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Where to go next with music tuition? (If you can't help, please bump!)

(19 Posts)
JellyCat11 Sun 30-May-10 15:47:39

My eldest son is 12 and has just achieved his Grade 7 violin with distinction. He plays for the regional youth orchestra and really enjoys all aspects of playing, both alone and with other people.

The conductor of his orchestra, his 'section leader' and his music teacher have all indicated that we look elsewhere for his music tuition, each suggesting Saturday schools at the London colleges/academies. However, all three were trained at seperate institutions (Royal Academy/Royal College and Guildhall) and have each reccommended the one they attended. Therefore, we are stuck, slightly in which to choose.

Has anybody got any recommendations?


Lifeinagoldfishbowl Sun 30-May-10 15:51:13

Can you not apply / look round all 3 and see what's best for your son?

JellyCat11 Sun 30-May-10 15:55:15

We've visited all three already, and he has loved them all, I just wondered whether anybody on here had any advice about which to pick.


ShellingPeas Sun 30-May-10 18:09:04

If he liked all of them and there is little to choose between the three with regards to reputation, then you could look at things like:

Will he know anyone else at any of the schools? Knowing another child could help with settling in.

How easy is it to get there so that he can go on his own if necessary?

Do you have the opportunity to meet with any of the tutors/teachers he will be training under and see which he prefers?

JellyCat11 Sun 30-May-10 19:22:13

Thanks, ShellingPeas:

He doesn't know anybody at any of the schools, but most children are in the same boat at him when they start, so I don't think that should be a problem! He's quite a sociable boy anyway, so I don't see this being a massive problem.

They're all in about the same place - train and then tube journey, so that doesn't make a difference either!

Yes, he'll meet all his teachers at his auditions, which are all scheduled for this week (we've been very lucky that all three have allowed him to audition late!) - there is, of course, a chance that he won't be given a place at all, or only at one, which will solve our problem. Otherwise, I think, this will have to be the deciding factor.

Thanks again!

ShellingPeas Sun 30-May-10 20:12:19

No problem. Best of luck with the auditions.

zgaze Sun 30-May-10 20:38:59

I went to the Royal College Saturday school and loved it. I think generally there isn't anything to choose between them in terms of standards of teaching etc. I auditioned for all three as well (and got into all three) but made my choice based on other other activities available rather than just my core instrumental studies - I used to love the choral classes and they were of a particularly high standard at RCM, and I was also able to specialise in weird minority baroque instruments which were not offered at Guildhall or the Academy.
NB I am now 35 so we are talking quite a few years ago grin

Have you also considered any specialist music boarding schools? My two sisters both went to the Purcell School for their 6th form and they loved it there (and in fact both attended the RCM Saturday school at the same time). There is Purcell in Herts (I think) and also Chethams in Manchester. Both had v good scholarships on offer back then, I expect much the same these days.

Auditioning for the National Youth Orchestra or National Youth Music Theatre are possibilities as well.

Aaah you have made me all nostalgic for my musical youth!

frakkit Mon 31-May-10 08:09:08

I also did Royal College but for wind so have no idea about strings!

Just see which teacher he clicks with best and if in doubt still pick who his current teacher recommends as a teacher as their styles are likely to be the same.

JellyCat11 Mon 31-May-10 11:37:47

Thanks both!

He's auditioning for the National Children's Orchestra, as he's too young for Youth.

We've thought about music schools and have decided that if he still wants to go when he's due to start his GCSEs then we'll give him the chance, but aren't keen about him living away from home just yet!

His teacher recommends Guildhall, frakkit, but I think that's just because that's where she studied, although DS was quite impressed by their programme!

Thanks again for all the help!

Elasticwoman Mon 31-May-10 19:29:23

have you thought of getting him into a dedicated music school such as Chetham's in Manchester or the Purcell School in the Home Counties?

My dh went to such a school and it was a privileged education but did not restrict him to a career in music.

Elasticwoman Mon 31-May-10 19:29:55

Oops just noticed what you said in previous post, sorry.

stopsayingmum Mon 31-May-10 19:55:56


Littlefish Mon 31-May-10 20:10:10

RAM! wink at stopsayingmum

stopsayingmum Mon 31-May-10 20:18:13

he he he!

maggiethecat Thu 14-Oct-10 21:43:35

Interested to know what you ended up choosing Jelly...

pushmepullyou Thu 14-Oct-10 21:51:20

Royal College and Royal Academy are generally better than the Guildhall I think (at least as full time music colleges), but it very much depends on the individual teacher. Can you find out the names of the teachers and maybe have a google and see if you can find out anything about them?

Not just how good they are as teachers, but what else they do musically and whether you can get a feel for their individual interests and styles. It can make a big difference as a student to have a music teacher that is on the same wavelength as you musically.

pugsandseals Mon 18-Oct-10 19:48:38

Royal College - good at period/baroque
Royal Academy - good at chamber/small group music (can be a bit snooty)
Trinity - great for orchestral work (very friendly too)
Guildhall - great if you want to end up in a pit orchestra
Colchester Institute/Birmingham Conserv. - good all rounders

Alternatively look for a local musician who takes on a few select students! You can take Grade 8 & Diploma's without going to one of the colleges anyway so a good option if he wants to stay with his friends.

Other option is to look at private schools with an excellent reputation for music. They would offer brilliant scholarships to talented individuals & he'll get a great education in other subjects too!

dejaview Mon 20-Jun-11 12:27:21

pugsandseals - thats useful info - but the Guildhall leads you to the orchestra pit! Sounds awful and can it be true. I have heard the composition teacher is brilliant.

Also who is good at very contemporary??

EternalFootman Mon 20-Jun-11 17:46:27

Nothing wrong with pit orchestras! It's a great life smile

IMHO absolutely the most important thing is who he's going to end up studying with. I struggled for decades with various- very prestigious- teachers who were completely the wrong fit for me, made little to no real progress and felt very frustrated. I never lost my desire to join the profession- so couldn't bring myself to just drop out- and was very miserable for a long time because I could see I wasn't of the standard and had no clue what to do about it. I was 26 (ie, ancient) when I finally found the right teacher and I haven't looked back.

I will add at this point that quite a few of my issues were due to undiagnosed Aspergers, which really REALLY didn't help, but I still think finding the best fit of teacher is the most important consideration for anyone studying an instrument at an advanced level.

My advice to the OP would be for her son to have as many "consultation" lessons in order to find a teacher whose outlook and style best suit him. Then go where that teacher is and everything else will click into place. No good having all these wonderful "extra" activities if he can't fully benefit from them because he isn't comfortable with his teacher.

Oh, and second NYO when he's old enough. Time. Of. My. Life

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