Would you send a child to a specialist music school?

(62 Posts)
Colleger Tue 02-Aug-11 19:03:44

DC has asked to audition for the Purcell and I'm not sure what to do. I don't mind DC auditioning but if it is a YES, then I'm unsure what to do. The place would be for entry into Year 7.

Has anyone gone through such a school at a young age and was the academic education up to scratch? Where did the school fall short - was PE/Games adequate, were there opportunities to debate and take part in academic competitions such as the Olympiads?

roisin Wed 03-Aug-11 08:12:20

If I had a child with that sort of musical ability, then yes, I definitely would, no question about it.

Some music schools don't have such a good reputation for maintaining academic excellence, but many do.

A good alternative for musically gifted youngsters is a school with a choir school attached. IMO these offer superb musical education for children, usually alongside academic rigour as well. It might be too late for your DC though, as many want children to start before yr7.

notcitrus Wed 03-Aug-11 08:20:39

Friend of mine went there and got into Cambridge on academic merit. SIL at music college also knows people who went there and they seem as well-adjusted as anyone else.

Theas18 Wed 03-Aug-11 08:31:12

Not sure. Eldest looked at this. As she was/ is a real academic high flier and didn't want to do music as an undergraduate degree we stuck with her current school. She didn't audition in the end as she could have been left with and impossible choice. Academic standards look good at specialist music schools but it isn't the main focus

GraduallyGoingInsane Wed 03-Aug-11 14:45:57

I was at school with a boy who went to a very prestigious music school (not the one you are looking at). He did Years 7 and 8 at my school, then went away to the music school for Years 9-11. He came back to my school for Sixth Form.

In Year 7/8, he was captain of the football team, top of the year for maths/science, generally very bright, a very popular boy. He was also incredibly talented at the trumpet.

When he came back in Sixth Form, we were universally shocked. He had failed GCSE Maths and English, and had to resit them in lower sixth. He'd not done very well at all across the subjects, with the exception of music. He had also developed anorexia, and was very very withdrawn. I don't know what went on in his life in Years 9-11, but once he was back at my school he soon blossomed back into the boy we all remembered, and ended up with great A levels.

I'm sure ALL music schools aren't like this, and with the benefit of hindsight and an adult eye he was a sensitive boy, from a very high achieving family, with an incredibly pushy dedicated mother. So the anorexia may have come on anyway. What I do know is, he should NOT have failed GCSEs in anything, and that must therefore be a failing of the school. I'd think very carefully.

mummytime Thu 04-Aug-11 08:34:37

Kids fail GCSEs because of emotional pressures all the time. You can't pass them if you are having a "breakdown" for example.
However Music schools on the whole are very good, if you are dedicated to music. So you need to look at the school and your son carefully. What does he want to do with his life? What is his back up plan? Does he know what the life of a professional musician is like? really?
My ILs considered it for my very talented DH, in the end he didn't go, which is probably just as well as although Music is still very important to him it is not his life. Lots of professional musicians do not go to Music school as well.

Colleger Thu 04-Aug-11 09:49:35

I wouldn't say music is his life but he is frustrated with the level of music he is getting and wants to be in an environment where music is the norm. To pursue music he has to give up other things and watch his class mates do them. He feels that at a music school everyone will practice and then everyone will go on a trip/do an activity. I don't know what he will do when he grows up but I know he loves performing and we would make sure he was enriched in the summer holidays for any lack of activities at school. The other upside is that the schools he currently goes to expect full participation in all sports and this is not good for a musician. After all, who wants to see a singer at a concert with a massive bruise on his head after a Rugby match or even worse - broken fingers! At least Purcell and Chets don't have Rugby! wink

You need to look at the academic results for the individual school - some will be very good academically, but that will just depend on the school. It is certainly a different experience spending all your time with people who are passionate about music, and makes it much easier to fit in your practice when everyone else is doing the same.

Also look at where the children go when they leave - how many of them go on to do other subjects at university?

DS was at music school as a chorister, and applied to stay on (didn't get in). But that school gets excellent academic results, and a proportion of the children each year go on to univeristy to do things other than music.

