Overview

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 programme 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.

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.

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. RCS staff members and visiting artists perform in chamber ensembles with our students throughout their training.

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.

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

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 and offer performing experience throughout the country in prestigious venues.

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

Head of Woodwind, Heather Nicoll DRSAMD MA

Institution Code:

R58

Programme Code:

MMUS: 890F / MA: 801F

UK Deadline:

3 October 2022

International Deadline:

1 December 2022

Programme Structure

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 Performance – assessed in a public recital.
  • Concerto – assessed in a concerto performance. Enviable concerto opportunities are available with the BBC SSO, RSNO and RCS Symphony Orchestra (selection by audition).
  • Studio Recording – assessed 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 Work – assessed in a performance or studio recording of a new work and viva examination on the collaborative process with the composer.*
  • Lecture Recital assessed 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.

MMus/MA Programme Structure

The MMus/MA programme is divided into Stages 1 and 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 — 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.

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 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 options 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.

Principal Study 2 — 90 SCQF credits

Supporting Studies 2 — 30, 20 or 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 — 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.

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 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 options 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.

Woodwind Staff

Flute

Katherine Bryan – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Ruth Morley – Red Note Ensemble

Helen Brew – Associate Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Piccolo

Janet Richardson – BA Hons, Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Luke Russell – BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Oboe

Stephen West – ARCM DipPerf RCM

Amy Turner – Principal, Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Stéphane Rancourt – Principal, The Halle Orchestra

Peter Dykes – Associate Principal Oboe, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

John Roberts – Visiting Artist in Orchestral Performance and Principal Oboe, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Cor anglais

Henry Clay — Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

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

Clarinet

John Cushing – Former Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Yann Ghiro – Principal BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Lawrence Gill – Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Timothy Orpen – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Nicolas Baldeyrou – Buffet-Crampon Visiting Professor in Clarinet

 

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

 

Bass Clarinet
Heather Nicoll DRSAMD MA

Saxophone

Josef Pacewicz LRAM, ARAM

Arno Bornkamp – Visiting Artist in Saxophone www.arnobornkamp.nl/uk/

Andrew Somerville

Bassoon

Janet Bloxwich – Principal, Scottish Opera Orchestra

Alison Green – Sub-principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

David Hubbard – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Graeme Brown – Principal Bassoon No. 2, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Contra Bassoon

Peter Wesley – Principal, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Paolo Dutto – Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Woodwind Lecturer

Jennifer Stephenson

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)

  • Diverse and unique performances within RCS and externally with Scotland’s major orchestras and ensembles. Opportunities include radio broadcasts, orchestral tours, educational projects and collaborative performances.
  • One-to-one lessons on your principal study each week.
  • A rich programme of masterclasses, chamber coaching and side-by-side performances offer our students a fantastic collaborative and tailored experience with each guest musician.
  • 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 previously toured India with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and annually 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.
  • 97% of undergraduate respondents from the School of Music are in employment or further study (HESA, 15/16).

Learn from the best

Masterclasses and visiting artists

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:

Flute:

  • Ian Clarke – Internationally acclaimed flautist and composer
  • Michael Cox – Principal, BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Lorna McGee – Principal, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • Emily Beynon – Principal, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • André Cebrián – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Fiona Fulton – former flautist with The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Gitte Marcusson – freelance flautist and Musical Director at Vanersborg School of Music (masterclass)
  • Cormac Henry – Principal, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Charlotte Ashton – Principal Flute, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Michel Moragues – Second flute soloist with the Orchestre National de France (masterclass)
  • Elzbieta Wolenska – Distinguished Pedagogue (masterclass)
  • Catherine Gregory – Decoda Ensemble (masterclass)
  • Adam Walker – Principal, London Symphony Orchestra (masterclass)

Piccolo:

  • Ewan Robertson – Orchestra of Scottish Opera (orchestral performance masterclass)
  • Luke Russell – Principal Piccolo, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Jenny Hutchinson – Principal Piccolo, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (masterclass)

Oboe:

