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Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Bachelor of Music (Hons) Jazz

UCAS Code: 303F

Bachelor of Music (with Honours) - BMus (Hon)

Entry requirements


Passes in two subjects at A Level

Passes in three subjects at Higher level

You may also need to…

Perform an audition

About this course


Course option

4years

Full-time | 2019

Subject

Music

The Jazz department, led by Professor Tommy Smith, internationally renowned saxophonist and major force in European jazz, is vibrant and energetic, and continues to produce successful musicians and new voices within the UK jazz scene.

Studying Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire offers a high level of training aimed at cultivating your development as a creative and versatile jazz performer. The BMus programme explores jazz in the broadest possible terms, and provide the opportunity to play, perform, compose and record in many different jazz styles and settings.

The BMus in Jazz is a specialist pathway for a performance career in jazz. It is the first and the only full-time degree level jazz course in Scotland and offers many creative and artistic opportunities to you as a performer across a wide-ranging curriculum. You’ll receive tuition from some of the finest jazz musicians and educators in the UK. Currently we offer the highest amount of contact time offered anywhere in the UK with 90 minutes of individual lessons each week on your principal study instrument, with the opportunity to study a second instrument made available across all four years of study. This allows you to maximise your instrumental skills and nurture your creative potential as an artist.

The BMus programme is delivered to a small, focused cohort of students in each year group that form a unique ensemble and grow together throughout the BMus jazz pathway towards graduation. As a student, you are also encouraged to interact with other year groups and students from other disciplines across the RCS in the spirit of our cross-disciplinary curriculum.

Through class teaching in our dedicated jazz studios, you’ll study the essentials of chord-scale harmony, improvisation, classic repertoire, composition, history, music business and arranging. Our vision of jazz is comprehensive and inclusive, and you’ll be introduced to the full range of contexts from solo and ensemble work through to big band settings.

Studying Jazz at the Conservatoire provides numerous opportunities to perform both in and out of the institution. On campus are our Blue Mondays concerts (also streamed live on the internet), featuring students and tutors, often performing alongside special guest performers. Past clinicians have included Makoto Ozone, Courtney Pine, Jacqui Dankworth, Branford Marsalis, David Liebman, Peter Erskine, Paolo Fresu, Bill Evans, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker and Arild Andersen. Students also take part annually in a BBC broadcast recording for Radio Scotland’s Jazz House programme, in which they perform their own compositions. In addition, 4th year students each year undertake a 3-day recording and mixing session with Nimbus Records, resulting in an album release on the record label.

The Jazz department maintains close ties with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. This relationship with what many consider Europe’s foremost contemporary big band has given students in Jazz at the Conservatoire access to performances and rehearsals by Kurt Elling, John Scofield, Gary Burton, Joe Lovano and Gunther Schuller .

Previous students of the Jazz department have been recipients of the prestigious Yamaha Jazz Scholarship, with pianists Peter Johnstone and Utsav Lal obtaining scholarships in 2013 and 2014. They also recorded a CD for the cover of Jazzwise magazine, and performed at the Houses of Parliament in London.

As a Jazz student at RCS, you will reap the full benefits of highly modern academic facilities, combined with the highest quality teaching in a city brimming with jazz, and a country resplendent with artistic opportunity.

Modules

Year 1

You will tackle the fundamentals of jazz composition and expand your knowledge of jazz repertoire in simulated live performance sessions. You will also develop your aural awareness, sight-reading, sight-singing and musical dictation skills. You will be given a broad overview of the history of jazz and you will look ahead to working in the music business learning how to create a biography and an invoice.

Year 2

Your jazz composition skills are at the core of your learning in year two: you will perform your own compositions and write for a jazz ensemble. Performance sessions will focus on learning classic jazz repertoire, melodies and chord progressions completely by ear. Underpinning this will be the development of your historical understanding of jazz from Mingus through to Acid Jazz. Music business classes will cover topics such as performance contracts, riders and stage plans.

Year 3

You will continue to develop and integrate your understanding of all areas of jazz composition. For the first time, you will create a jazz arrangement for a big band and get to grips with producing jazz in a recording studio. Your ear training skills will be further developed with a focus on conducting, rhythmic duets, and sight-singing. You will learn how to develop a mock funding application.

Year 4

All of your composition skills will be put to test as you compose and arrange original works for a jazz orchestra. You will also further develop your jazz production skills in the recording studio and record an end of year CD for Nimbus. As you prepare to graduate, music business classes will focus on developing a personal website.

Tuition fees

Select where you currently live to see what you'll pay:

England
£9,250
per year
EU
£1,820
per year
International
£16,026
per year
Northern Ireland
£9,250
per year
Scotland
£1,820
per year
Wales
£9,250
per year

Extra funding

The Royal Conservatoire is able to offer a number of entrance scholarships which are awarded as part of the audition/selection process on the basis of merit and financial need. Please see our website for more information - https://www.rcs.ac.uk/studyhere/scholarships/.

