An Overview

Our staff bring a wealth of experience to their teaching and enjoy active performing and recording careers. You will benefit from their expertise in your weekly one-to-one lesson as well as participating in regular performance classes for solo and chamber music in either one of our concert halls.

Students may also elect to share their 1-1 lessons between two principal study teachers, a practice which is encouraged and supported by the department. Students also have weekly opportunities to work with other members of the keyboard faculty, either by signing up for additional 1-1 piano classes or from the teaching rota in operation for each performance class.

The department also runs an innovative, internal digital platform where all performance classes and concerts are recorded and then stored in a digital archive for our students to consult throughout their studies. This system is supported by a rich array of peer and tutor feedback and has become one of the key innovations in the department’s working practice, enabling students to watch, listen and reflect on their playing as well as supporting the work and development of their peers.

Principal study lessons and performance classes are also complemented by a wide variety of supporting study options, including classical improvisation, conducting, piano technique, organ and harpsichord seminars, and French repertoire classes with world renowned pianist and scholar, Roy Howat. Students may also make quality CD recordings in our state of the art recording studio.

Institution Code:

R58

Programme Code:

MA: 801F / MMus: 890F

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

Option/s — 0, 10 or 20 SCQF credits

Principal Study

The primary focus of your learning will be the Principal Study. This core activity — and in particular, the individual lesson — 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.

In the case of the degrees in Performance, and Historically Informed Performance Practice, the Principal Study is your instrumental or vocal discipline; for the degrees in Opera, Conducting, Repetiteurship, Piano for Dance, and Accompaniment, it refers to the full range of skills associated with those roles, including high-level performance skills.

For the MMus Composition, Principal Study is the practice of composition, within which you may specialise in acoustic or electroacoustic composition. For the MMus Chamber Music, the Principal Study will comprise the ensemble work of the group. Within the credit assigned for Principal Study, the contact hours are flexibly assigned to suit your particular needs as a student.

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. The emphasis is on working with your peers, whether through the presentation of performance classes or collaborative activities such as chamber music, orchestra or ensemble work.

The module also incorporates a series of cohort-wide graduate seminars, addressing such areas as research skills, critical thinking, professional development, reflective practice, health and wellbeing, and equality and diversity.

Practice Research

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 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.

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 2 — 90 SCQF credits

Supporting Studies 2 — 30, 20 or 10 SCQF credits

Option/s — 0, 10 or 20 SCQF credits

Principal Study

The primary focus of your learning will be the Principal Study. This core activity — and in particular, the individual lesson — 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.

In the case of the degrees in Performance, and Historically Informed Performance Practice, the Principal Study is your instrumental or vocal discipline; for the degrees in Opera, Conducting, Repetiteurship, Piano for Dance, and Accompaniment, it refers to the full range of skills associated with those roles, including high-level performance skills.

For the MMus Composition, Principal Study is the practice of composition, within which you may specialise in acoustic or electroacoustic composition. For the MMus Chamber Music, the Principal Study will comprise the ensemble work of the group. Within the credit assigned for Principal Study, the contact hours are flexibly assigned to suit your particular needs as a student.

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. The emphasis is on working with your peers, whether through the presentation of performance classes or collaborative activities such as chamber music, orchestra or ensemble work.

The module also incorporates a series of cohort-wide graduate seminars, addressing such areas as research skills, critical thinking, professional development, reflective practice, health and wellbeing, and equality and diversity.

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 STUDY THIS COURSE?

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)
RCS is a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts. It is one of the world’s most multi-disciplinary arts learning and teaching environments.
Reasons to choose us:
• Competitive scholarships
• Individual lessons per week on your principal study
• Steinway Model B grands in all dedicated piano teaching and practice rooms
• Opportunity to audition to perform a concerto with the RSNO and RCS Symphony Orchestra
• Multitude of performance opportunities, including regular showcase concerts, prestigious concerto opportunities, piano festivals, competitions and chamber music
• Internal competitions with prize money opportunities
• Cutting-edge video technology, recording, documentation and peer feedback provide innovative structures for highly creative learning and development
• Varied programme of masterclasses from distinguished visiting artists; recent visitors include Nikolai Lugansky, Steven Osborne,  Idil Biret, Olga Kern, Andrei Gavrilov, Richard Goode, Angela Hewitt, Bernard d’Ascoli, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Leslie Howard, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Malcolm Martineau and Pascal Rogé

  • Showcasing Talent Worldwide
  • World Class Facilities

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.

Meet The Head Of Keyboard

Aaron Shorr has established an international career as soloist, chamber musician and educator.

He has toured extensively as a recitalist and chamber musician, recorded multiple times for broadcast and commercial release, and worked at the Royal Academy of Music in London as a professor and researcher.

In 2006, Aaron was appointed Head of Keyboard at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In 2013, he was awarded a Professorship from the RCS and from 2013-2015, also served as Acting Director of Music at the RCS.

Meet The Staff

Associate Head of Keyboard
  • Fali Pavri
International Fellow of Piano
  • Steven Osborne
International Fellow in Collaborative Piano
International Visiting Professor in Contemporary Improvisation
Visiting Professor of Piano
  • William Fong
Accordion, Harpsichord & Organ

Accordion

Organ

Harpsichord

Masterclasses

The Keyboard Studies department is fortunate to have masterclasses given by world renowned performers, including:

  • Steven Osborne
  • Leon Fleisher
  • Richard Goode
  • Olga Kern
  • Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
  • Ingo Dannhorn
  • Idil Biret
  • Malcolm Marineau
  • Andre Gavrilov
  • Stephen Hough
  • William Fong
  • Lukas Geniusas
  • Dimitri Bashkirov
  • Dr Roy Howat
  • Dr Leslie Howard
  • Pascal Rogé
  • Roberto Prosseda
  • Louis Lortie
Bachelor of Education Faculty and Keyboard Performance Studies
  • Anna Rastopchina
  • Anna Mavromatidi
  • Sasa Donaldson
  • Ed Cohen
  • Clare Sutherland
  • Silviya Mihaylova
  • Yoon Kyung Kim

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 entrance 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 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.

MMus Performance (2 years) – 890F

MA Performance (1 year) – 801F

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.

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.

Through audition, applicants will be required to demonstrate:

  • a high degree of technical competency on the instrument or voice in the service of specific repertoire
  • an ability to demonstrate a considerable degree of understanding of the repertoire performed
  • an ability to perform specific repertoire convincingly
  • a considerable degree of self-confidence and creativity with respect to the repertoire performed
  • a degree of self-sufficiency, initiative and independence in selecting, preparing and performing a particular programme
  • a developing musical personality

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

Piano Solo

Performance of a programme from memory, comprising not less than three contrasting works (total playing time 25 minutes).

Harpsichord

Performance of a programme comprising not less than three contrasting works (total playing time 25 minutes).

Organ and Accordion

Performance of a programme comprising not less than three contrasting works (total playing time 25 minutes).

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 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

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.