  • Diana Doherty – Principal, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Emmanuel Laville – Principal, Swedish Symphony Orchestra
  • Michael Niesemann – Principal – Orchester Revolutionnaire et Romantique
  • John Roberts -Principal, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and RCS Visiting Artist in Orchestral Performance (masterclass)
  • Dudu Carmel – Principal Oboe, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (masterclass) Olivier Stankiewicz – Principal, London Symphony Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Steven Hudson – Section Leader, BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Crowthers Sponsored Artist – performing in our Double-reed concert and leading a masterclass).
  • François Leleux – International Artist (masterclass)
  • Nicholas Daniel – International Artist and Principal, Britten Sinfonia (masterclass)
  • Alison Teale – Co-Principal Oboe, BBC Symphony Orchestra

Oboe & Cor Anglais:

  • Alan Garner – Principal Cor Anglais, The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (masterclass)
  • Alexandre Oguey – Principal Cor Anglais, Sydney Symphony Orchestra (masterclass)

Clarinet:

  • Nicolas Baldeyrou – International Artist and Principal, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Anthony McGill – Principal, New York Philharmonic Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Timothy Orpen – Principal Clarinet, Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Founding member and Principal Clarinet of the Aurora Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Fraser Langton – Sub-principal, BBC Philharmonic and RCS Graduate
  • Oliver Janes – Principal, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Annelien Van Wauwe – International Artist (masterclass)
  • John Bradbury – Principal, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Maximiliano Martín – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra (masterclass)

Bass Clarinet:

  • Sarah Watts – Contemporary bass clarinet specialist (masterclass)

Bassoon:

  • Ole Kristian Dahl – Principal, Swedish National Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Vahan Khourdoian – Principal, Ulster Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Fraser Gordon – Principal Contra Bassoon, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Julie Price – Principal, BBC Symphony Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Joost Bosdijk, London Symphony Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Amy Harman – Principal, English National Opera and Aurora Orchestra (masterclass)
  • Pascal Gallois – International artist (contemporary masterclass)
  • Graeme Brown – Bassoon Principal No.2, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Crowthers Sponsored Artist – performing in our Double-reed concert and leading a masterclass).

Saxophone:

  • Arno Bornkamp – International renowned solo & chamber performer and RCS Associate Artist (masterclasses/chamber coaching and Director of the Saxophone Department Concert)
  • Kyle Horch – Professor of saxophone, Royal College of Music, London (masterclass)
  • Timothy McAllister – International Artist and Professor of Saxophone at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (masterclass)
Competition and prize winners

The students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Woodwind Department regularly demonstrate their calibre by winning prestigious competitions and awards, both within the conservatoire and on the global stage.

2021/22 

  • Concerto Competition – Matilda Coulton (Flute)
  • Governors Recital Prize for Woodwind – Matilda Coulton (Flute – Winner), Jack Halforty (Saxophone -Highly Commended), Aaron Hartnell-Booth (Saxophone – Commended)
  • Governors Recital Prize for Chamber Music – Dean Garrity, Emilija Auskalnyte, Ivan Varchenko, Jack Halforty (Saxophone Quartet)

2020/21 

  • Classical Concerto Prize – Adam Lee (Clarinet)
  • Concerto Competition – Adam Lee (Clarinet)
  • Governors Recital Prize for Woodwind – Andrew Dardis (Flute – Winner), Emma Simpson (Flute – Highly Commended)
  • RCS Bassoon Prize – Emma Simpson

2019/20 

  • Governors Recital Prize for Woodwind – Adam Lee (Clarinet -Winner), Helen Matthews (Oboe – Highly Commended)
  • Governors Recital Prize for Chamber Music Winners – Katie Kim & Brian King (Flute and Guitar Duo)
  • RCS Bassoon Prize – Gregory Crowley

School of Music Prizes (donor funded prizes awarded at the end of each year)

2021/22

  • Mary D Adams Prizes for Chamber Music – Dean Garrity, Emilija Auskalnyte, Ivan Varchenko, Jack Halforty (Saxophone Quartet)
  • John MacGregor Flute Prize – Matilda Coulton
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Performance Prize for Woodwind – Aaron Hartnell Booth (Clarinet)

2020/21

  • Principals Prizes for All Round Excellence (School of Music) – Adam Lee (Clarinet)
  • David Nicholson Flute Award for Travel and Study – Karin Eriksson
  • John MacGregor Flute Prize – Andrew Dardis

2019/20

  • Principals Prize for All Round Excellence – Christopher Michie (Flute)
  • John MacGregor Flute Prize – Katie Kim

Visiting Professor

Nicolas Baldeyrou

In celebration of our close links with Buffet-Crampon, the RCS Woodwind Department was thrilled to announce that Nicolas Baldeyrou would be our first Buffet-Crampon Visiting Professor in Clarinet.

