An Overview

Our conducting programmes provide you with the comprehensive and integrated training required of a professional conductor. You will concentrate on the technique and craft of conducting through diverse practical experience with the Royal Conservatoire orchestras, our opera department, and various classical and contemporary ensembles.

Our extensive professional links in Glasgow and across Scotland offer unmatched opportunities to work with and observe the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Red Note Ensemble, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Students at the RCS have masterclasses each year under the guidance of Professor Martyn Brabbins and other conductors with the BBC SSO and RSNO.

Under the guidance of Professor Martyn Brabbins and Conducting Lecturer Michael Bawtree, you will have individual and group lessons, aural classes, discussion forums with industry professionals and the chance to engage with the extensive and varied opportunities that Glasgow – Scotland’s largest and musically most vibrant city – has to offer.

In addition to the MMus/MA programme, the Royal Conservatoire also offers a highly prestigious two-year Conducting Fellowship.

Institution Code:

R58

Programme Code:

MA: 892F / MMus: 840F

UK Deadline:

3 October 2022

International Deadline:

1 December 2022

Programme Structure

The MMus/MA programme is divided into Stage 1 and Stage 2. Stage 1 is common to both degrees, and may also lead to the exit award of PGDip. In Stage 2, MMus and MA students follow different pathways leading to their respective degrees.

Principal Study 1 — 80 SCQF credits

Supporting Studies 1 — 30, 20 or 10 SCQF credits

Practice Research — 10 SCQF credits

Options — 0, 10 or 20 SCQF credits

Principal Study

The primary focus of your learning will be the Principal Study. This core activity will refine the skills essential to meeting the artistic and technical expectations of the programme. It will equip you with many of the skills needed to exercise independent learning and develop the autonomy necessary for a professional career.

As well as regular conducting lessons, the Principal Study offers the opportunity for public performances with ensembles such as the RCS Symphony, Chamber and Concerto orchestras, and new music ensembles such as Music Lab and Red Note.

Supporting Studies

Supporting Studies incorporates many of the distinctive features of conservatoire study, and contributes towards the creation of a near-professional learning environment. In this module, you will have the opportunity to take part in a range of negotiated activities in support of both of your Principal Study and your development as an emerging professional.

As a conducting student you will take part in a range of supporting studies activities that will allow you to work with ensembles ranging from two pianos through to a full orchestra.

Approaches to Critical Artistry

This module challenges you to examine critically an aspect of your arts practice by means of an individually-negotiated portfolio of research, reflection and/or documentation. Over the course of your studies, with the support of a supervisor, you will assemble a portfolio of documentation and reflective writing that interrogates a self-chosen research focus and communicates your findings.

Options

Options give space within the curriculum for you to engage in studies which enhance your professional versatility, by pursuing areas of interest either close to or far away from your core discipline. The range of modules available is very wide, including options drawn from the undergraduate programmes in both the School of Music and the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film. The design of the programme puts no restrictions on the level of the option/s chosen. There is a significant range of choice available in the amount of credit taken in this way, with students free to choose pathways which place greater weight on Supporting Studies.

The MMus/MA programme is divided into Stage 1 and Stage 2. Stage 1 is common to both degrees, and may also lead to the exit award of PGDip. In Stage 2, MMus and MA students follow different pathways leading to their respective degrees.

Stage 2: MMus

Principal Study 2 — 90 SCQF credits

Supporting Studies 2 — 30, 20 or 10 SCQF credits

Options — 0, 10 or 20 SCQF credits

Stage 2: MA

Negotiated Study (or HIPP dissertation) — 60 SCQF credits

MMus or MA?

The MA and MMus programmes share many similarities, with the first three terms of the programme being common to both. The chief differences are in the length and volume of study, and in the pattern of delivery in relation to the four terms that make up the academic calendar. There are also some differences in the programme aims and learning outcomes, and in the proportional number of hours available for principal study lessons.

The MA degree is designed for students who wish to achieve a Masters level qualification in one year, with 180 SCQF credits at level 11 (90 ECTS credits). The programme runs full-time for four terms, 43 weeks in total, with the fourth term being dedicated to a largely independent project. 31 weeks of 90 minutes principal study lessons are offered, to a total of 46.5 hours. (15 minutes a week extra may be allocated to additional study of a related instrument, where appropriate).

