Music degree at Uni - how necessary Grade 8 before UCAS?

(36 Posts)
circular Sun 07-Jul-13 08:38:11

Bit early, as DD1 only just completed GCSEs, and sorted out 6th form, results dependant. Aware UCAS / CUKAS over a year away, but need to work out whether the grade issue is going to cause problems, while there is still time to address it.
(last posted on this board re A level choices - thanks everyone for help on that).

DD1 is Looking for a course with a yr abroad, heavier on the performance side, more likely to prefers a University to Conservatoire, but expects to go through both application processes.

She's a late starter, no proper lessons till age 10, decided age 12 that she wanted a music career.
First study instrument at Saturday music school. Second instrument at school (G5 standard, no grades taken). Piano more recently, has G3 hoping to take G5 next year.

Music school won't let her take G8 in December as think it will be too much for her starting AS at a new school. Agree there, March would be better, especially with no January AS modules now.
But teacher also saying they would prefer her not to do it all in yr12 - wait till yr13 if at all, but that may well be too late.
Instrumement teacher amazing but anti-grades. Music school like them to be way above standard before taking, had long fight to allow G6 last year, only grade taken through them in the 3 years she has been there.

Saying actual grade not important for Uni applications, although some requirements clearly state G8 distinction needed. Say for certain institutions, their recommendation, and playing to the standard will be good enough. If it isn't, they recommend she should consider taking a gap year or studying abroad - neither of which she wants to do.

Not a straight A student, but taking facilitating subjects, so hoping for RG or mid-range. Also wont be taking any essay based A level subjects, so hoping thats not a disadvantage. RG guide mentions it for music, but not seen anything in entry requirements.

Getting the impresson that she will narrow down choices by not having G8 when applying, and will be up against most applicants that do.

So do we try and convince teacher otherwise on this, possibly involve head of department?
Or roll over and accept that more courses will be unattainable?
Also find that DDs playing and attitude greatly improve when she has the challenge of working towards something - grade, performances, important audition.

circular Fri 12-Jul-13 13:59:42

antimatter Im the originalposter, no problem with your question on the thread. But it's been quiet for a few days, so you may get more response with a new post. I also started a thread on Extra Currricular with link to this one which had some great responses. Also quite a bit of discussion re ABRSM vs TG for grades - Im guessing your DD is not doing ABRSM if she has not taken grade 5 theory yet?

Does your DD know what would be her first study instrument?
Is it music or musical theatre she is interested in?
Has she any idea where abouts in the country she would prefer or want to avoid?
Does she want more of a performance or academic course?
How academic is she - Oxbridge material?
Does she favour University or Conservatoire?

There are so many courses, than answers to at least some of the above could narrow done where to start looking at.

My DD is in yr11 and is not yet sure what she is looking for, but has narrowed it down to Music (rather than technology) with plenty of performance. Not sure where, but suspect anything more than a couple of hours away will be ruled out. Hopefully have more idea what she is capable of after GCSE results, and get to some open days next year. Then more idea after AS results on what's realistic.

Any idea what your daughter wants to do afterwards?

It really is a bit of a "piece of string" kind of question - as circular says, see if you can focus (get her to focus) on what it is she wants.

If she wants to work as a musician then a performance-focussed course is probably more use, whether conservatoire or university.

If she really isn't decided then academic music or music&other at a "good" university may be more general use to her, as it is then a degree like any other if the music becomes more of a hobby thing.

No matter how good she is there will always be others she plays with who seem so much better, pick it up so much more easily, etc, etc, etc. It can just be a matter of thinking - "Well, I'm good enough to get these grades and qualify, and it's what I want to do so I'm going for it"

antimatter Fri 12-Jul-13 14:57:07

* AMumInScotland* - you are right - she just says - music is my life but is aware that she is unlikely to become performance musician
I was told that music as a degree is considered to be a good choice representing various aspects of student's abilities
English is her strongest subject - again to study it on its own is of a likely unpredictable future as music smile

I think I will ask her to start reading on various courses and their content to get her focussed on what questions she should be asking herself of.

Yes if she reads through the courses she's likely to start thinking "Ooh that sounds good" or "Yuck how dull", which starts to make it clearer.

DS has always stuck to his plan to do music, study music, etc, despite us checking from time to time that he knows how hard it is to make a living by performing (We weren't trying to put him off exactly, just making sure he wasn't being totally impractical). He's now halfway through a degree course. When he started looking at the websites and prospectuses it started to settle out quite quickly into ones which he liked the sound of and ones which either had entry requirements he wouldn't have (Grade 5 piano, MFL) or were all so academic he wouldn't have enjoyed them.

For him, a performance degree, but at a university, was the best fit, but it's horses for courses.

antimatter Fri 12-Jul-13 16:18:24

my daughter is academic and is good at learning fast, she can read books quickly etc so i think she would like the rigour of an academic degree with some performance included.
What do you think your son will do after his uni's course is finished?

it just occured to me that carrying her Marimba to another city won' be doable LOL

What he wants is to play with an orchestra. How realistic that is I just don't know, but we'll see.

Percussion isn't the easiest to carry around for lessons etc - presumably courses which have a lot of performance would make some sort of provision for storing and practicing? I guess it will vary from place to place so she might want to see what they say about that...

antimatter Fri 12-Jul-13 16:31:55

I expect unis making those available - she has a set of sticks suitable for various instruments.
What instrument does your son play?
My daughter enjoys composition - again who knows if that is a skill one can count on smile

Violin, which is a lot more portable!

It's hard to know if anything in music will allow for a stable job, certainly not in the 'one job paying all the bills and lasting for many years' category. But I'd sooner let him try than push him to become an accountant grin

antimatter Fri 12-Jul-13 16:46:56

lol at accountant#s

one can become an accountant at any stage of one's life

I think a good musician must also be a shrewd businessman - trying to market their skills and learn to make the best of every opportunity

Ithink it is important to enjoy university degree, they can then go and do postgrad course if they want to change direction

circular Fri 12-Jul-13 19:27:56

Funny you should say that, Leeds have a new course starting 2014 - Music with Enterprise. not much info I'm it yet, aimed at students interested in music and entrepreneurship.

antimatter Fri 12-Jul-13 22:03:21

I think musicians as a many of other artists could spend their lifetime whilst donating their time and energies to charitable causes/interesting projects.... but what to put on the table at the end of it?

one has to learn what makes sense and how and where to draw a line

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