Obviously there has to be a compromise somewhere - the range of subjects to choose from was much smaller than in a normal school, largely because the school itself is small. Also they didn't have much chance for team sports, or any sports at a high level as they could not commit to practice for that as well as music. But the children were all committed and put the effort into music, academics, and a social life - they just had much less time for "hanging around" than the average teenager!

Colleger Thu 04-Aug-11 10:23:26

So the question is - will he get in to Chets or Purcell?

He has got grade 5 bassoon with distinction in June and he is tackling a few grade 7 pieces at the moment but I'll err on the side of caution that he is just grade 5 - I am convinced, with the right teaching he could be grade 7 in a years time at the end of Year 6. He has also been a chorister and has a lovely voice, but is this enough to audition on grade 5 pieces this coming term for a place in Y7 next year? He starts the RCM JD in September and of course we would wait to see how he got on there before accepting a specialist school place.

Have you spoken to his bassoon teacher about it? They can often give you an idea whether they think he is up to the expected kind of standard or not. Of course you can always apply even if the teacher doesn't think so - you wil get feedback which will give an idea if he is in with a chance or not, and roughly what they might expect to convince them.

So long as you have thought through the finances and other practicalities and would be able to accept a place if they offered of course.

snorkie Thu 04-Aug-11 14:08:33

I would think he'd be very likely to get in. Especially considering most bassoonists don't even start the instrument until about year 6, he is doing incredibly well. The only child I know that went to Purcell didn't like it and dropped out after 2 years, but you have to try it to know. It's a tricky choice though, so few musicians make it right to the top that you are right to be concerned to keep his academics going at least to the extent that other options are still open.

cupofteainpeace Thu 04-Aug-11 14:16:45

I have a friend with one child at Purcell and second child starting in sept. They are very happy with it. DD1 wants to be a scientist eventually (y7 in sept). Both were grade 4+ when they auditioned during y4.
The fees are calculated on income of family.
You can only go for it and try it. Good luck!

2rebecca Sat 06-Aug-11 20:26:20

The only disadvantage of our local music school is the kids miss out on some of the other arty subjects to do more music, which can be a disadvantage if the child decides they want to do art not music.
I have a close relative who went to music school and is now working in an arty field and plays none of his instruments and wishes he had done more art at school.
It is excellent if your child is very musical though and willing to practice and you don't mind incessantly nagging them to practice.
Musicians are abysmally paid for the amount of talent and dedication needed though, so be sure you really want to push your child in that direction and not towards something better paid and more laid back.
I think if they aren't nagging you to get them into music school I wouldn't bother.

rufus8 Tue 09-Aug-11 10:14:32

I am having the same debate....offer from a music/choir school with bursary for Y8 or try for scholarships elsewhere. Sometimes as experience has shown me it can be tough being at a very expensive school on a bursary...expectations etc whereas with music school you are with the same kind of parent sacrificing everything for child etc. Although this may produce a particular kind of pushy parent!
Oh dear dilemma!

Katisha Tue 09-Aug-11 10:19:52

I don't think I would send my child to the specialist music schools actually. I know quite a few people who went to various of them and weren't particularly happy.
The one I have heard the best reports of is Winchester.

Colleger Tue 09-Aug-11 13:41:39

A choir school is not a specialist music school and Winchester is certainly not a specialist music school but a top Public school. I wouldn't have any issue sending to the latter and DS is currently in the former but it still does not office him with enough opportunities.

Katisha Tue 09-Aug-11 14:07:50

Ah yes sorry - I meant Wells.

rufus8 Tue 09-Aug-11 14:12:14

I have heard good things about Wells.The specialist muisic school is part of the main school?

Colleger Tue 09-Aug-11 14:36:17

Wells is poor academically and I've known a number of musicians who have discounted it because of this. On the face of it, having specialist music within a normal school seems like a great idea but I have had experience of such set ups and it is not for my son. There were many great activities/ opportunities that my son missed out on because music came first and this not only impacted his happiness but did not help him fully bond socially with his peer group. At least at Purcell, the opportunities are available to all and when a child is practicing , all children are practicing so no one is missing out on something.

confidence Fri 12-Aug-11 22:51:24


I have met several people during my (music) studies and working life who went to Chets, Purcell and Wells. I have to say they were all just pretty "normal" people, with the obvious exception that they were all fantastic musicians. I think one often-overlooked factor is that these schools (maybe excepting the choir schools like Wells) are pretty small. That has certain disadvantages of subject choice, but it also brings with it some advantages in terms of pastoral care. The staff have the opportunity to really nurture each individual and the specialist expertise in what that requires for a budding musician. For a kid like your DC who wants to be doing music all the time and be around other people who are, that can probably be a much healthier environment than being in a normal school.

