Digital Hub
X

MMus/MA Woodwind

Introduction

Head of Woodwind, Heather Nicoll DRSAMD MA

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

Why study here?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is third in the world for performing arts education.

 

Unparalleled one-to-one tuition

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

Performance collaborations with international artists

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

Diverse performance opportunities

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

Side-by-side concert series

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

Stevenson Winds

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

Unique mentoring schemes

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

Fantastic concerto opportunities

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

Professional accompanist provision

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

Woodwind venues

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

Introduction

Head of Woodwind, Heather Nicoll DRSAMD MA

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

Why study here?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is third in the world for performing arts education.

 

Unparalleled one-to-one tuition

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

Performance collaborations with international artists

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

Diverse performance opportunities

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

Side-by-side concert series

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

Stevenson Winds

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

Unique mentoring schemes

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

Fantastic concerto opportunities

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

Professional accompanist provision

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

Woodwind venues

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

Programme Outline

MMus

The MMus programme is designed to refine your Principal Study skills to meet the demanding artistic and technical expectations of the contemporary professional world.

The RCS values its MMus students as autonomous and creative learners and the programme has specialist Principal Study pathways allowing each student to tailor their training to support their own professional ambitions.

Principal Study Pathways

Solo Performance – assessed in a public recital

Orchestral Performance – assessment comprises an orchestral audition and live orchestral performances

Chamber Performanceassessed in a public recital

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

Studio Recordingassessed in a studio recording comprising repertoire appropriate to the specialisms of the student and a viva examination discussing the values of the recording process and repertoire decisions.

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

Lecture Recitalassessed in a lecture- recital on a relevant specialist subject

Independent Project – assessed through a practice-based project designed around a particular area of a student’s specialism.

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

Supporting Studies comprises the core 1-2-1 lessons, performance and technique classes, (reed-making if relevant), chamber music collaborations, orchestral and operatic productions, ensemble work and masterclasses. MMus students are eligible for all competitions and apprenticeship schemes.

Staff and masterclasses

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

Richard Blake – Principal, Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Katherine Bryan – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Alison Mitchell – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Ruth Morley – Scottish Flute Trio / Red Note Ensemble

Helen Brew – Associate Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Piccolo
Janet Richardson – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

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

Oboe

Rosie Staniforth – sub-principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

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

James Horan – BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Amy Turner – Principal, Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Stéphane Rancourt – Principal, The Halle Orchestra

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

Rosie Staniforth – Scottish Chamber Orchestra

James Horan – Principal, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Baroque Oboe
Rosie Staniforth – Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Clarinet
John Cushing – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Yann Ghiro – Principal BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Lawrence Gill – Orchestral of Scottish Opera

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

Bass Clarinet
Heather Nicoll DRSAMD MA

Saxophone
Josef Pacewicz LRAM, ARAM

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

Bassoon
Janet Bloxwich – Principal, Scottish Opera Orchestra

Alison Green – sub-principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

David Hubbard – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

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

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

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

Accompanist
Scott Mitchell LRAM ARAM

 

Visiting international artists work regularly with our students.

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

Recent visiting artists include:

– Adam Walker

– Kari Kriikku

– Joost Bosdijk

– Alexei Ogrintchouk

– Jacques Zoon

Recent professional CD collaborations are Blow the Wind Northerly and A Box of Chatter, featuring artists such as Emmanuel Laville.

Future events include:

– François Leleux Oboe Masterclass

– Michael Collins performing with Stevenson Winds Ensemble

– Paul Rissmann directing education workshops with students in India during BBCSSO tour.

– Arno Borncamp Saxophone Masterclass

– Maximiliano Martín performing with chamber ensembles

 

Audition requirements

The audition and interview

Before your audition, you will have 15 minutes (or more dependent on your Principal Study) to warm-up on your instrument. RCS is not able to offer additional practice facilities before the allocated warm-up time, because the building is in full use by current students or by other audition candidates.

Through the 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

The interview will assess the candidate’s suitability for the programme in terms of knowledge, experience and commitment.