The MMus degree is intended for students who are seeking an extended and thorough professional grounding at Masters level in their chosen area of specialism. This is a two-year, full-time programme, leading to 240 SCQF credits at level 11 (120 ECTS credits). The majority of the teaching and learning takes place in terms one, two and three of both years, to a total of 81 hours across the two years (15 minutes a week of additional study may in some cases be allocated to a related study instrument).

Principal Study

The primary focus of your learning will be the Principal Study. This core activity will refine the skills essential to meeting the artistic and technical expectations of the programme. It will equip you with many of the skills needed to exercise independent learning and develop the autonomy necessary for a professional career. As well as regular conducting lessons, the Principal Study offers the opportunity for public performances with ensembles such as the RCS Symphony, Chamber and Concerto orchestras, and new music ensembles such as Music Lab and Red Note.

Supporting Studies

Supporting Studies incorporates many of the distinctive features of conservatoire study, and contributes towards the creation of a near-professional learning environment. In this module, you will have the opportunity to take part in a range of negotiated activities in support both of your Principal Study and your development as an emerging professional. As a conducting student you take part in a range of supporting studies activites that will allow you to work with ensembles ranging from two pianos through to a full orchestra.

Options

Options give space within the curriculum for you to engage in studies which enhance your professional versatility, by pursuing areas of interest either close to or far away from your core discipline. The range of modules available is very wide, including otions drawn from the undergraduate programmes in both the School of Music and the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film. The design of the programme puts no restrictions on the level of the options/s chosen. There is a significant range of choice available in the amount of credit taken in this way, with students free to choose pathways which place greater weight on Supporting Studies.

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)

  • Extensive professional links offer unmatched opportunities to observe and collaborate with the country’s major orchestras, such as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • Close links with the national companies mean you will have the opportunity to build a strong professional network
  • The programme is flexible to offer a clear focus on performance, with substantial scope for both interdisciplinary collaboration and intellectual and academic challenge
  • Weekly aural classes dedicated solely to conductors
  • Our conductors achieve great success in international competitions, including the Solti Competition, James Conlon Conducting Prize at the Aspen Music Festival and the Augsburg International Conductors’ Competition
  • 90-minute individual lesson per week on your principal study

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.

Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship 2021

Our two-year Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship programme is for young conductors on the verge of a career. The Fellowship is offered in association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and includes a generous bursary for the successful candidate.

The Conducting Fellows will work extensively with Martyn Brabbins (Visiting Professor of Conducting), other Conservatoire teaching staff and visiting conductors, and with all the orchestras and ensembles within the Conservatoire. The fellowship will provide a unique blend of training within the context of a supportive Conservatoire environment and extensive professional links with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

The aim of the fellowship is to provide a final bridge between a young conductor’s postgraduate study and their eventual access to the profession itself. Previous Leverhulme Conducting Fellows who have made successful entries into the profession include Jessica Cottis, Ciaran McAuley, Holly Mathieson, Jiri Rozen, Sergej Bolkhovets and Simon Proust.

Applications

You must submit an application via Acceptd where you will be invited to upload your personal information and media. In addition to filmed footage of your conducting, you are invited to submit film of you performing on your principal instrument or recordings of original compositions if you would like to do so in support of your application. If you have already submitted an application earlier in the process via Acceptd, you are welcome to update your contact details, content and/or media links.

Please email admissions@rcs.ac.uk directly with any updated information.

Auditions

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend Glasgow for two days (Thursday 27 and Friday 28 May). As part of the selection process, candidates will work with Red Note Ensemble as well as singers and instrumentalists studying at the RCS. Two or three candidates will be selected from the auditionees to work with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the guidance of Professor Martyn Brabbins. Full details of required repertoire will be forwarded to candidates after the closing date.

Please contact Michael Bawtree, Conducting Coordinator, for any further information: m.bawtree@rcs.ac.uk

Graduate Destinations

Graduates progress to work in the professional field. Recent examples include:

• Konstantinos Terzakis – Assistant Conductor, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
• Fergus Macleod – Recipient of the English National Opera Charles Mackerras Fellowship
• Ciarán McAuley – Resident Conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
• Jessica Cottis – Previously Assistant at the Sydney Symphony, and now Principal Conductor of the Glasgow New Music Expedition
• Holly Mathieson – Assistant Conductor, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
• Jirí Rožen – Assistant Conductor, Czech Philharmonic
• Kerem Hasan – Chief Conductor, Tiroler Symphony Orchestra

Our conducting students have won the Marko and Salzburg Nestlé competitions, were second prize winners in the Solti and Princess Astrid competitions, and our last two Fellows have Assistantships with the RSNO and Czech Philharmonic.