The Uni


Course location:

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Department:

School of Music

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What students say


We've crunched the numbers to see if overall student satisfaction here is high, medium or low compared to students studying this subject(s) at other universities.

75%
med
Music

How do students rate their degree experience?

The stats below relate to the general subject area/s at this university, not this specific course. We show this where there isn’t enough data about the course, or where this is the most detailed info available to us.

Music

Teaching and learning

82%
Staff make the subject interesting
92%
Staff are good at explaining things
76%
Ideas and concepts are explored in-depth
84%
Opportunities to apply what I've learned

Assessment and feedback

Feedback on work has been timely
Feedback on work has been helpful
Staff are contactable when needed
Good advice available when making study choices

Resources and organisation

82%
Library resources
88%
IT resources
88%
Course specific equipment and facilities
51%
Course is well organised and has run smoothly

Student voice

Staff value students' opinions

Who studies this subject and how do they get on?

62%
UK students
38%
International students
48%
Male students
52%
Female students
85%
2:1 or above
4%
Drop out rate

After graduation


The stats in this section relate to the general subject area/s at this university – not this specific course. We show this where there isn't enough data about the course, or where this is the most detailed info available to us.

Music

What are graduates doing after six months?

This is what graduates told us they were doing (and earning), shortly after completing their course. We've crunched the numbers to show you if these immediate prospects are high, medium or low, compared to those studying this subject/s at other universities.

£19,000
high
Average annual salary
100%
high
Employed or in further education
70%
low
Employed in a role where degree was essential or beneficial

Top job areas of graduates

77%
Artistic, literary and media occupations
8%
Other administrative occupations
4%
Science, engineering and production technicians
What do graduate employment figures really tell you?

Music is a popular degree subject and a little over 4,600 degrees were awarded to UK graduates in 2015. Most were working after six months — but postgraduate study (usually continuing with music) is quite common and a lot of graduates go into music teaching, often as freelance or travelling music teachers of particular instruments. Obviously, many music graduates get work as musicians as well, or work as sound recordists and in similar technical roles. Music is important in advertising and so a lot of graduates go into this industry, and management is also a popular job role for music graduates. There's also a niche for music graduates wanting to work in IT and computing, particularly with web applications. Because a lot of musician work is temporary or freelance, the most common way for new graduates to get jobs as musicians is through their own contacts, so learning how to make good use of networks and contacts might help in your career.

What about your long term prospects?

Looking further ahead, below is a rough guide for what graduates went on to earn.

Music

The graph shows median earnings of graduates who achieved a degree in this subject area one, three and five years after graduating from here.

£13k

£13k

£16k

£16k

£21k

£21k

Note: this data only looks at employees (and not those who are self-employed or also studying) and covers a broad sample of graduates and the various paths they've taken, which might not always be a direct result of their degree.

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This is the percentage of applicants to this course who received an offer last year, through Ucas.

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This is what the university has told Ucas about the course. Use it to get a quick idea about what makes it unique compared to similar courses, elsewhere.

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Course location and department:

This is what the university has told Ucas about the course. Use it to get a quick idea about what makes it unique compared to similar courses, elsewhere.

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Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF):

We've received this information from the Department for Education, via Ucas. This is how the university as a whole has been rated for its quality of teaching: gold silver or bronze. Note, not all universities have taken part in the TEF.

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This information comes from the National Student Survey, an annual student survey of final-year students. You can use this to see how satisfied students studying this subject area at this university, are (not the individual course).

We calculate a mean rating of all responses to indicate whether this is high, medium or low compared to the same subject area at other universities.

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This information is from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

You can use this to get an idea of who you might share a lecture with and how they progressed in this subject, here. It's also worth comparing typical A-level subjects and grades students achieved with the current course entry requirements; similarities or differences here could indicate how flexible (or not) a university might be.

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Post-six month graduation stats:

This is from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, based on responses from graduates who studied the same subject area here.

It offers a snapshot of what grads went on to do six months later, what they were earning on average, and whether they felt their degree helped them obtain a 'graduate role'. We calculate a mean rating to indicate if this is high, medium or low compared to other universities.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

Graduate field commentary:

The Higher Education Careers Services Unit have provided some further context for all graduates in this subject area, including details that numbers alone might not show

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

The Longitudinal Educational Outcomes dataset combines HRMC earnings data with student records from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

While there are lots of factors at play when it comes to your future earnings, use this as a rough timeline of what graduates in this subject area were earning on average one, three and five years later. Can you see a steady increase in salary, or did grads need some experience under their belt before seeing a nice bump up in their pay packet?

Have a question about this info? Learn more here