Scotland and beyond. Being surrounded by four professional orchestras in Glasgow alone and the only conservatoire in Scotland, the Strings department is integrated into the professional musical life of Glasgow and our students are in regular contact with it through personal contact as well as apprenticeship schemes. Students search for identity through creativity and artistic experimentation, and develop a clear overview of what it is to live and work as musicians today.

Institution Code:

R58

Programme Code:

300F / 301F (Joint Principal Study)

UK Deadline:

3 October 2022

International Deadline:

1 December 2022

Programme Structure

The String dept offers a comprehensive first year of study which is tailored to your individual needs, including consolidating technical basics, as well as helping you develop a broad musical outlook.

Ensemble playing, supported by close supervision, plays a key role in this. Fundamental techniques are appraised in Technique Classes by making a video which you later review in consultation with your Principal Study Tutor. This dialogue forms the basis of your Tutor report which in turn facilitates your continued development as a musician.

View the Course Overview.

Upon successful completion of Year 1, this period of study develops the process of becoming an independent musician, and offers a wider range of ensemble activities. You will also have opportunities to take chamber music as a credit-bearing component. By the end of Year 2 you are expected to be fully equipped musically and technically to begin to engage with the profession and the public through developed performance skills.

In the second part of your degree you can audition for a range of side-by-side projects with professional musicians. The notion of practice-based research is introduced, and you are encouraged to foster critical thinking through performance. We help you develop the independent musical thinking and informed musicianship required of today’s musicians – connecting your musical instinct and your intellect becomes critical to you as a musician.

In Year 3, the chamber music exam may be in collaboration with a keyboard instrument. In Year 4 the chamber music exam can include a mock Masters or Professional Orchestral audition in order to prepare you for the next stage. In both Year 3 and 4 the end of year exam is a public performance – a platform to express your artistic personality. We seek an ability to think creatively and express yourself with consummate skills and artistry.

Why Choose Us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is in the World Top 10 for performing arts education 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022 (QS World Rankings)
  • An individual lesson on your principal study
  • An international teaching team, with many years of education and performing experience — many hold positions in the national artistic companies
  • Masterclasses are key to widening our students’ experiences.
  • Recent masterclasses have featured guests such as Nicola Benedetti, the Brodsky Quartet, Paul Coletti, Professor David Dolan, Decoda, James Ehnes, David Geringas, Lutsia and Alina Ibragimova, Rinat Ibragimov, Ralph Kirshbaum, Henning Kraggerud, Graham Mitchel, Johannes Moser, Trio Apaches, Maxim Rysanov, Janet Sung and Raphael Wallfisch
  • Meaningful connections with world-class professional ensembles, including regular proto-professional collaborations with Scottish Ensemble, Red Note Ensemble, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Side-by-side chamber music opportunities with ensembles including Hebrides Ensemble and the Brodsky Quartet
  • Our teaching focusses on integrating technique and creativity, musicality and theory — it’s about ‘head’ and ‘heart’

Meet The Head Of Strings

David Watkin is an internationally renowned cellist and conductor.

He has played a key role at the heart of some ground-breaking performances, made a wide range of solo recordings and has conducted groups including the Scottish National Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Malta Philharmonic, the Swedish Baroque Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music and the Manchester Consort.

Meet The Staff

Visiting Professor
Baroque

Baroque Violin

Baroque Viola

Baroque Cello

Accompanists
Chamber Music
Masterclasses

All students have an opportunity during their time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to take part in workshops and masterclasses with some of the world’s most renowned performers, including:

  • Pedro de Alcantara
  • Nicola Benedetti
  • Simon Fischer
  • Ilya Gringolts
  • Rinat Ibragimov
  • Alina Ibragimova
  • Lutsia Ibragimova
  • Ralph Kirshbaum
  • Lawrence Power
  • Joel Quarrington
  • Rachel Roberts
  • Jacqueline Shave
  • Joseph Swensen
  • Raphael Wallfisch
  • Pieter Wispelwey

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.

