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BMus Woodwind

Introduction

Head of Woodwind, Heather Nicoll DRSAMD MA

The Woodwind department has an international reputation for developing leading musicians. Our team of dedicated staff includes many of Britain’s finest woodwind players, with world-class reputations as soloists, orchestral, and chamber musicians. The department delivers an intensive and dynamic training and provides a supportive and collaborative environment to talented musicians from all over the world. Through our extensive one-to-one specialist care and invaluable performance exposure, the department ensures a challenging and inspiring environment to promote excellence.

Why study here?

Unparalleled one-to-one tuition

Students receive 90min principal study lessons and additional 30min lessons are available on both a related instrument and second study of choice.

Performance Collaborations with International Artists

Weekly tuition is enhanced by regular visits from distinguished guest artists from across the globe. Students benefit from creative collaborations with those artists in addition to the masterclass programme.

Diverse Performance Opportunities

All woodwind students benefit from the enormous range of performance opportunities. Symphony, chamber and wind orchestra performances, opera productions, wind ensembles and chamber experience are also central to the training of each student. We encourage you to form your own ensembles and offer professional coaching to support your work.

Side-by-side Concert Series

All woodwind students will have the opportunity from Year 1 to perform alongside professional musicians in our Monday @ 1 concert series. RCS staff members and visiting artists perform in chamber ensembles with our students throughout their training.

Stevenson Winds

The department’s elite ensemble, Stevenson Winds, provides students with intensive coaching from professional players and offers extensive performing experience alongside those professionals in prestigious events across the country.

Unique Apprenticeship Schemes

Students are given the best possible start to their performing careers, participating in public performances, TV broadcasts, and worldwide tours with Scotland’s major orchestras and ensembles. We currently run schemes with the BBC SSO, RSNO, Orchestra of Scottish Opera and Red Note Ensemble.

Fantastic Concerto opportunities

Annual professional concerto performances with both the BBC SSO and the RSNO are available to students. Further concerto opportunities with the RCS Symphony and Wind Orchestras are available & offer performing experience throughout the country in prestigious venues.

Professional Accompanist Provision

A professional accompanist is provided for students throughout their training. Weekly rehearsal sessions with Scott Mitchell are available in preparation for performance classes, competitions and examinations.

Woodwind Venues

A dedicated reed-making room provides superb equipment and facilities for regular classes in this specialist art and the David Nicholson Room provides flautists with a devoted rehearsal and practice space.

Introduction

Head of Woodwind, Heather Nicoll DRSAMD MA

The Woodwind department has an international reputation for developing leading musicians. Our team of dedicated staff includes many of Britain’s finest woodwind players, with world-class reputations as soloists, orchestral, and chamber musicians. The department delivers an intensive and dynamic training and provides a supportive and collaborative environment to talented musicians from all over the world. Through our extensive one-to-one specialist care and invaluable performance exposure, the department ensures a challenging and inspiring environment to promote excellence.

Why study here?

Unparalleled one-to-one tuition

Students receive 90min principal study lessons and additional 30min lessons are available on both a related instrument and second study of choice.

Performance Collaborations with International Artists

Weekly tuition is enhanced by regular visits from distinguished guest artists from across the globe. Students benefit from creative collaborations with those artists in addition to the masterclass programme.

Diverse Performance Opportunities

All woodwind students benefit from the enormous range of performance opportunities. Symphony, chamber and wind orchestra performances, opera productions, wind ensembles and chamber experience are also central to the training of each student. We encourage you to form your own ensembles and offer professional coaching to support your work.

Side-by-side Concert Series

All woodwind students will have the opportunity from Year 1 to perform alongside professional musicians in our Monday @ 1 concert series. RCS staff members and visiting artists perform in chamber ensembles with our students throughout their training.

Stevenson Winds

The department’s elite ensemble, Stevenson Winds, provides students with intensive coaching from professional players and offers extensive performing experience alongside those professionals in prestigious events across the country.

Unique Apprenticeship Schemes

Students are given the best possible start to their performing careers, participating in public performances, TV broadcasts, and worldwide tours with Scotland’s major orchestras and ensembles. We currently run schemes with the BBC SSO, RSNO, Orchestra of Scottish Opera and Red Note Ensemble.