I can certainly relate to how your DC feels. I grew up in a very non-cultural area and was always "the wierd one" doing music. When I started playing in youth orchestras and later doing a music degree, I was acutely aware of the different assumptions and confidence of the kids who had grown up with it like a natural, assumed part of life. In a field as hard and competitive as music, I think that goes a long way.

As for what happens if he decides not to do music, my impression is that these schools get very good academic results, though not top of the league. Somewhere on the Purcell website is some information about previous A level results, which seem to contain a majority of As and Bs, and destinations of previous leavers which include non-music degrees in several different fields. I think the main problem is likely to be not standards as such, but subject choice. Might be an issue if he leans towards science for example.

On standard required, it's hard to say. They do give guidelines on the website, but these are not black and white and they have ways of looking for potential rather than absolute current ability. The bassoon is a rare and sought-after instrument so that would help. I think most of these places are pretty open about discussing such issues with you, and even letting him come in for an informal "pre-audition" if appropriate, since they understand the difficulties involved.

If he's fanatical about music and has a strong sense that that's what he'll do for a living, I'd say go for it. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages. If not, it's hard to say and would depend on all the circumstances. They accept kids in most year groups so you could always wait a year or two and see.

Namechangeoshame Sun 14-Aug-11 19:35:14

I went to Wells despite being practically tone deaf (20 years ago, obv) and found it more or less fine. It couldn't compare academically with the specialist academic schools, but I thought it struck a decent balance in serving the competing needs of the "pure" musicians, the (few) hardcore academics, the less-academic children of the local farmers who just wanted a solid private education and the many children who were somewhere inbetween.

MrsHoolie Sun 14-Aug-11 22:25:16

I went to Chet's at the age of ten (I'm now 34).
I'm now a professional musician and I am in one of the London orchestras.

My parents aren't remotely musical and I think they were shocked that I got a place. In fact they didn't even know about specialist music schools until my teacher suggested it.

Many of my school friends went on to top universities to read non music subjects. I think the environment completely put them off,not that they were unhappy necessarily.

Many kids were unhappy but I think you could say that for a lot of schools. My parents would have removed me from the school had I hated it.
I was very lucky though as my instrumental teachers were great and very inspiring but there were some who weren't so great.

I come from the west country and it was too far to travel to one of the London college Saturday schools so music school definitely helped me to thrive.

It definitely depends on the child but for me Chet's was a good school and I did very much enjoy the social and musical environment. I am not very academic so opted to do minimal GCSE's and A levels although passed them quite well. The class sizes are small so that was something I wouldn't have got at my local comp.
The school has changed a lot since I was there but it was a bit lacking in the sport/PE side of things due to it being inner city. Obviously Purcell would have more space.

MrsHoolie Sun 14-Aug-11 22:45:23

I forgot to ask,where do you live?
Would Saturday morning school at one of the music colleges be an option for your DS?

Colleger Mon 15-Aug-11 17:07:13

Mrs Hoolie, thanks for your post. I was wondering - I have heard that most join in the sixth form so how did it feel going through the whole school and being one of only a small few at 10?

MrsWeasley Mon 15-Aug-11 17:18:04

If my DC wanted to go and it was possible (and I could cope ;) ) I would let them go. If its their passion I would encourage that side and not focus on working future, just yet IYSWIM

MrsHoolie Mon 15-Aug-11 22:25:31

I wouldn't say the majority joined in 6th form,many joined at 11 (not sure what that year is in the current system!).

There was only one class of juniors at Chet's,we had a ball as it was like a big adventure.of course some kids had major homesickness issues understandably.

I think a lot depends on your upbringing,your relationship with your parents and also your personality. If you are a very sociable person then boarding is great fun.

