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MMus/MA Scottish Music

Introduction

Welcome to the MMus/MA (Scottish Music). You begin your postgraduate studies with the core of your musical personality – the skills, understandings and attitudes that define you as a traditional musician or piper – already established; your postgraduate studies should nurture that existing artistic personality so that you can really make a difference in the fields in which you choose to work. The programme offers advanced training to talented traditional musicians from a diverse range of undergraduate degrees or their equivalent, allowing you to refine and extend your musicianship in the context of your own aspirations. Most importantly, we have designed it so that you take ownership of the learning process throughout the degree and beyond it, whether in the professional world or in higher studies (such as a PhD).

Our staff are professional performers, composers, and scholars of Scottish traditional music with active careers. They understand the challenges that you’ll face in your own career and can provide help and advice as you progress. As well as working with our elite core staff, you’ll get the opportunity to learn from visiting artists and academics from all over the world.

There’s a great atmosphere in the department and the Conservatoire as a whole; it’s a close-knit community where you end up performing and gigging with other students and staff, and making friends for life.

As for professional and institutional collaborations, we work closely with the National Piping Centre, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and the Celtic Connections festival in delivering a varied and vocationally robust experience for its students. We also possess long-standing exchange agreements with a host of European and North American universities, allowing you to study for a term or year abroad – including East Tennessee State University’s world-famous bluegrass and old-time music programme, Sibelius Academy (Finland) and the Irish Music and Dance department of the University of Limerick, among many others.

Piping tuition on the MMus is delivered in collaboration with the National Piping Centre, which is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in Highland Bagpipe teaching.

Introduction

Welcome to the MMus/MA (Scottish Music). You begin your postgraduate studies with the core of your musical personality – the skills, understandings and attitudes that define you as a traditional musician or piper – already established; your postgraduate studies should nurture that existing artistic personality so that you can really make a difference in the fields in which you choose to work. The programme offers advanced training to talented traditional musicians from a diverse range of undergraduate degrees or their equivalent, allowing you to refine and extend your musicianship in the context of your own aspirations. Most importantly, we have designed it so that you take ownership of the learning process throughout the degree and beyond it, whether in the professional world or in higher studies (such as a PhD).

Our staff are professional performers, composers, and scholars of Scottish traditional music with active careers. They understand the challenges that you’ll face in your own career and can provide help and advice as you progress. As well as working with our elite core staff, you’ll get the opportunity to learn from visiting artists and academics from all over the world.

There’s a great atmosphere in the department and the Conservatoire as a whole; it’s a close-knit community where you end up performing and gigging with other students and staff, and making friends for life.

As for professional and institutional collaborations, we work closely with the National Piping Centre, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and the Celtic Connections festival in delivering a varied and vocationally robust experience for its students. We also possess long-standing exchange agreements with a host of European and North American universities, allowing you to study for a term or year abroad – including East Tennessee State University’s world-famous bluegrass and old-time music programme, Sibelius Academy (Finland) and the Irish Music and Dance department of the University of Limerick, among many others.

Piping tuition on the MMus is delivered in collaboration with the National Piping Centre, which is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in Highland Bagpipe teaching.

Programme Outline

The MMus programme is made up of four modules. As well as incorporating your one-to-one lessons, the Principal Study offers a range of assessment choices, including solo, collaborative and studio recording options. In the second year you will undertake an independent project, allowing you to create your own unique assessment around a particular area of specialism.

The Supporting Studies module offers a range of experiences in support of your principal study, including performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, rehearsals and concerts. The programme is completed by the Approaches to Critical Artistry module, in which you carry out a practice-based research project, and up to two Elective modules in each year of study.

The structure of the one-year MA programme is similar, including Principal Study, Supporting Studies, Approaches to Critical Artistry and the option to take one Elective. This programme is completed by the Negotiated Study module, offering the opportunity to pursue an significant period of independent study in an area of your own choosing.

Full details of the structure of both the MMus and MA degrees are in the MMus-MA Guide for Applicants 2015-16, which can be found at http://www.rcs.ac.uk/studyhere/how-to-apply/music/.

