Music Junior Departments at Conservatoires

(96 Posts)
thekidsmom Thu 03-Feb-11 09:47:27

Does anyone have a DC at a junior department of a music conservatoire?

I'm deliberating hard over whether my DD should join in September or not (she will then be year 11 - so a possibility of 3 years there)

My decision points are around the amount of other stuff she'll necessarily have to give up to fit this in - all of her county music commitments for instance, but also about how much her music will 'crowd out' any other possiblities in her future career.

We are not yet decided on a music career - its between that and science (maybe medicine). We've had some good advice on the hardships of a music career from her teachers, so are up to speed on that, but I'm concerned that once we're on the JD track, there's no getitng off and she'sll just fall into music. And she wont have had the space in her timetable to gain all the work experience/volunteering she'd need to make a convinecing medicine/bio sciences application.

So if anyone has a DC who is at or did go to a JD and then did something different at uni, I'd be very grateful for input.

tern Wed 06-Jul-11 10:41:17

Be very careful about sending your daughter to Chets as a boarder. The
school works extremely hard to project the image of a caring, family
atmosphere, there are some lovely children there and some of the staff are
great and will go the extra mile for you or your daughter. 
Chets is also an extremely pressured place, with highly talented and very
driven students, prima donna teachers (especially instrumental ones) and a
management whose main concern is maintaining the image of the school and
the efficient running of the institution rather than the welfare of
individual children. As you would expect, this means bullying - both
between children and by teachers of children - is habitual, and distress
among the children, whether or not they are deemed to be "stars" in the
school's pecking order, can be acute. Self-harming,eating disorders and other aberrant behaviours are not uncommon, although of course children who end up being unable to "cope" leave quietly, feeling like failures.
That said, my children don't want to leave (and are on the surface doing
extremely well) - but I have had to be closely and continually involved in
their lives at school, to deal with, or make sure the school is dealing
with, some of the issues outlined above. Boarding makes it that much
harder to find out in good time if something is going wrong for your
child, and to find someone effective at the school who can deal with it.
One other piece of advice - get to know other parents with children at Chets and keep talking to them!
The school will set up itself as THE expert on your daughter and her musical education - difficult to resist if (like me) you are a non-musical parent - but these are only opinions, often the result of the narrow ambitions of individual teachers or what the school needs in its timetable/orchestra - so find as many musical people (teachers, students, musicians) as possible to talk to and glean advice from. Also listen to your daughter - her perceptions are of course provisional and will change - but first and foremost she needs to be happy in her music-making.

dejaview Mon 11-Jul-11 01:48:43

hi tern!
That alarmed me just before bed! You obviously speak from experience.

Boarding will make these problems - let alone the intense nature of the place - worse. Potentially. At home things can go wrong - but boarding..

Do you live anywhere near enough to get to know parents? I am three and a half hours away. How is it possible to maintain involvement - except via phone and internet and letter maybe? Home visits every three weeks - some missed it seems in some terms.. will make contact sparse and most of those trips will be alone - so I may rarely get to see the school. In any case they rarely seem to allow you in.

I had hoped the online community of parents at Chets may be of help but I am not sure it has a forum any more.

Concerts may be the best bet but not so much at this distance.

I will certainly be watching my daughter..

Thanks.

