hei_hin123
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Hello!

I am a year 11 student who did music gcse and about to start music hl in ibdp and I am wondering if I am able to enter music uni, I have been playing the flute for nearly 10 years and about to do the abrsm grade 7 exam. However, I noticed that people around my age or even younger are a lot more advance than me. Plus I only participated in competitions and orchestras for a few years when I was younger. Is it possible for me to enter music uni? How should I improve?
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anaindiemood
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Hi there! I’m also a flute player so I think I can offer some advice. Firstly it depends on whether you want to study music on an academic level ie at a traditional university such as Durham, Birmingham, Oxford etc or whether you want to study music performance at a conservatoire so somewhere such as the RNCM, RAM, RCM, Guildhall etc. They both have very different requirements. If you want to study it academically at university being grade 7 level will be perfectly adequate as long as you can achieve some good grades at A level(quite often AAB or something along those lines-for a reputable uni anyway). However getting into conservatoire is a different story. Many players there have studied at junior conservatoire for years and been in many many national ensembles, but really everything comes down to audition and only the best players get an offer. As conservatoire offers a performance based degree once you’ve demonstrated potential at audition they don’t really care about your academic grades at A level-2 E grades is the standard requirement! As a flute player myself I’ve studied at junior conservatoire for 4 years and passed my grade 8 at age 11 and have since completed 3 diplomas in flute performance. I know many people similar to me that STILL weren’t able to achieve places at conservatoire because a lot of foreign students apply too so the competition is fierce. Is is academic or conservatoire you are looking at?
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hei_hin123
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(Original post by anaindiemood)
Hi there! I’m also a flute player so I think I can offer some advice. Firstly it depends on whether you want to study music on an academic level ie at a traditional university such as Durham, Birmingham, Oxford etc or whether you want to study music performance at a conservatoire so somewhere such as the RNCM, RAM, RCM, Guildhall etc. They both have very different requirements. If you want to study it academically at university being grade 7 level will be perfectly adequate as long as you can achieve some good grades at A level(quite often AAB or something along those lines-for a reputable uni anyway). However getting into conservatoire is a different story. Many players there have studied at junior conservatoire for years and been in many many national ensembles, but really everything comes down to audition and only the best players get an offer. As conservatoire offers a performance based degree once you’ve demonstrated potential at audition they don’t really care about your academic grades at A level-2 E grades is the standard requirement! As a flute player myself I’ve studied at junior conservatoire for 4 years and passed my grade 8 at age 11 and have since completed 3 diplomas in flute performance. I know many people similar to me that STILL weren’t able to achieve places at conservatoire because a lot of foreign students apply too so the competition is fierce. Is is academic or conservatoire you are looking at?
Thank you loads!! You answered so many questions that I have been wondering for so long!

What are the differences exactly between a conservatoire and university? Does uni have classes on your own instruments? And what can I do after graduating in terms of both of the options? So far I just know that I would like to study music after highschool, but according to your advice I think I am leaning towards the uni side as there is probably a bigger chance for me to enter in.
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anaindiemood
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(Original post by hei_hin123)
Thank you loads!! You answered so many questions that I have been wondering for so long!