Staff and masterclasses

Head of Scottish Music

Joshua Dickson MA PhD

Artistic Director of Scottish Music

Prof Phil Cunningham Hon DUniv Hon DLitt MBE

Lecturer in Practical Studies

Jenn Butterworth BA Hons PG Cert

Accordions

Ian Muir

John Somerville

Bagpipes

Finlay MacDonald BA (Head of Piping Studies, National Piping Centre)
Stuart Samson
Chris Armstrong

Glenn Brown

Frequent visiting tutors for piping include Barnaby Brown, Iain MacInnes, Fred Morrison, Roderick D Cannon, Hugh Cheape, Mike Katz and many more.

Professional Practice (groupwork, stagecraft, business studies and touring)

Hamish Napier BA Hons MA (Jazz Theory)

Jenn Butterworth BA Hons PG Cert
Marc Duff
Alistair McCulloch BA Hons

Dance
Sheila McCutcheon
Ian Muir

Frequent visiting tutors for dance include Mats Melin MA Hons.

Fiddle
Alistair McCulloch BA (Hons)
Marie Fielding

Pete Clark BSc (Hons)

Flute

Tom Oakes
Hamish Napier BA Hons MA (Jazz Theory)

Folklore and Fieldwork Techniques

Margaret Bennett DCE BA MA PhD

Gaelic Language

Calum Ross MA

Gaelic Song

Iseabail T NicDhomhnaill
Màiri MacInnes

Guitar

Jack Evans
Kevin MacKenzie
Jenn Butterworth BA Hons PG Cert

Percussion
Eric Ward
Marc Duff

Piano

Mary McCarthy
James Ross BA
Hamish Napier BA Hons MA (Jazz Theory)

Scottish Harp

Corrina Hewat
Heather Downie

Scottish Music Theory (musicianship, transcription, composition and accompaniment)

Talitha MacKenzie
Hamish Napier BA Hons MA (Jazz Theory)
Kevin MacKenzie

Scots Language

Wojtek Gardela BA MSc PGDE FHEA

Scots Song

Gordeanna McCulloch
Rod Patterson MA
Anne Neilson

Alison McMorland and Fiona Hunter are frequent visiting tutors for Scots Song.

Songwriting

James Grant

Other Teaching Staff

Rachel Drury BA MMus PhD (Techniques of Teaching)
Lori Watson BA PhD (Scottish Music in History, Society & Tradition; Honours Projects)
Craig Haggart PhD (Scottish Music in History, Society & Tradition)

Frequent visiting tutors in Scottish Music in History include Fred Freeman, Sheena Wellington, Alison Kinnaird, Stuart Eydmann, Margaret Callan and many more.

Masterclasses

The Scottish Music department holds weekly masterclasses during Trimester 1 or 2, led by world-famous tradition-bearers, teachers and professional musicians from a broad range of Scottish music. Masterclass artists of recent years include:

Fiddle

Chris Stout

Allan Henderson

Aidan O’Rourke

Douglas Lawrence

Aaron Lewis

Jamie Laval

Aonghas Grant Sr

Adam Sutherland

Liz Carroll

Accordion

Angus Lyon

Sandy Brechin

Iain MacPhail

John Somerville

Kathleen Boyle

Clarsach

Mary MacMaster

Simon Chadwick

Corrina Hewitt

Lily Neill

Maeve Gilchrist

Siobhán Armstrong

Bill Taylor

The Duplets (Freya Thompson and Gillian Fleetwood)

Piping

Roddy J MacLeod

Fraser Fifield

John Wilson

Finlay MacDonald

Rona Lightfoot

Fred Morrison

Scots song

Sheila Stewart

Elizabeth Stewart

Alison McMorland

Sara Grey

Tom Spiers

Mick West

Gaelic song

Anne Lorne Gillies

Griogor Labhraidh

Margaret Stewart

Rona Lightfoot

Guitar

Innes Watson

Other

Brendan Taaffe (American folksong)

Rannock (Danish fiddle & keyboard duet)

Fraser Fifield (whistles)

Findlay Napier (songwriting)

Thomas McCarthy (traveller songs and culture)

Violet Tulloch (Shetland paino accompaniment)

Nick Gareiss (traditional and extemporised dance)

Alasdair Roberts (ballad singing and songwriting)

Tigerstyle (Sikh dubstep)

Skip Gorman (American folksong & fiddling)

Pete Coe (Repertoire development, performance & presentation)

Dave Francis (Musical innovation)

Simon Thoumire

Dave Milligan

Anna Massie

Mairearad Green

Audition requirements

Scottish Music

The interview will explore the applicant’s understanding of the demands of the programme, knowledge of the repertoire, aspects of performance practice, performance experience and attitudes, and professional aspirations.