Commencing from October 2019, Nicolas has been visiting the RCS to work with the Woodwind students in a series of masterclasses, side-by-side performances and collaborative events.

Graduate Destinations

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Woodwind alumni occupy positions in numerous prestigious orchestras and ensembles worldwide. 
  • Jo Ashcroft & Victoria Lopez Senior Musician & Woodwind Tutor respectively, Big Noise, Sistema Scotland
  • Graeme Brown BBC Scottish Symphony – Orchestra Principal Bassoon No.2 & RCS Tutor
  • Jay Capperauld Composer & Saxophonist
  • Richard Craig Contemporary Artist & Researcher
  • Peter Dykes Royal Scottish National Orchestra – Associate Principal Oboe & RCS Tutor
  • Lindsey Ellis BBC National Orchestra of Wales – Principal Piccolo
  • Robert Fairley Orchestra of Scottish Ballet – Principal Clarinet
  • Konrad Fiszer Opera Nova w Bydgoszczy – Flute and Piccolo
  • Fraser Gordon Head of Woodwind, Royal Academy of Music
  • Jennifer Hutchinson BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – Principal Piccolo
  • Stewart MacIlwham Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Principal Piccolo
  • Catriona McKinnon Welsh National Opera – Principal Oboe
  • Kate McDermott Orchestra of Scottish Opera – Principal Clarinet
  • John McDougall BBC Concert Orchestra – Principal Bassoon
  • Lorna McGhee Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra – Principal Flute & International soloist
  • Chris McShane Orchestra Accademia China – Bassoon
  • Sinziana Mugea National Radio Orchestra of Romania – Sub Principal Oboe and Cor Anglais
  • Heather Nicoll Head of Woodwind, RCS
  • Paul Rissmann Animateur & Composer
  • John Roberts Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Principal Oboe & RCS Visiting Artist
  • Ewan Robertson Covent Garden Opera – Former Piccolo, BBC SSO, Orchestra of Scottish Opera
  • Lorraine Robertson L’ensemble Orchestral du Loir et Cher – Principal Flute
  • Yvonne Robertson Freelancer, RCS Tutor, Woodwind Lecturer (Maternity cover)
  • Matthew Rogers Conductor & Composer
  • Jennifer Stephenson Freelance Musician & Woodwind Lecturer, RCS
  • Kathleen Stevenson BBC Symphony Orchestra – Principal Piccolo
  • Russell Tyler Orquestra do Norte, Portugal – Principal Oboe
  • Thomas Voelcker Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra – Former Principal Piccolo

RCS Presents: Woodwind

Watch one of the first live concerts performed under Covid restrictions in the RCS Presents series, performed in November 2020.

Chamber Music

Chamber music is embedded in the training of RCS Woodwind students, providing a supportive and creative environment for young groups to hone their skills.

Chamber performance experiences include:

  • Performance opportunities alongside professional musicians in both our Mondays and Fridays @ One concert series.
  • Our prestigious ensemble Stevenson Winds affords high profile performance opportunities both within and out with the RCS.
  • The unique opportunity to rehearse and perform side-by-side with  members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Winds.
  • Contemporary ensemble opportunities to perform in  RCS MusicLab and Plug Festival (premiers of works by RCS composition students).
  • Student led ensembles are given specialist professional coaching throughout their studies.

Introducing

Genovia Quartet


Genovia Quartet is an innovative and dynamic bassoon quartet comprising current and recent RCS students – Rhiannon Carmichael, Gillian Horn, Victoria Lopez and Ana Rodriguez Garcia. The ensemble has performed to critical acclaim on the international stage.

