How difficult to get in JD in London?(37 Posts)
My DS just turned 10. He is a violinist and just started viola. He is interested in JD (especially RAM Primary, as it is the nearest one) but I am afraid that it is highly competitive to get in as a violinist. His standard is Grade 5. As just started viola, he can manage to play Grade 3 pieces but he is still struggling to read c clef and sight-reading is disaster. He is reasonably but definitely not prodigy. He loves music so much and practices hard.
How difficult to get in JD as a violinist? I am afraid that violin requires higher standard than other instruments. So, I am considering to wait for another year until his viola reaches also Grade 5 standard as he loves viola equally with violin but he would love to challenge this year.
Sorry, there was a missing word. "he is reasonably musical"
It is junior department of music conservatoire s such as Royal Academy of Music.
He loves music so much and practices hard
JDs would love these qualities of your DS.
As you pointed, violin is very competitive and it often requires higher standard than other instruments. However, JDs look for mostly potential and passion. DCs should display they are able to follow the curriculum, which around G5 would be good enough for young age, but certainly JDs don't care less whether they are G5 or G8. I know those who passed higher grades (G7, G8 or more) couldn't get in and those who were lower grades or no exam experience could get in.
If he is up to it, let him try this year. Why not? You can tell him it could be a practice run if you like to minimise his disappointment, then try again next year. But I think he has a very good chance to succeed. Viola as a second study is also great. RAM Primary would definitely love that.
Also, they don't normally test sight-reading for the second study. He can just pick one viola piece he can play very well.
Hi Pipp! My DD got into one of the London JD's on violin / viola last year at 10 - she played G6 pieces on violin and had literally been learning viola a few weeks at the time and we self-taught a movement from the Bach cello suites. As Neleus says, It's not all about grades. I believe what they look for is sound quality, solid basic technique and potential (musicality and the like) rather than very high grades. We were also told of post-G8 children who weren't successful. There are a mix at her JD - she is by no means the 'worst' and they range right through to complete prodigy!
Viola is definitely a bonus - there aren't many.
Go and have a look around - ours is very open and will let people come in to look around most weeks. You can also request advice consultations at most of the JD's which will give you an idea as to whether or not to go for it.
Her progress has really accelerated since going in September, I'm so glad we did it!!!
My friend's daughter is a bit like yours, Pippap1. She auditioned London JDs last year. She was 10 (Y5). She was about to take grade 5 piano (her first piano exam) and another grade 5 violin in the following term (she did grade 1 & 3). Pianists also face to fierce competitions and many DCs reach a lot higher grades than her for her age. But her teacher thought she would be a good candidate. She is a natural musician, has good ears and creative mind. I am very sure plenty DCs looked a lot better than her on paper but she won a place at every JD she auditioned!
Thank you for your comments! I just submitted application to one of JDs!
Hi Neleus, thank you very much for your encouragement and sharing your friend's DC's audition experience. The information is very helpful. Yes, she sounds similar with DS. Hopefully DS can improve viola a bit more until April. Even if DS cannot get in this year, I believe this audition experience would be a good experience for the next year. But hopefully DC can get in as he loves music so much.
Hi folkmamma, thank you very much to share your DD's experience. DS would love to play Jupiter by Holst as it is one of his favourite piece but Bach Cello Suites also sound good. I am glad to know that grades are not the most important. I just called one of JDs and applied for the open day. I am sure DS loves it. As DS's current teacher doesn't teach him techniques well, now I teach him by using Schredieck, Kreutzer etc. There are plenty of violin teachers but it is difficult to find a good teacher. Hopefully DS get in and meet good teachers!
Well done for the first big step! Hope you and your DS enjoy the experience.
DD1 attends one of the London JDs and when she auditioned she'd taken grade 4 and had sidestepped to the AB jazz syllabus. She didn't offer a second instrument at all. Admittedly she's not a string player but she was accepted on the basis of her musicality and potential rather than formally assessed standard. Since she's been at the JD, she has taken her last jazz exam and then stopped doing exams - she may do grade 8 at some point but exams aren't a priority.
The ones I know expect a grade 5-8, they don't judge on grades passed as anyone can pass a few exams, they look for potential and musicality.
Give it a go, you never know, but yes, violin is very competitive, there are just so many kids playing them.
Thank you for your comments!
It is good to hear that the grade exam is not the most important and children around the same standard with DS have got in.
I can imagine violin and piano are so competitive as some JDs have two rounds of auditions for those instrumentalists. DS is thinking to try again next year with viola as his 1st instrument if he fail at this year.
Why don't you book a consultation lesson prior to the audition? DS's chosen JD didn't offer any pre-audition lesson so we booked one at a different JD. Each JD would be slightly different but it helped us see where DS was as we didn't have any indication like grade (he hadn't done any). They even told us if DS would get in or not on spot...
Hi Neleus, thank you for the information. How did you book the consultation lesson? I cannot find any information on JDs website. Is it fine to request by e-mail?
You can ask the JD of your choice if they offer a consultation lesson. If they don't, ask Guildhall. You get to meet the MoD and he would tell you his honest thought on the playing.
Looking back now it wasn't necessary, to be honest. We just ended up paying extra. But as I said it was good to know where DS stood.
Sorry, not MoD (what's that??) but HoS( Head of Strings).
Ah, just stupidly started a new thread without reading this one. My DDs (just 11 and almost 9) are going to have a shot at this (on viola and cello). It's all a bit last-minute so very helpful indeed to read about your experiences.
Out of interest, if you get offered a place on a JD and decide to take it up, do people ever move to a different one or are you generally there for life so to speak?
Good to know - thanks folkmamma
Also, re audition pieces. Would you say it's best for them to play the most advanced piece they can play proficiently? Or the one they like more?! Should grade pieces be avoided do you think?
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