11+ Music scholarship...(55 Posts)
How hard are they to get? How good do you have to be?... Your experiences?
Each school will publish guidance on their website and you can often meet the director of music informally ahead of the audition (in fact you should do this to get an idea of what is expected). There will be internal as well as candidates (and it may be easier for the former). Bear in mind the stated required grade - probably grade 5 in first instrument - will be the minimum and many candidates will have achieved higher. General musicianship is also tested (sight reading/aural) and schools will look to see how involved a student is (eg playing in orchestras, singing in choirs etc).
It really depends on the school. Plenty of should outside London would reque grade 3 for 11+ but virtually all in London require grade 5 minimum. At 13+ it is grade 5 but the reality is closer to grade 8 on the first and grade 6 on the second instrument. Choristers are highly sought after and will often take a scholarship if they have a lower grade on an instrument. Then there is current demand at the school so a child playing viola, double bass, French horn or bassoon may be offered a scholarship over a violinist.
What schools are you considering?
Schools not should and require not reque! Darn spellchecker!
DD was awarded one (grade 5 cello, grade 3 piano, very strong choral ability), but the competition was fierce and what swung it was her interview after the performance/exam, and the fact that she had a record at prep school of being involved in every group she was eligible for so would be an asset to the school. Apparently she and the music master had a long chat about music used in television commercials. Some of the questions they ask are completely out of left field. Also scholarships are worth hugely varying amounts. For some schools they are almost financially derisory. Kudos only. At others they make a real difference to the fees.
Be careful of the commitment the school expects in return. DD has been offered a music scholarship at 11+ to transfer into the senior department of her current school. After a lot of discussion she won't be pursuing it as the kids are expected to always put music first and although DD is a gifted musician she's not ready to narrow her activities in that way and we're not prepared to push it for the sake of £250 per term. She takes part in a couple of orchestras but has no desire to join the choir, for example, which is compulsory for music scholars. A friend's DS "handed back" his music scholarship because he wanted to play hockey after school once a week rather than join a fifth ensemble. DD, like my friend's DS, plays an unusual first instrument and the pressure to join everything seems to be greater than for the kids playing violin or clarinet.
marialuisa, that's a good point. We did not put our DS in for a music scholarship because we did not want him to be defined as a musician.
DD's music scholarship is 10% of the fees, but she also has two other scholarships, and the school recognizes that she has to split her allegiances between these areas of interest. Nonetheless she is in two orchestras, a string group, and two choirs. And that is entirely expected. She is playing/singing in three separate concerts this week and next. But she is also on the netball squad, and in an after school art group. They all want their pound of flesh (Wanders off muttering about when she might do some ACADEMIC work.....) (Have to add - it is not us driving any of this - she is a self starter).
Thank you! colleger, we are considering Emanuel, Hampton, Latymer Upper although the later is not I believe a generous one.
I believe latymer expect grade 5 and Hampton take in a number of choristers from HCP so it may be worth getting involved as a chorister. I think they get a guaranteed 25% scholarship.
Yes, you have all made me see that DS has to be ready to fully commit to the musical life of the school. He plays at his primary school band and I think he would enjoy that aspect (ensembles, etc), but I doubt very much he would want to be a chorister. So he may not have a chance because of that.
We're not after kudos, it's just that in some schools it can make a big difference to the fees. DS is very aware that he can't afford to go to one of these schools unless he gets some sort of scholarship, so maybe that will get him to sing for his supper...
At the start of Year 6 my wife was talking schools with our son's violin teacher and the teacher suggested trying for a music scholarship. My son was Grade 5 Merit at the time and I recall saying that the websites mention at least Grade 5 so I didn't fancy his chances if he only just met the minimum expected standard.
The teacher said that she had students that weren't as good as mine yet have secured scholarships. Based on that we went for it and he got awarded a 20% scholarship plus an exhibition.