Accompanists

Instrumentalists (excluding piano, guitar, jazz, Scottish music and percussion and timpani) and vocalists will be automatically allocated an official RCS accompanist to play for them at their audition (unless RCS is notified that the applicant intends to use his/her own). Applicants will be given time with the accompanist prior to their audition in order to run through their programme. RCS does not require advance notice of your audition programme.

Applicants will be expected to perform two works: the set concerto for their instrument as indicated below, and a piece of the applicant’s own choice.

Flute

Mozart Concerto in G major (1st and 2nd movements)

Oboe

Mozart Concerto in C major (1st and 2nd movements)

Clarinet

Mozart Concerto in A major (1st and 2nd movements)

Bassoon

Mozart Concerto in Bb major (1st and 2nd movements)

Saxophone

Glazunov Concerto in Eb major

Sight-reading will be given.

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.

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.

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is third in the world for performing arts education.

  • Numerous and unique performance opportunities including TV/radio broadcasts, public performances, worldwide tours and concerto soloist opportunities with Scotland’s major orchestras and ensembles
  • 90-minute one-to-one lesson on your principal study each week
  • A rich programme of public masterclasses, individual and group coaching, side-by-side performances and CD recordings
  • Performance opportunities alongside professional musicians in our Mondays and Fridays at 1 concert series
  • A professional accompanist is provided for students throughout their training. Weekly rehearsal sessions with Scott Mitchell are available in preparation for performance classes, competitions and examinations.
  • Work with elite wind ensemble, Stevenson Winds, and receive intensive coaching with its expert players
  • National and international performing opportunities; students have toured India with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and this year will perform side-by-side with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Winds in a series of live concerts
  • Facilities include the David Nicholson Room, a dedicated space for flautists to rehearse and practice, and a double reed room, filled with reed-making equipment for this specialist art
  • 100% of postgraduate respondents from the School of Music are in employment or further study (HESA, 15/16)

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

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

Elisabeth Dooner Scottish Chamber Orchestra flute

Peter Dykes Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand principal oboe

Rosie Elliot BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra principal flute

Robert Fairley Orchestra of Scottish Ballet principal clarinet

Lawrence Gill Orchestra of Scottish Opera clarinet

Sheena Gordon Scottish Chamber Orchestra former flute

John Grant Royal Scottish National Orchestra former principal flute

Alison Green Scottish Chamber Orchestra bassoon

John Hall Orchestra of Scottish Opera flute

Michael Hallit Macau Orchestra principal piccolo

Mary James Orchestra of Scottish Ballet oboe

Catriona McKinnon Welsh National Opera principal oboe

Katherine Mackintosh Royal Scottish National Orchestra oboe

Stewart MacIlwham Royal Philharmonic Orchestra principal piccolo

Michelle McCabe Orchestra of Scottish Ballet flute

John McDougall English National Ballet principal bassoon

Lorna McGhee International soloist & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra principal flute

Jenny McHale BBC Philharmonic Orchestra flute

Bryony Middleton Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon oboe

Ruth Morley Scottish Flute Trio/ Red Note Ensemble

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

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

Ewan Robertson BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra flute

Lorraine Robertson Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire flute

June Scott Philharmonia Orchestra flute

Ian Scott Royal Ballet Sinfonia principal clarinet

Kathleen Stevenson BBC Symphony Orchestra principal piccolo

Sarah Turner Gran Teatre Del Liceu Orchestra, Barcelona oboe

RusselI Tyler Orquestra do Norte, Portugal principal oboe

Thomas Voelcker Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra principal piccolo

Fraser Gordon Royal Philharmonic Orchestra principal contra bassoon

Samuel Hernandez Avila T enerife Symphony Orchestra clarinet

Kate McDermott Gothenburg Opera Co-Principal Clarinet

Graeme Brown BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Principal Bassoon

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

Amici Winds

Flutes En Route

Illuminati Wind Quartet

Northern Lights

Quintet Zambra

Scottish Clarinet Quartet

Sax Ecosse

Sirocco Winds

Scottish Flute Trio

Graeme Brown

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

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

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

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

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

Fraser Langton

Recent Graduate of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland MMus with Distinction

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

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

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

Facilities

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