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(20 Posts)
chocoluvva Fri 22-Mar-13 14:40:25

Does anyone have a DC who auditioned for conservatoires to study piano?

BeckAndCall Mon 25-Mar-13 10:06:56

Can't help on this but have a DD at a JD so came over to suggest something.

I'd look on thestudentroom ( a different website) as they always have lots of people in the same boat, no matter how specialised the question! There are bound to be others on there in the same position

toddlerama Mon 25-Mar-13 10:08:19

I did. DC are still little! grin

GoatBongosAnonymous Mon 25-Mar-13 10:09:10

What did you want to know in particular? I know all of them quite well...

chocoluvva Mon 25-Mar-13 13:52:03

Thankyou for your replies.
DD (16)is going to audition for RCS, RCM, RAM, RNCM and Birmingham playing pieces from the AB diploma syllabus in November/December when she's 17. Difficult enough?

She enjoys accompanying (and playing in ensembles). She's considered to be a good 'all rounder'. She has no ambitions to be a concert pianist - fortunately!

I'm not convinced she'd enjoy her time at a conservatoire, but BMus courses seem too basic - she did grade 8 piano when she was 14, she's sitting 'Advanced Higher' music (equivalent to A2) in May. She thinks she'd hope to find work as an accompanist/repetiteur/private teacher when she's finished.

Sympathique Mon 25-Mar-13 14:28:50

Why does she think B Mus would be 'basic'? (Mind you, if her heart's set on conservatoire then so be it and it's great she's decided)

Career plan sounds magic - good luck to her

Oh, I think the ABRSM has a forum that might be helpful?

GoatBongosAnonymous Mon 25-Mar-13 14:46:16

Lovely that your DD is thinking of accompanying - I've enjoyed every minute of the collaborative playing I have done!

Re auditions. Most if not all the conservatories will require a Chopin étude. From either Op. 10 or Op. 25, not the posthumous ones. Also, you don't say which diploma? If it is DipABRSM then I'm afraid these would be considered quite 'easy', although if she demonstrated a really solid technique and excellent musicality, then they might be ok. The toughest conservatories for entrance in piano are RAM and RCM, as competition is high for being in London! The others are excellent though, and had you thought of Trinity, the Welsh Conservatoire, or Leeds College? Also excellent courses, and perhaps a little less pressured. Most conservatories also offer a chamber music option for the last two years.

Having said all that, I think there is also something to be said for an undergraduate degree in a university (and I say this as a pianist working ina conservatoire). There are many that have a good performance element, offer an all-round music education that is particularly useful for an accompanying career. They would also be three years rather than four, leaving a year to go and do a Masters' in accompanying at a conservatoire. Somewhere like the RAM or the RCS do truly excellent postgrad courses that not only set students up musically, but also professionally. I would suggest you look at places like Southampton, Guildford, Nottingham. These places can have more performing opportunities, surprisingly. There are many postgrad accompanists in the conservatories who did not do a conservatoire undergrad degree!

chocoluvva Mon 25-Mar-13 16:21:43

Thankyou for your replies again. How kind.

Goats- I'm concerned that her pieces might be considered too 'easy'. Her teacher teaches at RCS (formerly known as RSAMD, in Glasgow) so I'm sure she knows what she's doing, but it's soooo competitive isn't it? A festival adjudicator told her that he's heard one of her pieces often, as an ABRSM examiner (diploma) and it was one of the best performances of it he's heard, but I don't know if I should set much store by that (or if she'll play that piece anyway).

Sympathique - The first and second year BMus harmony, composition etc look similiar to her specialist school work that she can do already. I didn't mean to sound arrogant blush.

How do the conservatoires know that you're good at playing with other people? Do they take your second study into account?

Sympathique Mon 25-Mar-13 17:16:54

choco Not at all. Horses for courses - clearly she's racehorse rather than pony club standard. DC's university course was very wide-ranging especially in the first year and (almost) everyone found at something that stretched them fairly horribly. I expect your DD would have been one of the 'almosts'. Good student accompanists were as gold dust (=lots of opportunities) as Goats intimated (and it wasn't even one of the universities s/he mentions). But perhaps not accompanying the standard of player she is used to, I suppose.