Studio Collective: Daniel Pioro Joins RCS

An ethos of experimentation, exploration and collaboration defines a new contemporary music collective at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

With a bold creative vision and a mission to push boundaries, acclaimed violinist Daniel Pioro — in his new role of Associate Artist in Contemporary String Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland — has joined forces with thirteen students to unleash Studio Collective.

As Associate Artist, Daniel will work intensively with his newly created consort of four cellists, two violinists and three viola players, as well as four composers, over the next twelve months, where they’ll be exposed to the daily workings of extraordinary artists from all fields. The line-up will change every year.

RCS Presents: Strings

Watch this collection of performances from the RCS Strings department during their first few weeks of term in October 2020.

Graduate Destinations

  • David Bamaung Assistant Principal Viola, Welsh National Opera
  • Javier Fernandez Diaz Profesor de Violin at Conservatorio Profesional “Garcia Matos” de Plasencia
  • Clara Hernandez Profesora de Violin at Conservatorio Profesional de Musica Esteban Sanchez de Merida
  • Jiri Kabát Professor of Viola at the Prague Conservatoire and member of Prague Philharmonic String Quartet
  • Katrina Lee Principal 2nd Violin, Scottish Ballet
  • Maxwell Quartet Selected as Tunnell Trust and Park Lane Group Young Artists; Winners of the 9th Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition
  • Wouter Raubenheimer Principal Viola, Stavanger Chamber Orchestra and Principal Viola, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
  • Duncan Strachan Artistic Director of the Loch Shiel Festival
  • Erik Vardanyan Suzhou Symphony Orchestra
  • Veronika Vardpatrikyan Assistant Principal Viola, Yerevan Symphony Orchestra, Armenia

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 Entry 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 £26.50 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.

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 3 October 2022 17 October 2022

If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that your application/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 may not be considered in the first round of scholarship allocation.

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2024, 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

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 here or e-mail our team for further information at hello@rcs.ac.uk.

Application Fee

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £26. 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 Assessment Administration 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 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.

Please note that the Conservatoire is obliged to offer one audition date per application. If you are unable to submit your application/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. 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.

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 prepare for two separate in-person auditions, or, for International 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

All auditions are planned to take place in-person at our campus in Glasgow in November 2022.  Should you apply on time, you will be e-mailed directly with details of your audition date and time, and your UCAS Conservatoires track will be updated with this information.

International applicants are welcome to submit a recorded submission via Acceptd. For those submitting a recording, 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 3 October 2022 17 October 2022

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.

For more information on recording a video audition, Guitar Lecturer Matthew McCallister reveals his top tips on recording your music audition online below:

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition or recorded submission via UCAS Conservatoires track (you will need your username and password). We aim to post outcomes before Christmas.

Details of the repertoire requested for your in-person audition/recorded submission can be found below:

Violin

– Any movement from Bach’s Sonatas or Partitas for solo violin
– Any appropriate study (Grade 8 or equivalent standard — suggested: Kreutzer, Mazas etc.)
– And a contrasting work — this could be a short performance piece, or a movement from a concerto or sonata, or similar

Viola

– Any movement from Bach’s Solo Cello Suites or Violin Sonatas or Partitas
– Any appropriate (Grade 8 or equivalent standard) study
– And a contrasting work — this could be a short performance piece, or a movement from a concerto or sonata, or similar

Cello

– Any movement from Bach’s Solo Cello Suites
– Any study from Popper High School of Cello Playing, op.73
– And a contrasting work — this could be a short performance piece, or a movement from a concerto or sonata, or similar

Double Bass

– A movement from any Baroque sonata
– Any appropriate study (Bottesini method or similar)
– And any contrasting work — this could be a short performance piece, or a movement from a concerto or sonata, or similar

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 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.

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

Scotish 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.

Information for 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 financeWales , or student finance Northern Ireland as appropriate.

Information For 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 9 2020, 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 2021/22, 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 2022-23. How does this impact me?

A: From 2021/22, 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 2022-23 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)

£19,314

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