What are the differences exactly between a conservatoire and university? Does uni have classes on your own instruments? And what can I do after graduating in terms of both of the options? So far I just know that I would like to study music after highschool, but according to your advice I think I am leaning towards the uni side as there is probably a bigger chance for me to enter in.
At a normal university you’ll still get instrumental lessons but the focus is mainly academic so you’ll be writing lots of papers based around music theory and music history. The academic music degree isn’t preparing you to be a performer so if you’re interested in careers in performance such as playing in orchestras then conservatories are more suited. Conservatoire study however focuses mainly on performance so you get many more hours of practical teaching such as orchestral lessons, chamber music coaching and lessons on your auxiliary instruments so for flute that’s piccolo lessons. At conservatoire they say about 70% of teaching is practical and the other 30% is academic but at university it’s the other way round(70% academic, 30% practical). Music in general is considered by most to be a somewhat difficult degree in terms of securing jobs afterwards. Because studying at conservatoire is so performance based many places of employment don’t consider it a “proper degree” because it doesn’t have the same academic rigour, however the discipline you have to show with heavy practice schedules is desirable. Conservatoire certainly wouldn’t be for you if you wouldn’t be prepared to buy in hours of practice a day! Do you have any idea what you’d fancy as a career? There’s definitely pros and cons of studying at uni or conservatoire it really is up to you! Because I’ve been at junior conservatoire I know lots about conservatoire study however I also have lots of close friends who have studied academic music, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
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hei_hin123
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(Original post by anaindiemood)
At a normal university you’ll still get instrumental lessons but the focus is mainly academic so you’ll be writing lots of papers based around music theory and music history. The academic music degree isn’t preparing you to be a performer so if you’re interested in careers in performance such as playing in orchestras then conservatories are more suited. Conservatoire study however focuses mainly on performance so you get many more hours of practical teaching such as orchestral lessons, chamber music coaching and lessons on your auxiliary instruments so for flute that’s piccolo lessons. At conservatoire they say about 70% of teaching is practical and the other 30% is academic but at university it’s the other way round(70% academic, 30% practical). Music in general is considered by most to be a somewhat difficult degree in terms of securing jobs afterwards. Because studying at conservatoire is so performance based many places of employment don’t consider it a “proper degree” because it doesn’t have the same academic rigour, however the discipline you have to show with heavy practice schedules is desirable. Conservatoire certainly wouldn’t be for you if you wouldn’t be prepared to buy in hours of practice a day! Do you have any idea what you’d fancy as a career? There’s definitely pros and cons of studying at uni or conservatoire it really is up to you! Because I’ve been at junior conservatoire I know lots about conservatoire study however I also have lots of close friends who have studied academic music, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
Thanks for your help! So far I think I ran out of questions :^_^: but coming back to you when I have more
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anaindiemood
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(Original post by hei_hin123)
Thanks for your help! So far I think I ran out of questions :^_^: but coming back to you when I have more
Good luck!
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UoB - Arts and Law
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Hi
I thought I'd give the uni side of things to this discussion!
I'm a 3rd year music student at the University of Birmingham and I was faced with a similar dilemma when I was 17/18 too. I also attended a junior school at the local conservatoire for a few years before I went to uni. At UoB we are different from other unis as we have the option to be heavily performance focussed. Most unis will offer lessons as part of the degree and some unis will even let you replace a dissertation with a performance - much like a conservatoire end of year recital. The reason I chose university was because I wanted to have a better chance of employment when I leave. It's definitely worked out for the best for me as I entered uni as a joint study singer and flautist and quickly realised I wanted to focus on my singing. So, in second year I dropped flute and became single study singer, however Birmingham University offers an excellent conducting course which I took in second year and did so well they offered me a place to do choral conducting as my 40 credit module in final year (this is instead of a dissertation). So through my time at uni I have become a choral conductor and I hope to go to RAC to do a masters when I leave.

Birmingham University has an outstanding 100% of students in relevant work or further education within 6 months of graduating - so please never think that an arts degree is 'unemployable'. A university degree is more versatile than conservatoire, yes you do more academic study but you can really do it in whatever you're interested in. And the essays really aren't that bad, this year I only did 5 essays spread across the year and at our uni we have the academic writing advisory service which helps you to improve your writing to help you get the best possible mark you can get. When I came to uni I didn't do very well in essays but thanks to AWAS I'm getting firsts!

At Birmingham we offer weekly master classes for performance students which are held by specialists in that instrument group and offer modules in professional skills and arts management to really help you prepare for performing in the 'real world'. We have two outstanding auditioned orchestras alongside many unauditioned groups (like flute choir or chamber choirs). Chamber groups are not examined but are promoted within the department, once a group is well established paid work can be found within the university at things like graduations and any events put on. Many people within uni go on to be professional players so don't think that an academic degree will hold you back, and you never know, going to uni might show you another interest you haven't discovered yet!

Hope this helps
- Jenny BMus, 3rd year
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Johnnyburunduk
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Hey guys, thanks for sharing. that information was useful for me too
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