tern Mon 11-Jul-11 13:28:20

I live further away than you do. I only got to know parents slowly and accidentally. In retrospect, I would have been a lot more pro-active - ie. introduce yourself to the parents of your daughters' roommates (you should meet them unpacking on the first day) and get their contact details. This can be very useful if any issues crop up in the dorm - or just to get info, as in when children can be picked up, when concerts are etc (the school is not always brilliant at conveying this and the children are often just too busy to pass it on). Also as your daughter makes friends, plays in chamber ensembles etc, it's fine to introduce yourself to the parents - or ask your daughter to get phone numbers. Then you can always arrange to have a coffee with them when you're down in Manchester collecting/dropping off your daughter.
Maintaining involvement/contact is hard, largely because the children are so busy. The best and main way is by mobile, including texting (all the children have one) but it is no substitute for seeing your child in person and having the time to talk.
Be prepared for more visits than the free w/e. Boarders can also be taken out of school for other w/es - the school may fuss about orchestra practice on Saturday mornings but it is possible (and not harmful) to miss this sometimes. It's obviously not good to take your child out every w/e because they might miss social bonding things etc BUT be guided by your child - you may find that your child is the only one in her dorm or year who is there for the weekend which can feel jolly lonely.
The travelling has been difficult and expensive for me. Again we have learnt from experience (1) it is possible to get to know other children who travel from your area so travelling - either by car or train - can be shared. Ask the school, and also your daughter as she gets to know children at Chets, if any come form your area.
(2) it is possible for your child to travel on its own by train - a dummy run, plenty of instructions, a mobile phone and talking to the conductor when you put her on the train. Mine have been very proud of their ability to do so.
Yes, Chets is extreme about the rules for letting parents in - I suspect it's because they've had weirdos wondering in because it's central Manchester - but Mr Taylor, the junior housemaster is very kind and helpful and is the person to call to ask. Do not be put off! In any case it's always nicer not to spend significant amounts of time with your child in school but to to take them out of school for a meal or ice-cream - even just for an hour or two (and this can be in the evening). You have to clear it with the school beforehand but there is normally no problem if your child has nothing scheduled.
Another mistake I made as a long-distance parent who did not visit her child at school initially is that I didn't realise how chaotic her room, belongings and personal organisation were - especially at the beginning. It only dawned on me gradually that other mothers of newbies were in the dorms every w/e sorting out their children's stuff/dirty laundry etc. Obviously my children have got better at this over time - and may also have been exceptionally bad to begin with. Also they began under previous house staff who were less effective than the present crew.
Don't know anything about an online community at Chets - sadly.
Good luck!

dejaview Tue 19-Jul-11 23:46:27

hi tern and others - I still dwell on the idea that DD could be at a local choir school and RCM! Thats the way of choices ie one HAS to choose! I find it astonishing she has created these choices for herself! I think as colleger suggested it IS the best choice - Chethams - but as you suggest the thing with boarding is FRAUGHT! DD is already facebooked out with contacts from children in her class - so thats promising (after 2 nights boarding.) She is good at football so boys and girls like her..

I had not realised a parent IS allowed in the dorms. As it is I dare not enter her room at home I am so susceptible to a fit! However I do know she does have some pride and can organise herself.. but I do agree some pro-active approach may help with a whole host of details. I wonder whether to try to have a forum - or even a page here! for Chethams parents? Boarders?

Looking at the documents today - it seems like auditions take place for ensembles and accompanists when they get back - and I do wonder how best to prepare for them. I also have the extensive list of items required for boarding. And on a psychological note already see a change in DD who practices a hell of a lot more and spends far more time alone and even seems slightly hyper.. but I do talk to her still! And I assume email IS allowed there - tho I read today it maybe not on the school network?

Purcell seemed so much nearer but did seem rather more uptight maybe? and quite isolated too for the occupants themselves.

However I AM intent on living nearer (or actually IN Manchester) and am also trying to re-instate contacts with extended family in the north-west which will all be good hopefully.

As for networking with other parents - I see that as an uphill task, at this distance. I did make contacts at the auditions but even they have evaporated.

I am unsure how often concerts are and how to attend as well as all the other commitments that may arise - such as other orchestras and competitons which DD loves but requires very much input from me to jog her along (sensitively!!) - or do teachers now take this role?