If one of my children were to excel in something I would worry about them narrowing their options should they go to a specialist school. I am one of the lucky ones....I knew I wanted a job in an orchestra from a young age and I got one straight out of music college luckily. But there are many musicians who have not fulfilled their dreams.

I'm not saying I don't think your son should go to music school but be aware that some things will naturally have less importance,be it sport or range of academic subjects available.

For me that kind of school was great but obviously there will be many who hated it. My parents would have taken me out had I hated it too.

Other options are Saturday music college,and NYO (can't remember what age it starts from).

I went to Wells as a non musician and disagree with those that say it's not academically good. I got straight a's! grin

It's also very good at giving all its pupils, even the specialist musicians, a reasonably normal life rather than a hothouse.

I loved it.

Namechangeoshame Mon 15-Aug-11 23:35:41

I wouldn't say Wells is bad academically, (also got a crop of As there, a little before your time) but it can't compare with the hyper-academic selective private schools or the insanely competitive grammars.

snorkie Tue 16-Aug-11 10:51:16

It sounds like an ideal school to me - one where bright children can thrive and everyone can develop their talents but not at the cost of deeming 95% of the population a failure and denying them access (aside from the cost issue of course).

toniguy Fri 19-Aug-11 10:00:07

A work colleague has a dd who boards at wells. She is a specialist musician and intends to make a career in music and thrives in it. My colleague is upfront about it though: she says from visits and parents evenings she is distinctly underwhelmed by much of it, uninspiring teachers etc. Her other children are at our local state school and she rates those higher in terms of general experience, but says if you have an amazingly musical child' then theres really no option but specialist school. I agree- if my children were highly talented and intended to make a career in music I would look at specialist music schools,'but if they aren't dead set on it, your probably better off keeping your options wider

Colleger Fri 19-Aug-11 18:18:17

So I asked DS if he wanted to be a musician today and he looked at me as if I'd asked the dumbest question - "of course mum, why would you even ask?!". There was a moment when I thought I should reconsider when he mentioned that he would have some fallbacks. Until he told me it was being an international cricket player and a formula one test driver! We'll stick with the musician path then!

Everyone I know is underwhelmed by Wells and scathing about the academics so he ain't going there!

exaspomum Sun 21-Aug-11 22:17:16

My DD goes to a specialist music school in Scotland and LOVES it. The only disadvantage is that she is almost ridiculously busy in November and March when there is often a cluster of music performances - school concerts, local music festival and sometimes AB exams. Good luck with your decision.

coffeeaddict Mon 22-Aug-11 11:22:56

I would sound a slight note of caution. Even the most talented, committed musicians (I was one) can reconsider. I pursued music doggedly till leaving school, then realised a career in it wasn't for me. My sister was an amazing precocious cellist and was offered a place at the Menuhin school very young. My parents turned it down and thank God, because she grew up to become a lawyer who likes music but certainly doesn't want to earn a living from it. We were both glad to have not just academic back-ups, but other interests, hobbies and a broad education.

Even now I wish I had done less piano/violin practice during my teens and more drama. Yes, I did love reaching a very high standard, performing, composing... and I was passionate about music, but then, looking back, I had never had the chance to explore other areas fully.

caffeineaddict Mon 22-Aug-11 14:50:42

Such wise words coffeeaddict

coffeeaddict Tue 23-Aug-11 12:17:39

Ha ha, caffeineaddict, are we related? smile

mistlethrush Tue 23-Aug-11 12:29:30

I was lucky to have the advantage of a wonderful Saturday morning music school option - which turned into county youth orchestra one week a month. A friend at school did Guidhall saturday morning school - and had cello lessons there. I went onto do the music degree and loved it - she did English. Not that I'm doing music now - just enjoy playing and singing when I want to. BiL went to Chets - PiLs didn't really have much choice because of his precocious talent - but they're not particularly OTT with their praise of it generally. He is, now, a very sucessful musician - but whether going there had that much influence on that I don't know - possibly the degree in Cambridge followed by a year in Glasgow might have had more impact.

I'm of the opinion that it's our job as parents to let them pursue their dreams, while making sure they haven't burnt their bridges in the process. Most musicians don't make a living at it, but that doesn't mean there is no point in going to a music school, doing music at university, spending time practising etc.

