Bryanston or Canford for music?(11 Posts)
Hello, I would really appreciate any advice about these schools regarding their suitability for musical children.
My 11 yr old child is a talented string player, not terribly academic, passionate about music, absolutely determined to have a career in music. Although I am not a musician, other family members are and the signs are all there. I am looking at applying for a scholarship at these 2 schools and would really like opinions on their relative music facilities.
I want a school that will maximise my child's chances of developing the skills required to become a professional musician if that is what they choose.
These are the only 2 schools we are looking at right now and not keen to go further afield really. We are at a prep school currently. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
We've got friends with DC's at both as far as i'm aware both have a good music dept typical of most well regarded boarding school but neither has a reputation for being very musical. Of course if you actually speak to the individual heads of the music schools they're going to tell you they are very good (remember they want your money) so if I was you I would find out how many orcchestras there are, the calibre of the members of that orchestra, how many concerts they perform a term/year and try and go to a few to et a general idea about the standard and if possible when your DC's instrument(s) is being played.
We have a friend with a DD at a boarding school she is grade 8 in three instruments when they first looked round the school the head of music was all over them like a rash but during an informal chat with one of the pupils afterwards they were told that no one else in the school was of that standard, as a general principle most would not be above grade 5, and therefore if she was a serious musician then she would be better somewhere else and that indeed has tuned out to be the case although in fairness they weren't bothered. On the other hand a friends DS who's at another boarding school whose also grade 8 in three instruments 2 "common ones" and one very uncommon one was telling me that although his favourite instrument is the flute as nearly all flutists at the school are grade 8 he doesn't get any opportunities to play and in fact would not have been offered a music scholarship if the two common ones had been all he'd had to offer. He got the scholarship because of the uncommon one, he was the first music scholar in the schools long history to offer this instrument and he gets lots of opportunities including a future concerto. One final point this boy was also telling me that the teacher he has for the uncommon instrument is not particular good and he feels he therefore is not as good as he used to be (its all relative I suspect) so thats another thing you might want to check especially as your DC wants to be a professional musician who would be teaching your DC whist they were at school.
That's really good advice, thank you very much. I had not thought of any of that, guess it's really easy to fall for the sales pitch...
I also think it is Importnat that there are others of similar standard at the school, and also that the ones who are are not all significantly older. My DD turned down a music scholarship at one school to attend another (where she was not successful in gaining the music scholarship) but now has a number of peers of a similar standard...much better for her music making :-) for at the other school she would have been very lonely other abilities.
Hard to choose a school. If your DC is keen and able, have you thought about Saturday Junior college..lots to choose in London, but also RNCM and Birmingham Con have programs for young musicians. i am sure there are many more around. A regular secondary school, no matter how brilliant in their music provision, probably won't be able to provide all your DC needs in this area.
This is useful advice, thank you. Yes I thought about Saturday school, but we are at least a 2 hour train ride from London. I like the idea of being immersed in the school's music programme, with time set aside for practising. Not necessarily after the best school for music, just one that offers a far superior musical training than a state school.
I can see now how important it is to have peers of similar ability and will investigate this.
The above mentioned child at a boarding school where she is significantly better than her peers is in the school orchestra but also in the county youth orchestra thus getting the opportunity to play with those of similar standard. The school are making time for her to go.
You've got nothing to loose if you mention to the staff about this especially if you like one of the above in all other areas but wish the music was of a higher standard. Both are primarily weekly boarding so there might be be opportunities to play in a orchestra outside of school at the weekend..
My DS's sax teacher at his prep school also taught at Eton and Wellington. He knew loads of other peripatetic teachers teaching at other schools in the area. He gave excellent advice.
One boarding school that has a track record supporting a high level violinist (finalist in the last Young Musician of the Year) is Clifton College although this may not be a possibility for you.
From what I can gather the key ingredients are: access to the right teacher whether in or out of the school, sufficient time to practise (not always possible during the busy life of some boarding schools), access to a high level orchestra such as county or holiday residential orchestras (if can't attend a junior department) and finally a sufficient standard music making within the school for her to enjoy and share with like minded friends.
She will get an idea of the in-school music making by attending some concerts
Considering Bryanston just spent millions on their new music building, my personal opinion would be that Bryanston would be better for music DC's. My D's went to Bryanston and I feel it encouraged them to open out a lot.
I would be very interested to find out where you decided to go in the end ?
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