Colleger Wed 20-Jul-11 12:49:53

Dejaview, I can't remember how old DD is but have you thought about Trinity School, Croydon. It is as close to a music school as a normal school can get and the singing opportunities are phenomenal. This year the boys are touring with Glyndebourne, ENO, and are at the Proms and this is a normal year. They are accepting girls into the sixth form from September and many students are at the RCM JD. In fact the Director of Music is in close contact with the RCM when it comes to allowing for time off. The bands are extensive and the latest tour was to Dubai and that wasn't even for the most prestigious orchestra.

tern Wed 20-Jul-11 16:38:02

Sorry - I hadn't realised your DD would be year 11 as opposed to age 11. My children are a lot younger (one started boarding age 10) - hence my panicky comments. Also what I say applies to the Junior Boarding House - the Girls' Boarding House is much happier, and I think things improve on a number of fronts as you go up the school. Have you see the recent ofsted report on the boarding provision? Of course email is allowed - but texting/phoning is much better as the students are so busy and can't access email constantly unless they have it on their phones.
How much jogging along there is depends on the individual teacher - I wouldn't rely on it. On the other hand your daughter will (and should) need you less as the whole atmosphere in the school is very motivating in terms of practicing, preparing etc
Despite all my downers, the reason my first child went to Chets and continues to board there is because she wanted to. She needed and wanted to "separate" and to focus hard on her music with other like-minded children (we have no musical background at home).
Nothing is written in stone. If you or your daughter don't end up being happy at Chets, there will still be other options.

dejaview Sun 24-Jul-11 02:54:53

My DD is 12. So year 8 when she starts in september.

I do think some kind of parents network - a forum etc would be useful.

Thanks colleger but its too late the docs are signed for this year and its unlikely my daughter will give up on this by the end. Or me. It was her choice. However the boarding could be a problem - we will see.

I have two problems already tern. One is I was told help with travel would be available but when I got the figures today it certainly does not cover the travel and it will be almost impossible for me to get there and quite hard for DD. So I will be looking into that. (Would it be automatically expected for a 12 year old to travel 3.5 hours alone?) My other DD got a full bursary by exam to a day school locally and they did not give travel as part of it. They did finally concede it was not a scholarship at all if she could not actually get there - and awarded it. Travel costs were £55 pw!

My other problem is unusual - a boy from DD's primary school (from a year ago now) has finally asked her 'to go out with him' - by text! - how modern! - and since he is the most desired boy wherever he goes it seems - and she has always always liked him - she is very tempted.. but just as she is about to leave the county for most of the year. I am discouraging her (when I would not normally interfere..) so already that tug and split between home - and the 'new' home.

It would be her first boyfriend and she has chosen him very carefully (she did actually do the choosing although he would never know that!)

I fear that would not help the boarding experience at first maybe.. what to do! DD did see couples at Chethams but again to actually live in with the b/f so young seems problematic too - given such long holidays. This is not a problem I had foresaw - as I imagine none of them will be as they crop up.

One other thing - most students seem to attend a summer music course. We have never done that and are looking at Pro Corda (but its the West one - which is strings WITH a FEW woodwind..?) and the other is Harrogate Clarinet summer school (who say DD would have to join the seniors due to her grade of playing - and be charged the senior fee - twice the junior fee). Has anyone any experience of these or others - I have also contacted Dartington.

Again we are total newbies on this one too.

dejaview Sat 30-Jul-11 16:23:47

DD is going tom Pro Corda so I will be able to report back - in 3 weeks. Its at Wells Cathedral school so we will see that too. Its 7 days - so a good boarding trial again. It seems to be for strings but they do have a few woodwind for quintets so we will see how that works out.

Did consider the Harrogate Clarinet course but the website is so awful I gave it a miss - it did seem to even have the dates. I emailed them and asked all the info - like where it was held! etc - and they emailed back and said 'so many questions!' They did answer them - but really! It seems to have some keen followers. They also do sax.

tern Tue 09-Aug-11 07:34:52

Hi dejavu,
Yes in my experience Chets doesn't help with travel costs. You could ask the school/your daughter after she's got to know people at Chetse if there are other children travelling from her area - then she can either get a lift with them or travel with them on the train. We did this a bit until the children became confident about travelling on their own.
On the boyfriend front, at your daughter's age it seems pretty unpressured at Chets. Some have them, most don't. Usually in school, and only ever boys in their own year (no dating across year groups my daughter tells me) which is what has put my daughter off so far. Not aware of long-distance relationships at this age. Couples seem to get more intense as you go up the school. So I wouldn't wory if I were you - your daughter should be so busy and stimulated when she gets to Chets that there won't be much time/energy spare for hankering after someone at home.
My experience of Pro Corda is that depends entirely on the course, and who's running it. Have you checked out out the National Youth/Children's Wind Orchestra/Ensemble - there are a number of these outfits?

dejaview Fri 26-Aug-11 18:25:59

hi

The b/f thing was just a fleeting concern! Nothing serious.