We've just always made sure DS knows that most musicians have to do other things to make ends meet - he sees his very talented music teachers and knows how many other things they have to do to earn a living apart from performing, so he understands it's not just a question of what he wants to do, but also luck.

So, if your son wants to do this, and its reasonably practical for you, I'd let him go for it.

spiderpig8 Tue 23-Aug-11 19:22:14

Based on experience amongst my friends DCs who have gone to music and ballet schools ,the drop out rate is very high.

confidence Tue 23-Aug-11 23:23:05

I would sound a slight note of caution. Even the most talented, committed musicians (I was one) can reconsider. I pursued music doggedly till leaving school, then realised a career in it wasn't for me. My sister was an amazing precocious cellist and was offered a place at the Menuhin school very young. My parents turned it down and thank God, because she grew up to become a lawyer who likes music but certainly doesn't want to earn a living from it. We were both glad to have not just academic back-ups, but other interests, hobbies and a broad education.

There'a a lot of truth in that, but the problem is that the obsessive focus on music in youth and having the "choice" to do it as a career or not, are two sides of the same coin.

The fact that music is so incredibly competitive, poorly paid and hard to make work as a career makes one want to leave "options open" as you say. If a child develops at some stage an equally passionate interest in law or engineering, and are clever, it's hard to ignore the fact that they'll be much more likely to have a securing and fulfilling career doing one of those. And if a child likes other "arty" things like drama, it's hard to avoid the feeling that being able to enjoy taking part in all those is probably better for their personal development than practising four hours a day.

But OTOH, it's precisely because music is so incredibly competitive, poorly paid and hard to make word as a career that it's important to do the obessive thing in early childhood if a child or their parents think they might want to. There are two possible answers to extreme comptetitiveness - to walk away and decide it's not for you, or to enter the competition, bring every ounce of force you can to it and win. Either is valid, but anything in between isn't really.

You say for example that your sister's place at the Menuhin school was turned down and then she became a lawyer, but who knows? Maybe if she HAD gone there, and been surrounded by incredibly talented and dedicated musicians through her childhood, she would have wanted to become a musician, and become a happy and successful one? I'm not saying she would, only that these things work both ways. We make choices for our children to give them options, but those choices also determine, limit or bias those options.

With most professions, you only really need to start thinking about what a child will do when they come to choose their GCSEs. If by that point they're showing passionate interest and ability in medicine, art or running a business, then you go with it - no need to worry too much about it before that. But with fields requiring high levels of extremely detailed physical training like music, ballet or sport (and all of these being highly competitive fields with not much living to offer anyone below the very top), it just doesn't work like that.

Noone ever took up music at 16 and became a professional. OTOH noone knows what they'll want to do as a profession when they're five. What do you do? It's a judgment call, I suppose. My personal view is that schools like Chets and Purcell are academically strong enough that they won't really stop someone from doing well in another field if that's how they end up. Their results seem to be well above average for comprehensives and closer to those of some grammars or private schools. And it's not like somebody can't take a year out and go enrol at a college to get another A Level if they need to. I think any possible "damage" to a kid's prospects in a non-musical field from going to a music school is likely to be less than the potential damage to their prospects in music from turning down the opportunity at such a formative stage.

Also with the new tuition fees regime, I think people probably really need to work out whether they want to do something as barmy as music (and by "want" I mean, "can't conceive of not doing it") by the time they're 18, not 22 after a degree and 50 grand's worth of debt. If these schools have high drop-out rates, then it's probably no bad thing that kids are getting the chance to find out for themselves what being a musician is really like good and early, while they still have time to discover it's not for them and move on.


roentgenium Wed 24-Aug-11 00:14:29

"Either is valid, but anything in between isn't really"

I disagree. Very valid to continue to enjoy making music, and get proficient enough to continue to enjoy it as a hobby throughout life.

