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BMus Strings

Introduction

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.

Introduction

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.

Programme structure

Year 1

The String Department offers a comprehensive first year of study which focuses on 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.

 

Year 2

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.

 

Years 3 and 4

The second part of your degree will offer a range of opportunities to work with professional musicians in a side-by-side context. 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 is in collaboration with a keyboard instrument. In Year 4, in preparation for your next stage it becomes either a mock Masters audition or a mock Professional Orchestral audition. 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.

Staff and masterclasses

The String Department is staffed by artists who enjoy professional careers alongside their work at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The intimate size of the department means that students receive excellent contact hours and attention from the team, whilst benefiting from each staff member’s considerable professional experience and external contacts.

David Watkin – Head of Strings

Visiting Professor

Pedro de Alcantara

Violin

Ilya Gringolts – Visiting Artist

Leland Chen – Visiting Artist

Simon Fischer – Visiting Professor

William Chandler – Co-Leader, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Ruth Crouch

Francis Cummings – Sistema Scotland

Tamás Fejes – Assistant Leader – Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Andrea Gajic

Chris George – Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Katie Hull – Assistant Leader, Scottish Opera

Maya Iwabuchi – Leader, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Gina McCormack

Angus Ramsay – Principal, Scottish Opera

Laura Samuel – Leader, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Justine Watts – Leader, Scottish Ballet

Baroque Violin

Huw Daniel – Dunedin Consort

Ruth Slater – Amsterdam Baroque

Viola

Jane Atkins Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Lev Atlas – Principal, Scottish Opera

Andrew Berridge – Principal, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Scott Dickinson – Section Principal, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Duncan Ferguson – Co-principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Baroque Viola

Alfonso Leal – Dunedin Consort

Violoncello

Robert Irvine – Senior Lecturer, Artistic Director of Red Note Ensemble

Aleksei Kiseliov – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Martin Storey – Principal, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Betsy Taylor – Associate Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Alison Wells

Baroque Cello

Alison McGillivray– Principal, English Concert/ Concerto Caledonia

Double Bass

Tom Berry – Asst Principal, Scottish Opera

Iain Crawford – Asst Principal, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Ana Cordova – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchstra

Nikita Naumov – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Accompanists

Liivi Arder

Chamber Music

Duncan Ferguson – Co-ordinator

Robert Irvine

Bernard Docherty

Xander van Vliet

William Conway

Maya Iwabuchi

Laura Samuel

Alison Wells

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

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is third in the world for performing arts education.

  • High staff-student ratio
  • 90-minute individual lesson on your principal study each week
  • Expert teaching team, many of whom are principal performers in the orchestras of Scotland’s national companies
  • Regular masterclasses from the world’s leading string performers, including Nicola Benedetti, Leland Chen, Ilya Gringolts, Pedro de Alcantara, Raphael Wallfisch and the Brodsky Quartet
  • Numerous professional experience and mentoring schemes available
  • Regular collaborations with Scottish Ensemble, Red Note Ensemble, the RSNO and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • 97% of undergraduate respondents from the School of Music are in employment or further study (HESA, 15/16)

How to apply

Before applying we recommend that you follow our Applicant Guide journey which provides all the essential information regarding entry requirements, and the full application and audition process.

Begin your Applicant Journey here.

 

Making your application

Applications for the BMus programme should be made through the UCAS Conservatoires website. There is a UCAS application fee of £25 (which is in addition to the audition fee) which allows you up to six choices of programme of study.

Preparing for an interview

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

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.

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

Subject recommended

  • Music at Higher, Advanced Higher or A Level or equivalent
  • English at Higher, Advanced Higher or A 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 Schools of Music in their Principal Study.

We offer a flexible approach to students taking Highers over more than one academic year and/or who achieve their qualifications in more than one sitting.

Entrance to the Conservatoire is based on talent, potential and ability, therefore consideration will be given to relevant experience which is deemed to compensate for any traditional education. We accept a wide range of qualification, including international qualifications. If you wish to check the suitability of your qualification/experience, please contact us ( admissions@rcs.ac.uk ).

English language

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).

Other equivalent English Language qualifications may be considered, please contact us (admissions@rcs.ac.uk ) for more information.

  • IELTS – 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component

 

Fees & scholarships

Tuition fees for academic year 2017-18

  • Scottish/EU Students – £1,820
  • Rest of UK (RUK) Students – £9,250
  • International (Non EU) – £15,513

Scottish/EU 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 their 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 financeWales , or student finance Northern Ireland as appropriate.

International students

Students from outside the EU typically fund higher education by a variety of resources, depending on the home country. More specific information on funding options relevant to specific countries can be found here .

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 needs.

Viola Scholarships

We offer viola scholarships worth 75% tuition fee per year. More information about these scholarships is available through the Admissions department. Please contact us at admissions@rcs.ac.uk

Sources of external funding

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

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.

Auditions

Violin

Performance:

  • 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

Scales may be required; sight-reading may be given.

Viola

Performance:

  • 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

Scales may be required; sight-reading may be given.

Cello

Performance:

  • 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

Scales may be required; sight-reading may be given.

Double Bass

Performance:

  • 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

Scales may be required; sight-reading may be given.

 

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.