Fantastic Concerto opportunities

Annual professional concerto performances with both the BBC SSO and the RSNO are available to students. Further concerto opportunities with the RCS Symphony and Wind Orchestras are available & offer performing experience throughout the country in prestigious venues.

Professional Accompanist Provision

A professional accompanist is provided for students throughout their training. Weekly rehearsal sessions with Scott Mitchell are available in preparation for performance classes, competitions and examinations.

Woodwind Venues

A dedicated reed-making room provides superb equipment and facilities for regular classes in this specialist art and the David Nicholson Room provides flautists with a devoted rehearsal and practice space.

Programme structure

BMus – Woodwind

Our BMus Programme is a four year course designed to promote excellence in your chosen specialism.

Years 1 – 4

One-to-one tuition

At the heart of the programme our students receive an intensive training in a 1-2-1 teaching capacity. All BMus woodwind students receive 90min principal study lessons and additional 30min lessons are available on both a related instrument and second study of choice.

1-2-1 teaching isfurther contextualised through the departmental supporting studies programme. Woodwind activitiescomprise the core 1-2-1 lessons, performance, repertoire and technique classes, (reed-making if relevant), chamber music collaborations, orchestral and operatic productions, ensemble work and masterclasses.

Valuable performance experience is central to our training and students across all years of the programme benefit from the vast performance opportunities from the off. A unique strand in our programme is the huge amount of performance collaborations with professional artists. Students performing alongside their tutors or visiting artists is common place in the Woodwind Department (please see our departmental introduction and masterclasses for more details).

All BMus woodwind students are assessed in their principal discipline (and related instrument where relevant) by way of two main examinations:

Technical Examination: Year 1 – 3 students present a study, scales (with specified discipline requirements) and orchestral excerpts.

The Year 4 technical examination takes the form of an orchestral audition and students present an unaccompanied recital work, orchestral excerpts and are given sight-reading.

The specialist technique classes delivered regularly throughout the programme by our expert staff are in addition to both the 1-2-1 tuition and masterclasses. They offer added valuable training in developing technique.

Recital: Year 1 – 4 students present a programme of varied repertoire(recitals in year 3 & 4 are public).

Weekly rehearsal sessions with our professional accompanist Scott Mitchell are available for Woodwind students, and regular performance classes in our main recital venues provide students with excellent support in preparing their end of year recitals.

The BMus programme promotes RCS students as autonomous and creative learners and there is choice and flexibility built in to its design to allow students to tailor their training to support their personal ambitions.

In addition to the core performance activities and assessments, Woodwind students can choose further assessment routes from a performance folio:

Orchestral/Ensemble Performance assessed in a public orchestral /ensemble performance

(Available for Years 1 – 4)

Chamber Performance assessed in a public performance

Available for Years 1 – 4)

Studio Recording assessed in a studio CD recording comprising repertoire appropriate to the specialisms of the student. The student is responsible for the packaging of their CD (should include a promotional sleeve & programme notes.

(Available for Year 3 and 4)

Lecture Recital assessed in a lecture- recital on a relevant specialist subject

(Available for Year 3 and 4)

New Work assessed in a performance or studio recording of a new work and viva examination on the collaborative process with the composer. *

(Available for Year 3 and 4)

Concerto assessed in a concerto performance. Enviable concerto opportunities are available with the BBC SSO, RSNO and RCS Symphony Orchestra (selection by audition).

(Available for Year 3 and 4)

* Students with a passion and aptitude for contemporary performance may wish to work intensively with a student from our composition department to create a new composition for their instrument. Our prestigious contemporary festival ‘PLUG’ offers a public platform to showcase new works.

