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MMus/MA Timpani and Percussion

Introduction

The very complex nature of the modern Timpani and Percussion environment demand an extensive and well balanced curriculum so that students may experience and study as much related material as possible as well as to formulate a focused approach towards appropriate progress during the 1 or 2 year course.

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

The listed curriculum represents knowledge and skills that the future professional player needs to acquire hence its complexity. The Post Graduate Course will engage with the study of this Curriculum in considerable depth of advanced musical understanding and artistic integrity. At the outset of each postgraduate student’s course varying requirements may be identified. These will be taken into consideration as much as possible in order that the course may be tailored accordingly whilst not compromising its purpose and integrity

It is the RCS’s aim to provide the fullest possible exposure to all Timpani/Percussion and related study components without compromising standards in order to equip students with the skills for a varied and rewarding career as well as the skills for further development

An end of year exam is designed to perform a comprehensive test of the student’s ability on all aspects of post-grad. studies undertaken and will be conducted in as professional audition like a manner as possible.

This practice intends to familiarise students with professional audition procedure. Pieces to be auditioned will be made known to the student 4 weeks prior to the exam.

Specialisation

Whilst having full regard to the declared aims of the program, both in the departmental Handbook and the M.Mus Program Handbook, on rare occasions a student may express the wish to desire specialisation in either Timpani or Percussion only. This will require the agreement of both principal study tutors and the endorsement of the Head of Department before the request for such a course amendment can be forwarded to the Head of Postgraduate Programs for consideration. If approved, the credit ratings and one-to-one lesson allocation previously attached to the discipline to be voided will then be added to the specialisation discipline(s) in direct consultation with the tutors concerned leaving the overall Principal Study Credits as before. The student should also be aware that his/her “Final Recital and Exam will need to reflect such specialisation.

When specialising in Percussion only, a student may also choose to enhance either Drum Set or Marimba within the (Percussion only) discipline. The credits made available from the Timpani part of the principal study course element will then be proportionally distributed to reflect this as well as the contact time.

A Timpani only specialisation will also mean a further enhancement of the Baroque Timpani discipline. The credit distribution and contact time will be appropriately adjusted to reflect this type of specialisation .

A Marimba only specialisation is also available at M. Mus level for which a mutually agreed learning contract will be negotiated.

Introduction

The very complex nature of the modern Timpani and Percussion environment demand an extensive and well balanced curriculum so that students may experience and study as much related material as possible as well as to formulate a focused approach towards appropriate progress during the 1 or 2 year course.

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

The listed curriculum represents knowledge and skills that the future professional player needs to acquire hence its complexity. The Post Graduate Course will engage with the study of this Curriculum in considerable depth of advanced musical understanding and artistic integrity. At the outset of each postgraduate student’s course varying requirements may be identified. These will be taken into consideration as much as possible in order that the course may be tailored accordingly whilst not compromising its purpose and integrity

It is the RCS’s aim to provide the fullest possible exposure to all Timpani/Percussion and related study components without compromising standards in order to equip students with the skills for a varied and rewarding career as well as the skills for further development

An end of year exam is designed to perform a comprehensive test of the student’s ability on all aspects of post-grad. studies undertaken and will be conducted in as professional audition like a manner as possible.

This practice intends to familiarise students with professional audition procedure. Pieces to be auditioned will be made known to the student 4 weeks prior to the exam.

Specialisation

Whilst having full regard to the declared aims of the program, both in the departmental Handbook and the M.Mus Program Handbook, on rare occasions a student may express the wish to desire specialisation in either Timpani or Percussion only. This will require the agreement of both principal study tutors and the endorsement of the Head of Department before the request for such a course amendment can be forwarded to the Head of Postgraduate Programs for consideration. If approved, the credit ratings and one-to-one lesson allocation previously attached to the discipline to be voided will then be added to the specialisation discipline(s) in direct consultation with the tutors concerned leaving the overall Principal Study Credits as before. The student should also be aware that his/her “Final Recital and Exam will need to reflect such specialisation.

When specialising in Percussion only, a student may also choose to enhance either Drum Set or Marimba within the (Percussion only) discipline. The credits made available from the Timpani part of the principal study course element will then be proportionally distributed to reflect this as well as the contact time.