“The most essential part of evolving and learning as a chamber group is to have as much platform time as possible, in order to try out ideas and put your hard work into practice. The RCS Woodwind department offers numerous performance opportunities including its Mondays and Fridays at One concert series, as well as links to external engagements (such as the Westbourne Music concert series). We were ‘Highly Commended’ in the RCS Governors’ Recital Prize for Chamber Music and we were honoured to receive the Mary D. Adams Prize for outstanding achievement in chamber music.

“In terms of preparing for performances, we received high quality tuition sessions throughout the year from experts including David Hubbard, RSNO and Alison Green, SCO. We were also able to perform in the weekly performance classes, open days, education workshops, and participated in masterclasses with prominent musicians such as Joost Bosdjik from the London Symphony Orchestra.

“Having access to the top quality recording studios in the RCS was a huge bonus, as we were able to put together a CD for promotional use.

“Performing chamber music is one of the most fun and beneficial learning experiences you can have as a musician. Programming your own concerts, discovering new repertoire, organising your time/members and most importantly being dedicated to your ensemble – these are all skills we learned within the Conservatoire and have been putting into practice ever since. If you make good use of the facilities and excellent tuition, you can build on these skills to become autonomous and well-prepared to enter the profession.”

Virtual Tour

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.

Entry Requirements

General Academic Entrance Requirements

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 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
UK Applicants 3rd October 2022 17th October 2022 (for applicants unable to attend an in-person audition)
International Applicants 1st December 2022 1st December 2022

International student applicants

We are aware that international students, particularly those coming from the USA, may struggle with the UCAS deadline. As a consequence, we have set an additional deadline of 1st December 2022 for international students.

Once you submit your UCAS Conservatoires application, please then upload your audition recording to Acceptd – https://app.getacceptd.com/rcs.

If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that your 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 will not be considered in the first round of scholarship allocation.

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2023, 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 (faculty)

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. If you are unsure of what programme you wish to apply for, we recommend booking an advice audition with a teacher who can assist gauge which programme you may be suitable for. Advice lessons normally take place late August to early October and are dependent on staff availability.

Book an advice lesson.

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

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.

Applicants who apply on time invited to upload their audition recording to Acceptd. The deadline dates can be found below –

 

  UCAS Conservatoires Application Deadline Audition Recording Deadline
 Applicants 3 October 2022 17 October 2022

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

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. We have a specific period allocation to audition and all on time applications will receive a decision before Christmas (week commencing 14 December). 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.

BMus Joint Principal Study (JPS)

The Joint Principal Study pathway is intended to cater for the needs of individuals who are equally accomplished in two Principal Study disciplines (e.g. Flute and Composition, or Trumpet and Conducting, etc.) and who wish to maintain this intense level of dedication in their musical studies. Please note that Conducting is only available as a Joint Principal Study and Jazz Performance is only available in conjunction with Conducting or Composition.

The selection process for applicants applying for Joint Principal Study is the same as that for other applicants; please submit your audition recordings via Acceptd for each principal study. Applicants to the Joint Principal Study pathway who are successful in only one of their Principal Studies may be offered a place on the relevant ‘single-study’ pathway (i.e. Performance, Composition or Jazz).

Audition

With the safety of our students, applicants and staff as our priority, all auditions will take place via audition recording. This may or may not be followed up with an in-person interview or further audition. The deadline dates to apply and submit your audition recording can be found in the table below –

  UCAS Conservatoires Application Deadline  Audition Recording Deadline
UK Applicants 3rd October 2022 17th October 2022 (for applicants unable to attend an in-person audition)
International Applicants 1st December 2022 1st December 2022

International student applicants

We are aware that international students, particularly those coming from the USA, may struggle with the UCAS deadline. As a consequence, we have set an additional deadline of 1st December 2022 for international students.

Once you submit your UCAS Conservatoires application, please then upload your audition recording to Acceptd – https://app.getacceptd.com/rcs.

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition via UCAS Conservatoires track (you will need your username and password). We aim to post outcomes before Christmas (week commencing 12 December 2022).

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<