My point? Don't be discouraged by talk about how your child must be minimum Grade 5. If your child is roughly Grade 5 merit level and he can demonstrate an interest in music (courses attended, membership of an orchestra etc) then he stands just a good a chance as the next boy. I mean, if a parent had a Grade 7 distinction 11 yr old then the family would be aiming for a music school.
On the subject of being commited to the musical life of the school, my son has orchestra practice after school Monday and Thursday. This is when all the extra curr clubs meet So I can understand the parents who handed back the scholarship.
I agree with Pushy Dad. Grade 5 for 11+ is very high and most schools outside of London would suggest grade 3. I assume the London schools do not want too many applicants and with the conservatoire JD's on the doorstep they probably have plenty of grade 5 applicants as this is the minimum standard for JD. But there are lots of grade 7/8 11 year old violinists and they wouldnt get into a music school as the standard is ridiculously high in this specific instrument. Nor would many grade 7/8 musicians wish to opt for a music school.
Really? That's good to know. Dd is yr3 & took grade 4 last week. We're hoping she'll be grade 7 by yr 6, but still thought competition might be too high for scholarships. I do know of a very talented violinist at grade 8 in yr 6 -she was offered 80% scholarship!
It also depends on the instrument and how long they have been playing. They are more likely to offer a scholarship to a grade 5 woodwind played who has been playing for 2 years than a grade 7 violinist who has been playing since the age of 3.
I can't speak for other 'outside London' schools but here in Herts
Grade 5 minimum is pretty much universal. Grade 3 seems to be the minimum if your child is sitting the music exam at a selective state school.
But surely the quality of playing and the musicality of the child counts for something? I mean, if they have a child who is Grade 4 and passed with distinction and a child who "just passed" Grade 6... I personally know some parents who have been hurrying through the grades and it does not necessarily mean their DC are playing well.
ds was given a music award at 11+ (not a scholarship, but an award for free music lessons). When he auditioned he had 2x grade 2 and didn't sing, so we never really considered he was in the running for a scholarship, but within a year he had 2x grade 5 - at that stage they progress so quickly, so don't worry too much if they are a little below the expected level, it's often still worth a go.
When I say grade 5 I mean a child who can play consistently well at grade 5 not someone who has scraped a pass. Exams are not necessary but the level is a guideline.
A Grade 4 Distinction 11 yr old is not necessarily a better player than a 11 yr old Grade 6 pass player. Its like saying a 16yr old A* GCSE student is cleverer than a 16yr A level Grade B student.
And to follow on from Pushy Dad, examiners mark differenty and a child could have a bad day and fluff an exam so get a pass when on another day they may have got a distinction.
Based on my experience schools will say they look for higher marks at a lower grade than the other way round. This is how it should be of course. On the other hand, where I live (London) there is no shortage of grade 5 merit/distinction level children applying for 11+. I think very good advice would be to play one of the less common instruments; for this reason violinists are encouraged to switch to viola by some schools.
Yes pushydad and colleger, agreed: the child may have a bad day and/or meet a tough examiner who is also having a bad day! Also, the level is just a relative guide which changes with time - the Grade 4 piece my DS is learning now used to be Grade 5 when his dad learned it at his age.
But what I meant by quality versus grade is that in many of the concerts I have attended I have seen some DC struggling with advanced pieces that they were playing to a pass level - all the right notes there - but you could feel the struggle was not giving them room for feeling the music. Whereas I have been moved to tears but someone playing a Grade 1 piece with dynamics and sentiment. That's all. But I am sure someone auditioning children for a music scholarshipl knows and feels the difference.
I think a flawless performance would be best, within reason though. So maybe one grade lower but not two. If two pieces are required then maybe a flawless lower grade followed by a good current grade which may or may not be flawless on the day iykwim! DS did this and his higher piece was brilliant on one audition and dodgy on the next, although we did say that he was going to play a piece he was working on to show what he would be capable of soon. It was a risk but it paid off.
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