• Simon Proust – 2nd Prize Princess Astrid Competition 2018
• Ryan Bancroft – Malko Competition Winner 2018
• Kerem Hasan – Salzburg Nestlé Competition Winner 2017

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
Academic Entry Requirements

Candidates for both the MMus and MA are normally expected to hold a good honours (at least 2:2) degree, or its overseas equivalent, in a subject area relevant to the demands of the programme.

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.

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 on 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 1st December 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.

MMus Conducting (2 years) – 892F

MA Conducting (1 year) – 840F

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 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

After making an application through UCAS Conservatoires, Conducting applicants should submit a video recording by 1st October 2022 for shortlisting. Recorded auditions can be easily submitted online using Acceptd.

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

The recording should consist of two contrasting works, preferably including both performance and rehearsal time. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an online interview in January with further in person auditions being held in March.

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.

Audition

After making an application through UCAS Conservatoires, Conducting applicants should submit a video recording by 1st December 2022 for shortlisting. Recorded auditions can be easily submitted online using Acceptd. If you submit your audition recording after this date, we cannot guarantee that your audition recording will be reviewed by the audition panel.

The recording should consist of two contrasting works, preferably including both performance and rehearsal time. Your video footage should be between 20-25 minutes and include extracts from at least two contrasting works, if possible showing you in rehearsal and performance. We appreciate COVID-19 may have limited your opportunities to work with ensembles and you may include footage of yourself working with pianos if necessary. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an online interview in January with further in person auditions being held in March. In the first round of the audition procedure, applicants will normally be required to conduct a work with piano.

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition via UCAS Conservatoires track (you will need your username and password).

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

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.

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 offers

If you have received a reserve offer, it means that RCS is not able to offer you a guaranteed place at the time of making our offer. A reserve offer indicates that RCS would like the opportunity to review its offer 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. If RCS chooses not to make you a guaranteed offer, you will not be eligible to start at RCS.

A reserve (VC or VU) offer does not mean a place has been ‘reserved’ for you. Until such time as you receive (and accept) a guaranteed offer (GU or GC) from the Royal Conservatoire, you have not been accepted to study at RCS.

If you have been given a reserve offer, in order to be considered for a guaranteed place (should one become available) you will need to accept the offer (and meet any conditions if applicable).

If you are holding a reserve offer, RCS can elect to make you a guaranteed offer at any time during the application cycle. Reserve offers remain active until after the A-level results have been issued in August so you could have a reserve offer 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.

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

Fees And Scholarships

Scottish students

New Scottish domiciled students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan. All eligible students will be able to apply directly to Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a non-means-tested loan. See the SAAS website for further details of the PSAS scheme.

Scottish domiciled postgraduate students on eligible courses can also apply for a Postgraduate Living Cost Loan to contribute towards living expenses. This is in addition to the existing loan available towards the cost of their tuition fees.

English students

Postgraduate students from England can benefit from a postgraduate loan to be used towards tuition fees and/or living costs.

Northern Irish students

Students from Northern Ireland may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan to help with the cost of their course fees. Please see the Student Finance NI website for more details.

Welsh students

From 1 August 2019, students ordinarily resident in Wales (and those from the EU studying at a Welsh institution) may be entitled to a combination of loan and grant as a contribution to costs while studying a postgraduate Master’s degree course. The total amount of support available is non-means-tested and is paid directly to the student. More information can be found on the Student Finance Wales website.

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 our Fees and Funding page.

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.

Tuition fees for academic year 2022-23

MMus (2 years) – Scottish Students

£9,927 (full-time)

£4,965 (part-time)

MMus (2 years) – Rest of UK (RUK) Students

£9,927 (full-time)

£4,965 (part-time)

MMus (2 years) – International Students (Including EU)

£19,635 (full-time)

£9,819 (part-time)

MA (1 year) – Scottish Students

£13,464

MA (1 year) – Rest of UK (RUK) Students

£13,464

MA (1 year) – International Students (Including EU)

£23,601

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