Staff and masterclasses

Flute

Lorna McGhee – Visiting Flute Consultant, Principal, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Richard Blake – Principal, Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Katherine Bryan – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Alison Mitchell – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Ruth Morley – Red Note Ensemble

Helen Brew – Associate Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Piccolo
Janet Richardson – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Baroque Flute
Elisabeth Dooner – former sub-principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Oboe

Rosie Staniforth – sub-principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Stephen West – ARCM DipPerf RCM

James Horan – BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Amy Turner – Principal, Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Stéphane Rancourt – Principal, The Halle Orchestra

Cor anglais
Stephen West – ARCM DipPerf RCM, former Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Rosie Staniforth – Scottish Chamber Orchestra

James Horan – Principal, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Baroque Oboe
Rosie Staniforth – Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Clarinet
John Cushing – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Yann Ghiro – Principal BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Lawrence Gill – Orchestral of Scottish Opera

E Flat Clarinet
Josef Pacewicz LRAM, ARAM, Associate Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Bass Clarinet
Heather Nicoll DRSAMD MA

Saxophone
Josef Pacewicz LRAM, ARAM

Arno Bornkamp – Visiting Professor in Saxophone www.arnobornkamp.nl/uk/

Bassoon
Janet Bloxwich – Principal, Scottish Opera Orchestra

Alison Green – sub-principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

David Hubbard – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Peter Whelan – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra www.peterwhelan.co.uk

Contra Bassoon
Alan Warhurst – Principal, Orchestra of Scottish Opera HonARAM LRAM

Baroque Bassoon
Peter Whelan – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra www.peterwhelan.co.uk

Accompanist
Scott Mitchell LRAM ARAM

 

Visiting international artists work regularly with our students.

A rich programme of public masterclasses, chamber coaching, lecture recitals and side-by-side performances and professional recordings offer our students a fantastic collaborative and tailored experience with each guest musician.

 

2015/16 visiting artists have included:

– François Leleux Oboe Masterclass

– Arno Borncamp Saxophone Masterclasses/chamber coaching and concerto soloist with the RCS Wind Orchestra

– Sarah Newbold Flute Masterclass

–Gretha Tuls Bassoon Massterclass and performances in the RCS Double-Reed Concert

– Maximiliano Martín Clarinet Masterclass

 

Professional CD collaborations include Blow the Wind Northerly and A Box of Chatter, featuring artists such as Emmanuel Laville.

 

Upcoming events include:

– Ib Hausmann Clarinet Masterclass and performances with Ensemble Modern as part of the RCS contemporary music ‘Plug’ Festival

– Ian Clarke Flute Masterclass

– Joost Bosdijk Bassoon Masterclass

How to apply

Applications for the Woodwind programme should be made through the UCAS Conservatoires website. There is a UCAS application fee of £24 (which is in addition to the audition fee) which allows you up to six choices of programme of study.

Before applying we recommend that you read the Guide for Applicants which provides information regarding entry requirements, and the full application and audition process. Please download the Guide for Applicants – BMus here.

Late applications may be considered, find out more on our Apply for Music page.

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

Audition Requirements

Audition requirements can be found in the BMus Guide for Applicants on the following website

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

Royal Conservatoire Woodwind alumni occupy positions in numerous prestigious orchestras and ensembles worldwide.

Elisabeth Dooner Scottish Chamber Orchestra flute

Peter Dykes Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand principal oboe

Rosie Elliot BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra principal flute

Robert Fairley Orchestra of Scottish Ballet principal clarinet

Lawrence Gill Orchestra of Scottish Opera clarinet

Sheena Gordon Scottish Chamber Orchestra former flute

John Grant Royal Scottish National Orchestra former principal flute

Alison Green Scottish Chamber Orchestra bassoon

John Hall Orchestra of Scottish Opera flute

Michael Hallit Macau Orchestra principal piccolo

Mary James Orchestra of Scottish Ballet oboe

Catriona McKinnon Welsh National Opera principal oboe

Katherine Mackintosh Royal Scottish National Orchestra oboe

Stewart MacIlwham Royal Philharmonic Orchestra principal piccolo

Michelle McCabe Orchestra of Scottish Ballet flute

John McDougall English National Ballet principal bassoon

Lorna McGhee International soloist & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra principal flute

Jenny McHale BBC Philharmonic Orchestra flute

Bryony Middleton Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon oboe

Ruth Morley Scottish Flute Trio/ Red Note Ensemble

Heather Nicoll Head of Woodwind, Orchestra of Scottish Ballet former principal bass clarinet