I have written to the National Children's Orchestra but not heard anything yet. The local county group has two streams and in the younger one it has been taken over by two military band guys and the musical standard has also suffered - having become very loud - complete with constant background drum kit. DD may not return next year. However the main orchestra seems very good and their resources are excellent.

I am wondering if there will be any difficulty helping ones child into their dorm at Chethams on the first day back - are you suggesting they are reluctant to allow that? I hope and expect not.. we will see. As I say I rarely check my daughters personal space but it would be nice to see where she lives!

Pro Corda seemed like a really friendly, very enjoyable and focussed group. The staff seemed devoted to the children and the musical results were excellent. There were a range of abilities from the possibly parent propelled - to talented enthusiasts and clearly obsessed to those at junior conservatoires and Yehudi Menuhin etc (its mainly string.) The very different age groups seemed to get on really well. It is very expensive but is all week and they do give bursaries.

It was the way they all got on that seemed so good. The final performance was very good - Bartoks Romanian Dances and all kinds of trio pieces etc. They also did solo's - a piece by Suk stood out and a piece by Ysaye played by a young staff member was astonishing.

This was the one at Wells Cathedral School - there are quite a few different ones all of which vary I heard. Hope to return next year but will check others - Aberystwyth has one.

Do Chethams funnel some to things like the Young Musician of the year or is this a parent/child led thing? We have been told their own orchestra is very difficult to get into and takes time. Also have you had experience of help with a new instrument given by Chethams themselves! They have suggested it is possible. The instrument we are looking at is well over £2000.

tern Wed 14-Sep-11 06:43:18

Hi - sorry only just checked the mumsnet thread. Hope your daughter is settling in happily. I'm happy to stay in touch - direct email is probably better and I will see it promptly!
No experience of Chets helping with instrument costs - or rather I emailed twice about possible help and was blanked.
Chets are big on Young Musician of the Year - you have to have the School's support/approval to enter.It's tough because so many enter from Chets each year (I think I heard 2/3s of the school - but I think that must be an exaggeration) and in the first Manchester-based audition they are all competing against each other (a set quota go through from each of the regional auditions). The whole thing is something of a lottery. The deadline has passed for this year but you should hear about the possibility of entering from the school in summer term 2013. I'm sure your daughter's instrumental teacher will discuss it with her when the time comes.
Best wishes
Tern

peardrops Tue 01-Nov-11 11:31:39

Hi,
Just wondered how your daughter was settling into Chets. It's where we are looking at for entry next September.

tern Sat 12-Nov-11 11:33:29

Anybody interested in music schools should check out the Comments on Norman LeBrecht's blog - although about the Purcell School, there are elements common to all the music school to a greater or lesser extent.

https://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2011/10/sexual-bullying-police-inquiries-and-the-headless-music-school.html

tern Sat 12-Nov-11 11:36:12

And another thread with comments about the Purcell School is at https://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2011/10/head-of-music-school-resigns-no-comment.html

peardrops Fri 18-Nov-11 11:00:03

Very interesting reading - thank you. We had considered applying to Purcell but not so sure now; it looks like it may take a while to settle down.

dejaview Sun 20-Nov-11 03:53:11

hi peardrops - sorry to have taken so long to reply

My daughter has settled in very well indeed and is almost stupendously happy there. The staff - the students - her room-mates - the lessons - both academic and musical are all brilliant.

The evening and weekend events are fun - the chance to go out with pals to Manchester - having lived in a tiny village all her life - suits her. The other children there are very friendly and not at all hierarchical even though say one of her best friends is abroad winning competitions even at the age of 12 - she just gets pictures back from obscure places and its all taken with a pinch of salt. They all love music and enjoy where-ever each other is at.

