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auditions for conservatoires

(90 Posts)
jazzsyncopation Tue 28-Oct-14 23:19:41

anyone else doing this? Horrendous or what?.... total nightmare!

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Wed 29-Oct-14 10:54:43

Circular's DD is. My DD1 will be auditioning next year. What instrument is your DC's first study? Where do they want to go? I agree with you it does appear to be a complete nightmare (and my dear the EXPENSE!) - especially when you add in the fact that if you are also applying through UCAS as backup there may be auditions for those courses too (and in some cases a written test). We are starting open days this year just because there won't be time before the October deadline next year if we leave it till Y13. Although at least (searching for silver linings) DD1 has a limited list of conservatoires and unis she is considering.

jazzsyncopation Wed 29-Oct-14 14:37:02

(just back from train tickets purchase there : phew!)
thanx rabbit...dont want to go into any detail as may all be competing against each other(!} less info the better! but good luck anyway with the open days this yr !! [great idea btw ,tho had I known back then how awful twas going to be I'd have had a whole other year of depression!....while of course reasurring DC that it doesn't really matter fact some of the info with the audition dates is V nice saying that sort of thing]

ChablisChic Thu 30-Oct-14 14:10:50

My sympathies; I went through this with DD several years ago. I dread to think what we spent on audition fees and train tickets.

The worst one was when she got a fairly last minute audition call so hadn't pre-booked a train ticket. When we arrived at the station it transpired she hadn't brought her young persons railcard so I had to pay full price. AAAGH.

All worth it in the end though.

halfthewaytothemoon Sun 02-Nov-14 22:53:30

Just paid of £575 for six auditions. But add in the cost of travel some are in far flung places and the cost of overnight stays. DC has one at 10.00am.
Best not to think too much about the stress on DC.
Can recommend the Inner Game of Music for a good psych boast as there some great tips on managing performance anxiety.
Good luck to all with auditions it is a very tough call

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sun 02-Nov-14 23:07:39

I must say the thought of it for next year is scaring the shit out of me. We can't get anywhere by 10:00 am, really, unless we travel the night before. We can hit central London (the train station) for about 9:30 but not reliably - and IME planning to be anywhere before 10 is madness (my London office is actually round the back of the guildhall and yes, I often do get in by 10, when I'm going - but I often don't, too. You just can't rely on the transport infrastructure and what sort of preparation would even an unaccountably smooth journey be for a DC - you'd only be able to relax once the tube was about 2 stops away from your final destination (because then you could walk. If you knew where you were going which in DD1's case, probably wouldn't BE the case)). A suitably early train would also preclude the use of discount cards/passes. And the short notice time they give you for audition dates would preclude being able to book the cheap fares (which while they do definitely exist, some excellent bargains out there no denying it, are so few in number that if you don't grab them the day they go on sale you've probably missed out). DD1 would be fine travelling to London at least on her own, but she can't stay in a hotel on her own, and she wouldn't be able to make it across London to her aunt's place on her own either (although my DSIS is so lovely she'd probably drop everything to meet DD1 at the station and take her back with her, and then deposit her at the relevant college in the morning).

If I had a TARDIS I'd be very tempted at this point to go back and put the kibosh on music lessons.

theposterformallyknownas Sun 02-Nov-14 23:15:04


If I had a tardis...

Now you know you wouldn't.

Not up to this yet but my dd 10 is auditioning for specialist school, plays in several ensembles so I know the costs.

Good luck to all your dc.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Mon 03-Nov-14 00:10:05

No, I really would. We simply cannot afford this, we have 2 other kids (one of whom also wants to do something like this but not completely like - luckily she is young enough that we may be able to dissuade her, we are constantly trying to persuade her that particle physics is the way to go. So far she isn't buying it). I am worried sick. As a 'high earner' (hollow laugh) I will not qualify for any help whatsoever but when I consider the additional cost I cannot see where the money will come from.

circular Mon 03-Nov-14 06:32:34

Yep, DD1 doing CUKAS as well as UCAS. Omly one from her school, though two or three others applying for Music at Uni.
Absolute nightmare the thought of fitting it in with everything else she has going on. Fortunately not doing as many as the OP.
First one very soon and will invoke an overnight stay (unless we fancy a 3:30 am start) and we live within an hour of central London. Just the local tubes/trains cannot get us there early enough for the out of London ones.
Seems to be absolutely no flexibility on the dates once given.

UCAS not gone in yet, but of her likely 5, believe only one auditions. And that's the furthest one Hey Ho.

Good luck!

circular Mon 03-Nov-14 07:50:26

Re train travel costs, Tesci Clubcard vouchers can be used to purchase credit at 2 x voucher value on
Can take a couple of days bit vouchers to hit account, but lasts 6
months once credited.
Can be used for full or part journey payment and remaining credit stays on account.

theposterformallyknownas Mon 03-Nov-14 15:10:41


I'm sorry, was just being tongue in cheek. It is a worry how to afford it all, I know.
Atm we are paying for so many music lessons as dd has started her fifth instrument. She will be scaling down though if and when she goes to school.
I think the fees are the main worry though, even though travelling to auditions can be expensive it is thankfully a one off set of payments.

Have you all narrowed your choices by looking at the teachers for your dc instruments. We found with dh pupils they knew which teachers would be best for them and they only applied to those conservatoires. There were a couple who only looked at one each.

