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BMus Timpani and Percussion

Introduction

The very complex nature of the modern Timpani and Percussion environment demand an extensive and well balanced curriculum so that students may experience and study as much related material as possible as well as to formulate a focused approach towards appropriate progress during the 4 year course.

The RCS is fortunate to have many of the very finest professional performers and very experienced educators to deliver this curriculum whilst inviting a number of professional visiting artists to provide an open-minded approach with regard to technique, style in performance and presentation.

The first year will concentrate on fundamental technical and musical development, the establishment of correct practice regimes and the enhancement of “listening skills” to facilitate thorough progress in subsequent years

Specialist course components such as Drum Set, Ethnic and Latin American Percussion as well as Baroque Timpani and Marimba will also be introduced in year one of the course along with department activities of weekly Repertoire Classes, and occasional Master Classes by visiting artists. Students are expected to consolidate the in depth delivery of the curriculum by the end of their first year through rigorous self-controlled practice routines.

During years 2,3 and 4 advanced degrees of technical and musical ability need to be achieved, allowing for better stylistic and interpretative considerations, leading to a more expressive and mature professionalism. In the event that a student displays exceptional ability in the related areas of study, consideration will be afforded whether such a student should be encouraged to specialise or continue with the “all in” joint study program.

It is our aim to provide the fullest possible exposure to all timpani/percussion and related study components without compromising standards in order to equip students with the skills for a varied and rewarding career as well as the skills for further development.

Introduction

The very complex nature of the modern Timpani and Percussion environment demand an extensive and well balanced curriculum so that students may experience and study as much related material as possible as well as to formulate a focused approach towards appropriate progress during the 4 year course.

The RCS is fortunate to have many of the very finest professional performers and very experienced educators to deliver this curriculum whilst inviting a number of professional visiting artists to provide an open-minded approach with regard to technique, style in performance and presentation.

The first year will concentrate on fundamental technical and musical development, the establishment of correct practice regimes and the enhancement of “listening skills” to facilitate thorough progress in subsequent years

Specialist course components such as Drum Set, Ethnic and Latin American Percussion as well as Baroque Timpani and Marimba will also be introduced in year one of the course along with department activities of weekly Repertoire Classes, and occasional Master Classes by visiting artists. Students are expected to consolidate the in depth delivery of the curriculum by the end of their first year through rigorous self-controlled practice routines.

During years 2,3 and 4 advanced degrees of technical and musical ability need to be achieved, allowing for better stylistic and interpretative considerations, leading to a more expressive and mature professionalism. In the event that a student displays exceptional ability in the related areas of study, consideration will be afforded whether such a student should be encouraged to specialise or continue with the “all in” joint study program.

It is our aim to provide the fullest possible exposure to all timpani/percussion and related study components without compromising standards in order to equip students with the skills for a varied and rewarding career as well as the skills for further development.

Programme structure

Below you’ll see an overview of what’s required for each year of the programme. Common to all years are Creative and Contextual Studies, lessons in one-to-one Timpani and Percussion, performance classes, and the chance to be involved in masterclasses and competitions. There will also be Orchestral repertoire classes, reflecting a full sectional situation, and a series of group lectures.

The Timpani and Percussion profession demands advanced levels of technical and musical ability, a variety of stylistic and interpretative knowledge, and mature professionalism. Dedicated to maintaining the highest possible standards, it is our aim to provide the fullest possible exposure to all Timpani and Percussion instruments through all four years of this programme.

Year 1
You’ll benefit from 90 minutes individual tuition each week, alternating between Timpani and Percussion, and also classes in Creative and Contextual Studies.

To ensure progress in later years you’ll need to develop technical skills, including stroke techniques and enhanced listening skills, and also show a degree of musical awareness and interpretive ability. A thorough understanding of Timpani and all Percussion instruments is required and performances will need to be focused and fluent.

Your first year will need to concentrate on establishing a rigorous and self-controlled practice routine. Specialist course components will include Drum Set, Ethnic and Latin American Percussion as well as Baroque Timpani and Marimba along with department activities of weekly Repertoire Classes, Performance Classes, and masterclasses by visiting artists.

Year 2
You’ll benefit from 90 minutes individual tuition each week, alternating between Timpani and Percussion, and also classes in Creative and Contextual Studies.

Musical personality and interpretive ability are expected in year two, along with the ability to resolve technical issues with success. An increasing variety of tone-qualities and stylistic awareness should be evident and you’ll concentrate on tone production and projection along with remedial technical issues across the disciplines.

Year 3
You’ll benefit from 90 minutes individual tuition each week, alternating between Timpani and Percussion, and also classes in Creative and Contextual Studies.

Year three will form the basis for further development and refinement of all areas of Timpani study (including Baroque Timpani). A very demanding program is set for advanced study and all work presented must display evidence of considered planning and confident presentation. You’ll be required to approach larger structures with confidence and a much advanced range of styles. Now closer to your final recital, you’ll need to be deemed capable of presenting a short public recital programme with confidence. You’ll also be expected to study the “Probespiel Book”.

On successful completion of your third year, there’s also the opportunity for specialization to be considered.

Year 4
You’ll benefit from 90 minutes individual tuition each week, alternating between Timpani and Percussion (or the agreed specialization/s) and also classes in Creative and Contextual Studies.