"Also with the new tuition fees regime, I think people probably really need to work out whether they want to do something as barmy as music"

This isn't right either. The new tuition regime strongly favours would be musicians as 99% of them will never earn enough to pay much if any of their loan back at all. I know musicians under the old system just getting their loans written off as they've never earned enough to repay it, but now musicians can earn a lot more without paying a penny and are quite likely to get their degrees for free. People doing degrees that lead to low paying jobs are the big winners under the new system.

confidence Wed 24-Aug-11 10:03:46

I disagree. Very valid to continue to enjoy making music, and get proficient enough to continue to enjoy it as a hobby throughout life.

Not sure what you're disagreeing with - I completely agree with this.

I was referring to the extreme competitiveness of doing music as a profession. One way of responding to that is to "walk away" - ie to ignore that aspect of it and just do it for fun, as you say. In fact this is probably the best way for most people.

All I meant was that IF you're going to enter the competition - ie attempt to do it as a career - you need to do so with 100% dedication and every possible advantage (such as lots of work on it as a child) behind you. It's not a competition that has a lot of second prizes. The problem of course is that most chiildren don't really know whether they'll want to do that when they're 8, 10, 12 etc, which is when that work needs to be done. So parents need to make a judgment call based on their abilities and apparent leanings.

And most musicians will end up earning over 21 grand a year if they want to anything like own a house or have a family. They just probably won't earn it from playing their instrument.

mistlethrush Wed 24-Aug-11 11:30:13

I know what you're saying about a music degree confidence - I have one - and whilst I don't regret doing it for a moment, and feel that it was a very sound 'first' degree and taught me how to learn and study very effectively, its not what I've ended up doing - and I had to do a 2 yr masters on top to get into that profession (which I had to pay for myself - which I did by teaching violin one day a week at the local grammar school!). Yes. I could have done music as a profession, but I also don't regret not doing it as a profession.

roentgenium Wed 24-Aug-11 12:59:22

ah I miss understood confidence, thought you were saying you may as well not bother with music at all. That makes more sense and I agree totally.

Also agree that music is as good a general degree as history or geography and doesn't preclude earning lots. But the musicians I know don't, and as you actually need to earn quite a lot more than £21k before the repayments start to be significant, I still think that people choosing a music degree with the intention of working in the field need to worry about the fees less than most.

Colleger Sat 10-Sep-11 21:31:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Colleger Fri 23-Sep-11 08:15:30


DS has been offered a place at Purcell and we've decided to accept. We didn't go and see Chets because it would have confused things and realistically, Manchester is not a convenient location for us. We've decided to send him but I'd be interested to know what the kids are like there. My son is a lively boy and loves his music but has periods where he is not the most focussed. Do they expect children to be compliant drones?

Theas18 Fri 23-Sep-11 08:52:42

That good news colleger :-)

I should hope they don't expect compliant drones - artists are very much individuals after all.....

callmemrs Thu 06-Oct-11 21:10:29

Dhs family are very musical. His sister went to Chets and loved it. Niece is a strings player and went through the Menuhin school, which is very small, and limited in terms of friendship groups but was perfect for her and shes now at the royal academy. Nephew was at Wells and like others have said, very disappointing. Amazing location and excellent facilities, but wasted as the management are out of date and uninspiring. Nephew is very bright and found a lot of lessons deeply dull and pedestrian. He's now at chets and flourishing. Am rather envious of dhs family as would love to have musical children.

Colleger Thu 06-Oct-11 22:13:40

DS got into Purcell and we make a decision on Saturday as to whether we will send him. I wasn't blown away but I am used to top notch private school facilities and the ethos that goes with it. However I think it will fit DS quirky personality and we are running out of ways to help him. Anyone can give me more of a lowdown on Purcell then I'd be very grateful.

gettingalifenow Fri 07-Oct-11 10:02:54

Well done Colleger's DS!

All I can offer is that DD has a couple of friends from Saturday JD who go to Purcell and they are lovely kids.