A Timpani only specialisation will also mean a further enhancement of the Baroque Timpani discipline. The credit distribution and contact time will be appropriately adjusted to reflect this type of specialisation .

A Marimba only specialisation is also available at M. Mus level for which a mutually agreed learning contract will be negotiated.

Programme Outline

This vocational programme attracts only the most dedicated and motivated students. Taught by a faculty of specialists, educationalists, and Principal players from professional orchestras, it offers training in the multiple disciplines of modern Timpani and Percussion. Our three large studios are furnished with the highest quality instruments for your study, practice, and performance, and are now in such plentitude that there’s never a shortfall. Although tuition is directed towards orchestral repertoire, we’ve developed well-established traditions of solo performance and also offer a Solo-Marimba provision.

Postgraduate students on the MMus Course may also choose available specialisms. These are:

  • Timpani to the exclusion of Percussion
  • Percussion to the exclusion of Timpani
  • Marimba to the exclusion of Timpani and Percussion (studied with our International Consultant for Marimba, Eric Sammut)

Entrance Audition requirements will only be in the chosen Specialism. MMus students study the full MMus programme in all other respects.

The weekly 90 minute one-to-one lessons are given by highly reputable professional performers and are enhanced by repertoire classes, and specialized individual and class tuition in Latin American, Ethnic Percussion, Drum-Set, and Baroque Timpani. International artists also come to the Conservatoire to give clinics, workshops, and masterclasses. Recent examples have included Dame Evelyn Glennie, Colin Currie, Sam Walton, Birger Sulsbrück, Leigh Howard Stevens, Eric Sammut, Jasmin Kolberg, David Searcy, Simon Carrington, Keith Aleo and Neil Grover, and Neil Percy amongst many others. We also welcome our distinguished International Fellows several times a year to work with students. Recently Chris Lamb, International Fellow in Timpani and Percussion, gave a series of masterclasses via a live link from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. Now this state of the art equipment is in place we’re looking to develop similar opportunities in future years. We also work twice a year with Eric Sammut, International Fellow for Marimba, who also has charge of our annual departmental concert in April. Involving every student on the programme, he devises the repertoire, takes rehearsals, and often plays alongside the students in performance.

At the Conservatoire our ensembles provide performance experience in Symphonic, Chamber, Opera, Wind Orchestra, Brass, and Big Band repertoire and often percussion students are approached by other students to play in their final year recitals. There are also opportunities to collaborate with other programmes and recent examples include Musical Theatre and contemporary music projects. Percussion students are the most enthusiastic self-generated collaborators and there are endless possibilities for collaboration with other students.

Based in Glasgow, you’ll benefit from studying in a major city of culture with a pool of orchestral opportunities. The Conservatoire runs a professional concerts agency which offers numerous opportunities for paid work across Scotland. We also operate a number of side-by-side schemes with professional orchestras where you can experience the realities of the working world. You’ll be given feedback as to how you were perceived by other players, often resulting in further paid work. We’re delighted that five of our former graduates have been appointed to professional positions at home and abroad.

Thanks to the very generous support of the Yamaha Company, an annual Yamaha-Percussion-Scholarship of £3,000 will be awarded to one of the Department’s qualifying students. We also wish to recognize the support of the Avidas Zildjian Company with thanks.

Staff and masterclasses

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

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

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

Timpani

Ruari Donaldson – Principal Timpanist, Scottish Opera

Gordon Rigby –Principal Timpanist, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Percussion

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

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

Simon Lowden ARAM – Principal Percussion, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

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

Special consultants

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

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

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

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

How to apply

Applications for the MMus/MA Timpani and Percussion 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 to Applicants – MMus/MA here.

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

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

Audition requirements are given in the MMus-MA Guide for Applicants 2015-16, which can be found at http://www.rcs.ac.uk/studyhere/how-to-apply/music/.

Fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for academic year 2016-17

  • MMus Performance (2 years) UK/EU Students – £7,896
  • MMus Performance (2 years) International (non-EU) – £15,135
  • MA Performance (1 year) UK/EU Students – £10,713
  • MA Performance (1 year) International (non-EU) – £18,192

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facilities

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

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

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

Images and videos

Here’s a short film we made to introduce our Master’s programme in Marimba, led by world-renowned marimba soloist Eric Sammut. Students will work within the Timpani and Percussion department of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, specialising exclusively in marimba.