Paul Rissmann Animateur & Composer www.rissmann.co.uk

Ewan Robertson BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra flute

Lorraine Robertson Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire flute

June Scott Philharmonia Orchestra flute

Ian Scott Royal Ballet Sinfonia principal clarinet

Kathleen Stevenson BBC Symphony Orchestra principal piccolo

Sarah Turner Gran Teatre Del Liceu Orchestra, Barcelona oboe

RusselI Tyler Orquestra do Norte, Portugal principal oboe

Thomas Voelcker Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra principal piccolo

Fraser Gordon Royal Philharmonic Orchestra principal contra bassoon

Samuel Hernandez Avila T enerife Symphony Orchestra clarinet

Kate McDermott Gothenburg Opera Co-Principal Clarinet

Graeme Brown BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Principal Bassoon

Chamber music is highly valued and a growing number of prominent ensembles comprise Royal Conservatoire graduates.

Amici Winds

Flutes En Route

Illuminati Wind Quartet

Northern Lights

Quintet Zambra

Scottish Clarinet Quartet

Sax Ecosse

Sirocco Winds

Scottish Flute Trio

Graeme Brown

Graduate of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and recently appointed Principal Bassoon of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Woodwind Department is ‘ simply the best’. From the word go opportunities are abound for the aspiring woodwind player – and during my time here I have been given many, which I strongly believe would never have been offered to me elsewhere. The woodwind staff are extremely friendly and supportive in helping you to become the musician you want to be.

The early years in the department are a great opportunity to build on existing technique and understand your instrument more, particularly as we are offered a generous weekly 90minute lesson on our principal study and a further 30minutes on our related instrument (in my case, Contra). It prepares you well for the growing performance opportunities, and initial appearances in the Royal Conservatoire’s Symphony and Wind Orchestra’s helped me to build my understanding of orchestral technique early on – a valuable skill.

As a bassoonist, I was also able to do lots of work on reed-making before it ‘ really mattered’. All double reed players know that making your own reeds is very important and at the Royal Conservatoire the Woodwind Department has some of the best provisions for this in the UK. We have a double reed room for exclusive use of double reed students for personal practice and lessons. It also houses the Conservatoire’s reed-making equipment where we received regular reed-making classes.

As you develop through the course more opportunities arise in the form of competitions, concerto performances, large scale symphonic orchestral programmes with internationally renowned conductors, three professional orchestral training schemes, larger scale chamber music, opera orchestra, contemporary ensembles…the list is endless. Everything, I believe, is here for the aspiring woodwind player – great opportunities in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Fraser Langton

Recent Graduate of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland MMus with Distinction

I chose to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland because the quality of the woodwind faculty is amongst the best anywhere. The woodwind staff are top players from Scotland’s professional orchestras and with the orchestral scene buzzing in Glasgow, there are so many chances to see your teachers perform. Already, I have had some fantastic opportunities, which I may not have experienced, had I decided to study elsewhere.

The Royal Conservatoire operates three apprenticeships in conjunction with the RSNO, BBC SSO and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera. This has given me the chance to appreciate the subtleties of the profession first hand. Those opportunities included experiencing playing 2nd clarinet in a professional orchestra, taking part in the complete run of a full opera production as part of the Scottish Opera collaboration. I was also the concerto soloist with the BBC SSO performing Francaix’s Clarinet Concerto, which was an unbelievable experience!

There are also many performance opportunities within the Conservatoire itself. The orchestral programme is diverse and highly developed and there are many other specialist chamber ensembles such as the Stevenson Winds Ensemble that brings in leading artists to direct. There are also regular performance classes and masterclasses given by amazing artists, which heighten your development as a musician.

Facilities

  • Weekly performance, technique and repertoire classes take place in our world-class recital venues providing the ideal environment for your development.
  • A dedicated reed-making room provides superb equipment and facilities for regular classes in this specialist art.
  • The David Nicholson Room provides flautists with a devoted rehearsal and practice space.
  • The RCS possesses, for student use, a wide-ranging and extensive collection of specialist ancillary instruments for both modern and period performance.
  • State of the art studios provide our students with professional recording performance experience. Recent Woodwind Department CD’s are available from our box office (A Box of Chatter & Blow the Wind Northerly).