MrsHoolie Sun 06-Nov-11 14:43:44

Many of my friends and colleagues went to Purcell and were very happy there.
Congratulations to your son.

rufus8 Wed 09-Nov-11 13:14:35

panic....DS starting at Wells..everyone seems so down on it

Colleger Wed 09-Nov-11 20:43:13

Depends what you want Rufus. I wouldn't choose Wells to specialise in music or choose it as an academic independent but if you have an average child then they'll have a wide range of good opportunities there.

mummytime Wed 09-Nov-11 21:18:50

I don't know why people are down on Wells either. The cathedral's organ scholar last year had been there and was fabulous, now a prestigious Oxford college Organ scholar.

rufus8 Thu 10-Nov-11 16:04:04

Indeed. I would hardly describe the music as average particularly that associated with the Cathedral.
On reflection I think we all need to be careful asking for advice. Nothing beats ones own instinct. We should also be cautious... some who post on musmnet( if you look at the message record) seem to have an opinion on every independent school in the UK ( which is odd) and do not compare like with like. Not every one can afford or know the scholarship system of the top public schools. Nor indeed would they want to sign up to the values they promote.The bottom line is that its great to have a forum to find out information but it needs to be treated with caution.This is explained by the forum guidelines

diamondsinthesand Wed 14-Nov-12 03:24:31

This is an old post but to add to the mix - some musical/artistic children can also be a bit 'wierd/different' - not to their parents, but to their less sensitive peers.
So a specialist music school (I went to one) can be a kids first oportunity to be completely accepted and 'normal' . Then they make really good friends and the teamwork of a good orchestra is way beyond anything an academic school can offer.
That can make a huge difference in life. I remember kids who found they weren't bullied for the first time in their lives and others who would have been mincemeat in an ordinary school, but who were safe in a hothouse musical environment.
That's a huge part of success and future happiness, whatever you end up doing, such as law or medicine or modern languages etc.

hardboiled Wed 14-Nov-12 10:21:10

Hi Colleger, just wondering how your DS is doing in Purcell?

caritomama Mon 17-Jun-13 11:56:49

As there aren't many schools specialising in music, we'd have to move house to get our daughter into one. although its obviously impossible to tell what a child will do in the future she is very gifted musically and spends most of her time playing, composing and talking about music (and maths). I'm wondering about schools that dont specialise in music but just have a very good music department, Reigate Grammar, for example, as this one is close to us. Could anyone offer advice?

Xenia Mon 17-Jun-13 12:03:30

A bit of an old thread... but.... some of ours could have gone to music boarding schools (3 won music scholarships to academic day schools instead) but (a) I am not happy with boarding although had they wanted they coudl have gone but did not want to (like own home, own bed, own time, total lack of regulation of life too much) (b) I think the top 20 academic day schools tend to have music which is good anyway whilst also not being too focussed on music.

Reigate grammar is 100th on the FT league tables which sounds pretty good. I don't know about its music. Purcell school is 411th much much worse for A level results.

I think it can be a bit young to pick a music career in a residential music boarding school at 11+ although for some children it will be the best choice.
Chetham's is 308th and cannot find Yehudi M school.

HabbaDabbaDoo Mon 17-Jun-13 12:20:24

We considered Purcell but when we look at their academic results they were ok as opposed to outstanding. In the interest of keeping DS's career options open we decided to look for a 'normal' academic school with a challenging music program.

DS has orchestra practice twice a week and quartet practice once a week. Saturday's he attends a Saturday morning music program where he spends 3 hours doing (another) quartet, strings orchestra and symphony orchestra. The school orchestra sessions does get in the way of a lot of the extra curriculum stuff but this didn't stop him being in the hockey team.

This way DS can indulge his passion for music but it keeps doors open if at a later stage he decides that he wants a 'regular' job.

HabbaDabbaDoo Mon 17-Jun-13 12:22:01

Gawddammit! Just realized I replied to a zombie thread.

Xenia Mon 17-Jun-13 12:33:22

Yes, I saw that too although someone did post on it earlier today...
One of mine seems to have managed to be a phantom member of the choir this year (voice broke) which is the opposite of the Habba son's impressive efforts.

There really is a lot of music in the music boarding schools and if you happen to change your mind about how important it is later it then is hard in my view. Also music is one of the worst paid careers there is and most people end up teaching in schools for a pittance an hour rather than become a leading soloist so I suspect for many it is best to keep it as a hobby.

caritomama you'd probably be better off starting a new thread with a suitable title - maybe with an idea of area -as people will get confused on here and probably not be as much help to you.

eg I have some experience, but up here in Scotland, which isn't much help to you!

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