One friend who happened to join at the same time who like her was home educated (but for far longer) resists all the many demands and so is being sanctioned regularly in various ways - as the work load is indeed huge. After 5 hours a day practising all week there are 5 hour ensemble sessions on saturday and many different pieces of music to learn as well as home work and other demands. Practice is enforced by the praccies - invigilators who monitor that everyone is doing the hours and doing it alone as demanded. Obviously some children find that hard and go awol and then can ultimately be suspended. The older friend my daughter has flouts all the rules and does get punished but they still seem to take it all humorously. One child who joined who hated being away from home did leave for a while but is now back and my own daughter and others did try to comfort that person.

I went to a concert there recently and it was excellent and great fun and an old couple whose daughter had been there 20 years ago attended - and even they seemed still very attached to the place.

If you are very strapped for cash and live at a distance (like me) you will find it hard and guidance for parents of that kind is sparse I found and I have suffered the consequences which means going into debt which I have found very distressing. However no-one seems particularly to bother and my daughter has checked this out with others and they confirm the first year and first terms can be hard financially. In the long run unless I sort my finances I will not be able to have a huge input and be kept at a distance which I find hard. I have consulted with the MDS over this and it really does not seem to concern them although I do think it runs counter to the notion that poorer families will not find it hard. They will. However it also has to be said all the major costs of the child's education ARE met and so - given its excellence - is amazing.

I get the distinct impression that Chethams offers greater support than other full time music schools and my daughter was very reluctant to consider going to Purcell. She also had the chance in the summer at a summer school to meet a number of students at Wells and asked them what they would choose and they insisted if they could get a place at Chethams they would be off!

However Wells looked to me wonderful. Purcell seemed to be suffering from cash problems but again also looked great. It seemed as though it may be better suited to 6th formers and more independent types of person who maybe do not want a wider education necessarily. However I cannot really comment. They use the Royal College of Music for tuition in certain cases (if your child can get into both) which means there is some travel involved etc but to me seems like a good option - allowing a child to be far more independent of a single institution (given it is live-in.) But may be a bit too all over the place for some.

I think the fact these institutions are so small makes them far more like a family and far more characterful than most schools. This is sometimes disconcerting - and feels like you are dealing with extended family as an outsider I feel - but thats just me and at the distance I am from the place. When I have met staff they have been extremely friendly.

My daughter is VERY independent and strong willed and balanced (despite the efforts of her disfunctional family!) so maybe she is well equipped to deal with it. It is a test I think of stamina and willpower and I have met people who say it is very much not for everyone. The children do not think many do find it too hard. However it's early days. It is certainly unusual but given it is an eduction as a classical musician there seems to be lots of open creative work and spontaneous child led input and is not stuffy or straight jacketed.

My daughter came from a very good school but she thinks ALL the lessons she gets are better at Chethams - particularly Science and Maths. She also rates art there.

I really recommend it. And wish they did it for visual artists too!! (The MDS that is.)

One child who had to leave boarding by his parents is in fact very distressed - and indeed most love boarding - which was a surprise. It helps them all get on and support each other.

Also one last point. Next year the new building opens and it is fabulous and will transform the place into a futuristic venue - and a stunning state of the art place for the 250 students!

Oh and my daughter went in 6 weeks from having failed to get into a very good county orchestra last year locally to getting in and also being placed as the principle on her instrument! Progress is remarkable it seems...

dejaview Sun 20-Nov-11 04:08:38

oh can I add that the headmistress at Chethams is one of the loveliest school people I have ever met (and I am speaking as a home educator who had a phobia for schools and teachers..)

If you apply if you get to the 2nd interview you are also effectively interviewed too at one point and she was so nice. Intelligent - gentle - informative - friendly - and a really strong person. I believe she once worked with the head of Purcell at Eton too.