Professionalism and interpretive maturity must now be evident and all work must be stylistically informed, fluent as well as individually communicative. Lessons will now focus on an intimate knowledge of the entire repertoire, with direct concentration on technical and mature musical understanding. The very complex and demanding curriculum will need to be performed to a high professional standard and professional audition material will also be under constant review.

Your end of year final recital will be in two parts. Part one will be a detailed 45 minute exam of orchestral literature, divided equally between Timpani and Percussion. Part two will be a public recital of 35 minutes. Students will also be required to complete a Personal Development Record in year 4 which will be assessed.

Staff and masterclasses

The department tutors include principal players from the UK’s leading orchestras, as well as leading specialists, all of whom are active at the highest professional level.

Head of Timpani and Percussion: Kurt-Hans Goedicke Hon. Ram – Principal Timpanist Emeritus, London Symphony Orchestra

Timpani

Ruari Donaldson – Principal Timpanist, Scottish Opera

Gordon Rigby –Principal Timpanist, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Percussion

Tom Hunter – former Ass. Timpanist/Percussionist, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Norway

Alasdair Kelly – freelance, formerly of the Opera of Bologna, Italy

Simon Lowden ARAM – Principal Percussion, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

John Poulter – Co-Principal Timpani and Percussion, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

 

Special consultants

Dave Hassell, Drum Set, Latin American/Ethnic Percussion – Session musician and renowned clinician

Eric Sammut, International Marimba Consultant – Marimba soloist and international clinician

Christopher Lamb, RCS International Fellow – Manhattan School of Music, Principal Percussion New York Philharmonic Orchestra

 

Masterclasses

  • Colin Currie : International Percussion Soloist and Clinician
  • Sam Walton : Eminent Percussionist
  • Birger Sulsbrück : Internationally Renowned Cuban Percussion Expert
  • Leigh Howard Stevens : Internationally Famous Marimbist and Clinician
  • Yasmin Kolberg Kroumata : Internationally celebrated Marimbist and Clinician
  • Dame Evelyn Glennie : International Percussion Soloist
  • David Searcy : Principal Timpanist La Scala Milan and International Clinician
  • Simon Carrington : Principal Timpanist The London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Keith Aleo & Neil Grover : Avidas Zildjian Company
  • Neil Percy : Principal Percussion London Symphony Orchestra

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 need. More information about Scholarships is available here

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.

Graduate destinations

In preparation for your professional career, our Timpani and Percussion department provides excel lent facilities for study, practice, and performance. These include three large dedicated studios with a full and plentiful range of the highest quality instruments. You’ll have weekly one-to-one lessons with renowned professional performers, enhanced by repertoire classes, as well as specialized individual and class tuition in Latin American, Ethnic Percussion, and Drum Set provided by six visits per academic year for two days each. Although tuition is directed towards orchestral repertoire, we’ve developed well-established traditions of solo performance and also offer a Solo-Marimba provision.

We welcome artists from around the world to give clinics, workshops, and masterclasses, and recent visitors have included Dame Evelyn Glennie, Colin Currie, Sam Walton, Birger Sulsbrück, Leigh Howard Stevens, Eric Sammut, Simon Carrington, Keith Aleo and Neil Grover, and Neil Percy amongst many others.

Chris Lamb (New York Philharmonic and Manhattan School of Music) is our International Fellow in Percussion, and makes three two and a half day teaching visits each academic year. Eric Sammut (Orchestre de Paris and Conservatoire de Paris) visits to teach six times each academic year.

As well as working with your fellow student musicians, you’ll have opportunities to collaborate across the disciplines. You may be part of a band for Musical Theatre performances, providing music for film, or joining forces with composers to create new works – the opportunities are unlimited.

You’ll gain lots of performance experience in a number of learning and professional contexts. You’ll work with our ensembles in symphonic, chamber, opera, wind orchestra, brass, and Big Band repertoire in the Conservatoire and external venues. We operate a number of side-by-side schemes with Scotland’s leading orchestras, where you can experience the realities of the working world in a supportive environment. You’ll benefit from the guidance and mentoring of professional musicians, performing in some of Scotland’s major concert halls and venues.

Recent Timpani and Percussion graduate John Poulter is now Associate Principal Percussion with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. James Gorman is a freelance drummer and percussionist currently playing Percussion on the UK tour of Evita. Graduates Philip Hague and Louis Abbott have achieved considerable success with their band Admiral Fallow. They have two critically acclaimed albums to their name, have recently been signed by Vancouver-based label Nettwerk and have toured throughout the UK, Europe and the USA.

Facilities

The Department occupies 3 large Studios, one designated “ Marimba only Room” and a lock-up facility at Concert Hall Stage Level where a set of 4 Timpani and chair, 1 Bass Drum and a set of Tubular Bells are housed for use and easy access to the Concert Hall Stage.

Each Studio is fully equipped with 1 set of 4 Timpani + piccolo and Timpani Chair, one 5 oct. Marimba, one 4oct. Xylophone, one Pedal Glockenspiel, one Vibraphone. All tuned instruments are height adjustable. One Drum set, multiple orchestral Snare Drums. Tom Toms and a large variety of very high quality Hardware plus Bass Drums, Tam Tams etc.

The Department may not have a thunder-sheet, an anvil or a wind-machine but everything else is available in sufficiently large quantities to service all arising needs.

Images and videos

Percussion Masterclass