HeleneCixous Mon 03-Nov-14 21:13:53

I am interested that you think it's going to be horribly expensive having a student dc at a conservatoire, rabbit. I don't think it's any worse than having a child at uni full stop. The fees are paid in the form of a loan, and one thing you can definitely say about a conservatoire is that you get a LOT of quality contact time for your £9000 a year! The actors where I work have a 50 hour week! And the music students always have something going on too. Plus the conservatoires all offer bursaries and scholarships to in-demand musicians (any bassoonists, trombonists or violists on this thread?), some of which are very generous and not means-tested.
Good luck to you all...and remember that the audition process is very expensive for conservatoires to run...labour intensive for the adminstrative staff who work very hard to ensure a really positive experience for all of the candidates, as well as the cost of paying per-hour audition panel members

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Mon 03-Nov-14 21:56:46

It's going to be horribly expensive just applying. Even before she gets there. If she gets there. You have to pay for every audition. Most if not all will involve overnight stays thus I or DH will have to go with her (and let's face it, it will be me). The trains will be extremely expensive, not least because the short notice given for audition dates means no possibility of cheap fares (we live somewhere stupid). The hotels won't be free. Once she's there, if she gets there, she will have to upgrade some of her instruments and buy at least one completely new one. This will cost thousands. Literally, thousands. And she will not be an in demand musician (actually, she does lots of stuff so she might be, but it's not a given. She won't get pit band work probably. She might get singing gigs but then again...busking will obviously be a thing but so it will for all the music students. Unlikely to be that lucrative).

circular Mon 03-Nov-14 22:16:49

It IS expensive. Have overnight stay coming up for DD's first audition. As well as hotel cost, travel in evening peak to get there and fare home, I also lose a days pay. And DD loses a shift in her part time job the evening before.

Also, all the courses are 4 years, so a year extra loan and top up. I think I also earn too much for her to get any more than the minimum maintenance loan. Although, theoretically, giving her the money that's currently spent on music related stuff now would go towards her top-up needs.

As DD still quite torn between conservatoire and Uni, wondering how valued. A conservatoire degree would be if you don't want to be a performer. Or even if you were to decide not to pursue a musical career at all? Can"t help thinking that a Uni music degree would be worth more?

theposterformallyknownas Mon 03-Nov-14 22:40:25


If your dd isn't sure that performing is for her then I agree a Uni degree is a better option.
Then if she decides half way through that it isn't for her, at least at Uni there is more scope to take extra units/ add a subject even.
I would make sure she was certain it was what she wanted, 4 years is a long time, especially if you aren't happy.
I'm sure you have suggested this already, just ignore me.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Mon 03-Nov-14 22:48:31

Most uni music degrees are 4 years too.

A degree from the conservatoires your DD is applying to would be just as well regarded as a music degree from any of the universities, circular. smile

circular Mon 03-Nov-14 23:08:56

Rabbit The Uni degrees where she is applying are all 3 years, unless you add an optional year abroad.

I had the impression that a Conservatoire degree would be just as well regarded if she wanted to pursue a music career. But if she changed her mind, a Uni degree would be worth more.
She definitely doesn't want a career in performing, most likely to teach in some shape or form.

Guess we just need to see what the next year brings...

theposterformallyknownas Mon 03-Nov-14 23:29:29

Do the conservatoires prepare to teach as well as perform or is it just performance.
My dh did performance and has done some teaching over the past 25 years but he isn't a qualified teacher nor does he have a degree as such.
They were brought in the year after he left and dumbed down.
It used to be considered as Graduate Diploma, then Degree I'm pretty sure this was common throughout.
Anyway, it doesn't really change much but I think its good to weigh up what sort of career you want and work towards that.
I think there would be more options from a uni degree, but you can't beat a conservatoire if you are a performer.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Tue 04-Nov-14 00:01:12

Instrumental teaching, yes. More so than at a uni. Classroom teaching no, you need a PGCE for that. And that would be the case if you were doing a uni music degree too. Obviously though you could do a BEd with music if the places offering that also accepted your instrument.

circular Tue 04-Nov-14 06:36:14

I believe Chichester Uni do some very performance heavy degrees, some including instrument or vocal tuition. Appear to be the lower end of the academic scale. No idea what instruments they accept, not asked as DD wasn't interested.

Conservatoire degrees definitely fine for music teaching grounding. I believe the head of music at DDs school has one.

RandomFriend Sat 08-Nov-14 12:43:35

DD is only doing UCAS this year as I thought doing CUKAS as well would involve too many days away from school for auditions. Also, I was not aware of the 1st October deadline until late September, which was too late.

I want her to focus on academic work this year, and if she likes she can apply for CUKAS courses next year. I am finding this thread very useful in thinking about whether she should accept a second-choice UCAS course or apply again next year.

summerends Sat 08-Nov-14 15:16:28

For the bright scientist and musically able there is a joint Imperial physics degree and performance for one instrument at the RCM. Not sure whether there is anything else similar elsewhere.

RandomFriend Sat 08-Nov-14 15:20:00

summerends that would be great for someone considering physics.

DD is looking at music, which is a poor compromise between an academic degree and something in performance.

I am realising that what she excels in academically is English. So next year she could reapply for English; and apply for CUKAS courses.

purpleshinyone Sat 08-Nov-14 15:25:18

Scarily expensive at the time of auditions - but I have never known DS to be happier. It's a long course and who knows if he will ever pay back that loan but when someone is so sure of what they want to do with their life I am sure he has made the right decision.

summerends Sat 08-Nov-14 15:25:33

One of the teachers at my DS's school did English first (Oxbridge) then went to RCM.

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