The whole place seems quite chilled for a pressure cooker (so called.) I think she led the attempts to raise money for funding the new building. I have not yet met Mr Threlfall - but the children seem to like him - tho he does seem very disciplined.

My daughter says the children there are all very focussed and quite different from most children at her other school (a grammar school) - and it makes for a less silly atmosphere even though some see non-music lessons as a waste of time!

peardrops Tue 22-Nov-11 12:20:36

Oh Dejaview thank you SO much for those posts. That's the sort of details I was looking for.

My child is already a boarding chorister (although boarding quite close to home so we have a lot of contact and input still) so that side of things doesn't bother me as much.

The travel and travel costs does concern me but I think it's a cost we've just got to find a way of absorbing.

We've got the 1st audition after Christmas so fingers crossed it will go well and we can progress onto the main audition.

We've also been to Wells and I absolutely loved it too! But Chets is the aim so that's what we're working towards.

Thanks again for all you info.

dejaview Tue 22-Nov-11 20:10:00

hi peardrops!

Good luck - sorry I drone on! With travel if you have a very low income the MDS pay for six journeys for the child (and make sure you get 12 SINGLES! in your budget you put in.. they do not ask for tickets..) however there are in fact at least 9 journeys per term for the child and possibly more. Also there is a £200 deposit to pay on entry - which eats up any travel grant if you have not got the cash! There are also a lot of journeys YOU will make and its not possible to use a family railcard because the child is not coming back with you so at that point the costs soar. The net result is that you do not go to concerts and parents evenings - then you cut costs by risking the child travelling alone - which literally NO-ONE gives a hoot about. My child had never travelled alone on a train ever before. Anyway she is now fine with it (as if she has a choice!)

The most caring place I ever saw was Trinity Laban and Chethams is on a par I feel. But your child will also form a real sense of if she likes it from trial boarding which is allowed once you get in. Try to make them give her a full week!? Any other questions you have please do ask. There was one person I met whose child was accepted and they refused the place - due to boarding - and there are alternatives (like a very good private teacher and the conservatoires.)

Also I am concerned about all the posts about Purcell. I think negative talk on the net gets out of hand and while I do not want to be unrealistic it weighs heavily for those looking for advice. I met the Purcell headmaster and although we did not get on I he was actually very kind to me, and other staff despite being rather robust were kind too, and their outreach person - Alison Cox - is very well known and very involved in the wider community. It has a very different atmosphere to Chetham's tho.

Like any school the child has to gain some kind of position amongst peers and theres lots of tangled school relationships but it all seems quite happy and well balanced. However in a small institution I imagine strains do develop and may become quite extreme so I think Purcell must be trying to recover from that situation. I have seen no signs personally of that at Chethams in my short acquaintance.

Try Pro Corda West if you want to see what it feels like at Wells - it is held there and some who go actually study there. Its great.

Apply to everyone if you can as the training and experience in auditions and advice gleaned is useful - but only if your child has that kind of stamina.

The food is amazing - served by a chef - and they do cookery with the same chef in the school kitchen. Full english breakfast every day or 18 different cereals and melon too? What more could a child want!

Instrument practice is about an hour every other hour (between lessons) so it passes quickly I am told and the rhythm of the day in that way is ones that suits my daughter.

Colleger Wed 23-Nov-11 22:26:21

Really glad your daughter is happy Dejaview.

I will fill you in our Purcell experiences once we've got a couple of weeks under our belts. I didn't look at Chets because it was just too inconvenient for us and I didn't want to fall in love with the place. I had preconceptions about Purcell but the staff are great and it seems to match DS personality - lack of uniform probably helps. The wind department likes their pupils to go to the JD's so they can mix with other musicians outside of school. The location has pro's and cons. Not great for sixth formers to go out and about, though that may be a good thing if they practice more wink, but for the younger child I prefer the location. Being close to London and a wide range of JD's is also very advantageous.

The other thing that is very important is the tutor. I chose Purcell because I believe the instrumental tutor to be the best their is and if a decision is proving difficult then I would certainly use this as a contributing factor.