Audition

Performance of a programme of approximately 15 minutes on the principal study. The programme should be performed unaccompanied, unless self-accompanied for one or two items (e.g. clarsach player accompanying own singing, or singers accompanying themselves on another instrument). Applicants are asked to give brief spoken introductions to each item performed and their own compositions may be included.

Applicants will be asked to undertake a brief sight-reading test and an aural test. In the latter, the applicant will be asked to reproduce a short piece sung or played to them by the panel specialist.

 

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 MMus/MA 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.

Entry requirements

  • Normally a good Honours (at least 2.2) degree, or its overseas equivalent, in a subject area relevant to the demands of the programme

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 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 admissions@rcs.ac.uk for more information.

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

Audition Requirements

Find out more about the audition on our Guide for Applicants.

Fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for academic year 2017-18

  • MMus Scottish Music (2 years) UK/EU Students – £8,094
  • MMus Scottish Music (2 years) International (non-EU) – £15,513
  • MA Scottish Music (1 year) UK/EU Students – £10,983
  • MA Scottish Music (1 year) International (non-EU) – £18,648

Scottish/EU students

New Scottish and EU 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 of up to £3,400. See the following website for further details of the PSAS scheme:

http://www.saas.gov.uk/full_time/pg/index.htm

Scottish domiciled postgraduate students on eligible courses can also apply for a Postgraduate Living Cost Loan up to £4,500 towards living expenses. This is in addition to the existing loan available towards the cost of their tuition fees.

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

The Royal Conservatoire’s MMus graduates work professionally in orchestras, ensembles and opera houses in the UK and abroad. Many build portfolio careers, combining part-time and freelance performance with teaching, community engagement, and work in allied areas such as music administration.

Some noted alumni of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s MMus (Scottish Music) programme include Hayley Hewitt (class of 2013), who went on to win the Scottish Harp Society of America’s 2013 National Championship , and William Woodson, noted American piper, pipe-maker and innovator.

Facilities

Scottish Music is based, appropriately enough, at the heart of the Royal Conservatoire, occupying its centrally-located Studio C recording, rehearsal and teaching area. The Royal Conservatoire’s Studio C is a large yet intimate space at the heart of the Renfrew Street campus, functioning as the living hub of BA Scottish Music activity at the Royal Conservatoire (including band studies, group projects, masterclasses and informal sessions) and providing state of the art rehearsal, recording, PA and storage facilities.

Practice accommodation in the Royal Conservatoire’s Renfrew Street campus has increased prodigiously in recent years, accommodating all types of musical activity, from solo to band, singing to piping. The National Piping Centre offers further purpose-designed practice space for Highland piping students.

Areas within the building have been wifi-enabled and all students have access to the network using their own laptops and portable devices.

IT provision in the Whittaker Library has increased in recent years to accommodate 16 PC workstations, (incorporating Sibelius 7), bringing the total open access student PC provision to 52 machines (and counting). This is further enhanced by the Royal Conservatoire’s Digital Training Unit and Language Lab facilities.

Students have access to over 70 relevant e-journals and 14 electronic databases and online archives, including Tobar an Dualchais / Kist o Riches, HOTBED, Oxford Music Online, IPA Source, JStor and Naxos. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Whittaker Library continues to support Scottish Music students via a dedicated full-time Music Librarian and a full-time Performance Librarian.

Just as the Scottish Music Department occupies the heart of the Conservatoire, so the Conservatoire occupies the heart of Glasgow, a UNESCO City of Music. Students can take advantage of our central location to avail themselves of the National Piping Centre, the Scottish Music Centre at City Halls, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and a teeming network of folk music sessions at pubs throughout the city.

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