GoatBongosAnonymous Mon 25-Mar-13 18:38:18

choco I think enthusiasm for accompanying and chamber music, and experience in that, counts for a lot - you'd be surprised how many piano students really don't want to do this!
Festival adjudicators don't throw out comments like that for nothing smile

chocoluvva Mon 25-Mar-13 19:04:52

Before the government set a cap on funding for british students she'd probably have got a place at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. This year they have taken no scottish piano students at all. Last year they took one scottish pianist. A boy in the year above her at school was offered a place there for next session with violin as a first study (it's his second study at the moment) but only made it to the reserve list for piano!!! Rather dispiriting. The students we see at their recitals are usually eastern european, chinese or american confused.
There's quite a strong Lithuanian cohort in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Perhaps she should try Vilnius!

It hadn't occurred to me that there might be more opportunities for accompanying on a uni BMus course - fewer virtuoso pianists I suppose. She is not particularly academic - (despite her father and me being fairly geeky )confused. And she is very shy.

Sympathique Mon 25-Mar-13 21:32:40

Words fail me. What a country.

2rebecca Tue 26-Mar-13 12:41:58

One of my relatives got into the Cardiff conservatoire, that seems less biased in favour of overseas students than the others. Getting into Glasgow was near impossible this year, I do think it's wrong that we spend alot of money on music teaching for secondary school pupils in Scotland and then don't allocate a certain percentage of places for Scottish students at further education colleges/ universities/ conservatoires. I think overseas students should be in a minority. Let the chinese go to their own conservatoires. The British education system should be primarily for British citizens.

Sympathique Tue 26-Mar-13 12:44:29

PS Just a thought. Aren't her specialist music school piano teachers giving appropriate advice about audition pieces? While it seems unlikely that they aren't, they did fail to get a promising student in last year according to what you have said. Perhaps one can't just blame government funding? (Or is that why you're posting?)

chocoluvva Tue 26-Mar-13 13:56:34

I was assuming that piano is a particularly competitive first study to get into? The boy I referred to has an offer for Cambridge, so he's very happy (very studious and exceptionally bright IMO). He didn't audition for anywhere else.

Her teacher is fabulous - I can't praise her highly enough. At our local festival her pupils seem to win the majority of piano classes.....

Confusingly, a pupil from the same school - different instrument though - who has won lots of prizes, wasn't offered a place at a conservatoire which gave a scholarship to another girl from their school - same instrument -though she often 'beats' the the other girl in festivals etc. Do some conservatoires prefer good 'performers'....?

Therefore do conservatoires take potential for further development into account? How can they tell? And how much importance do they put on aural tests?

I read on TheStudentRoom that conservatoires audition ALL applicants!!! Is that true?

GoatBongosAnonymous Tue 26-Mar-13 14:09:22

Yes, conservatoires audition all applicants. This is because potential is indeed very important, not just current level. Aural tests etc are important, but it is more seeing if there is an ear there rather than that it is already refined, iyswim. A good thing to practice is to play a cluster chord and try and sing one of the middle notes.
Piano is very competitive, but good chamber
Musicians are relatively few and far between! Interview is also important and if your DD can demonstrate her commitment to this kind of music making, this would really help.

chocoluvva Tue 26-Mar-13 14:24:21

Thanks again, GoatBongos.

DD would definitely manage to sing a middle note from a cluster chord - she seems to have a very good ear (she certainly complains enough about our piano being out of tune grin ).

That's encouraging. She has done quite a bit of accompanying and ensemble playing; they are her favourite activities.

I can't help thinking that a conservatoire would be so pressured after the lovely atmosphere at her small school. Her teachers are very caring and sensible IMO.

Sympathique Tue 26-Mar-13 14:38:52

Sorry, I was just puzzled as to why you had to ask here when you already have such good expert support. Maybe just garnering extra intelligence - no bad thing

GoatBongosAnonymous Tue 26-Mar-13 15:13:55

Re pressure at a conservatoire - I think it depends on the conservatoire, but also, conservatoire students are often very supportive of each other, despite the competitiveness. You'd certainly get a feel for a place while auditioning. Though I know that process is vastly expensive!

AgentProvocateur Tue 26-Mar-13 15:32:10

Chocoluvva, mine got into RCS this year (starting sept). Can I PM you later (or tomorrow)? Off out now.

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