Good luck with the auditions!

dejaview Wed 23-Nov-11 22:51:38

hi colleger

Yes did like the no-uniform aspect of Purcell and the arrangement with the junior conservatoires (they give up part of the MDS award for the private instruction too.) Just in case others do not know (because you cannot have two MDS awards if you are eligible.)

Not sure about the location. It was certainly closer to me but one guy at Chethams did not consider Purcell because whereas Chets is in the middle of a city (next to Selfridges) Purcell is in a field lol - ok its close to the edge of London!

My daughters friends seem to spend the whole weekend at the Arts Cinema and that is quite a cool place.

For choristers you have Manchester Cathedral next door too. I am starting to sound like an advert now.

Chets uniform is a black jumper with an optional lapel badge - its not too bad and it makes them look like a little monastic order which is sweet.

What does your child play colleger and are they attending the conservatoire too?

Colleger Wed 23-Nov-11 23:21:37

He got into a JD but we've decided it's too much for now as he is only 11. Ironically, if he went to JD he would not have as good a teacher as the one at Purcell, plus we would need to pay twice as we do not get the MDS. Because he plays bassoon I hope a JD will be happy to have him for their orchestras at some point without him having to get tuition there. I definitely think voice is probably better at Chets, but I am not musical and really would not know which school to choose other than knowledge of the instrumental teacher.

Regarding recent issues: I did have a wobble but then I realised that often when bad things happen the school will tighten it's belt and be more watchful. Unfortunately there is always a tiny, very vocal minority - like the Chets one on facebook - who attract attention, but it seems a happy place.

dejaview Wed 23-Nov-11 23:52:29

hi Colleger,

Fortunately I do not use Facebook! Do you have any other musical children? I do not - just an actor! (now heading for politics?!). I think bassoon is lovely and have tried to persuade the daughter - but I also like trombone. I am not musical but listen to a lot - especially modern classical. I just wish I could get to Huddersfield this week.

I had assumed from your previous posts you were a lecturer in music.

The facilities at Chets are excellent - she has her own practice room for each instrument - the piano room has a steinway in it! She also has her own accompanist!

Frankly I am astonished and its a shame that similar resources are not put into visual art which is even more neglected in schools than music I think.

Colleger Thu 24-Nov-11 08:51:26

No, I only lecture on music! wink

I have learnt so much via my son and all the mistakes we've made along the way so my posts tend to me more based on hindsight and what I've learnt from being around musical people.

My other son has the potential to be musical but is not interested in music, he's a science and maths boff but utterly lazy!

I don't rate the non-music facilities at Purcell, other than the outdoor space, but I can't complain about the music facilities. Being totally clueless, I was so impressed with the little things - full length mirrors in the practice rooms so the musician could check their posture, hand positions etc. They have two steinways in every teaching room so the teacher can play and teach on one piano whilst the pupil plays on the other. I'm sure Chets is the same - do you know if Wells is like that? Purcell pupils also have a piano in every bedroom.

I have heard that their is movement between pupils at Purcell and Chets but I don't know if this is true.

dejaview Sat 10-Dec-11 14:31:58

hi Colleger,

Lecturer in music is ok! When the ex head showed us round Purcell I saw the playing fields and said my dd was a champion runner. Oh no we don't do sports he said tho the girls are getting so unhealthy we think they should do something - the boys play football. dd is a keen footballer so that did n't go down well. Maybe its changed now. At Chets they seem to do quite a bit of sports and have their own swimming pool.

I did contact one rising young saxophonist who had gone to chets then purcell for 6th form. He liked both. Some of the boys from chets seem to go to Eton - which surprised me. Some of dd's friends have come from purcell - one girl got expelled from both!

I only saw hall - so I am not sure. The practice rooms were in two? little houses in Wells' famous almshouses.

The main thing is that dd is very very happy so thats a relief. I did mention one girl who joined at the same time as her and then became ill and is now back but I understand her family are unhappy she is away. So it depends on the individual. But after 10 weeks dd seems like quite a different person - much more mature and she was that way anyway.

How is your ds getting on?

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