We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

BMus (Hons) Traditional Music - Piping

UCAS Code: 251F

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

Entry requirements


Passes in two subjects at A Level Subjects recommended are: • History at Advanced level • English at Advanced level • The study of Gaelic and/or another European language at least to GCSE

Passes in three subjects at Higher level Subjects recommended are: • History at Higher • English at Higher • The study of Gaelic and/or another European language at least to National 4/5 or Standard Grade

You may also need to…

Perform an audition

About this course


Course option

4years

Full-time | 2019

Subject

Music

This is the UK’s only Bachelor of Music curriculum dedicated to traditional and folk music, and to the music of the Scottish Highland Bagpipe. Aspiring performers on this course explore Scotland’s unique and dynamic musical traditions as a conceptual, critical and creative framework within which to achieve a historically-informed yet distinctively personal voice as a piper and artist. This is interwoven with a solid basis in contemporary and eclectic performance practice.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and The National Piping Centre offer a specialist degree that allows pipers to study piping within the context of Scottish traditional music to the highest level. This unique degree offers the chance for students to concentrate on the total study of piping in all forms, whilst also developing their performance under some of the best players in the world. Students receive instruction individually and in small groups and workshop settings. The course includes substantial study of the history, repertoire, contexts, traditions, performance practice and organology of the bagpipes, producing expert performers that have a deep understanding of their own, and other, traditions.

The connection between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the National Piping Centre lies at the very heart of the current drive to bring Scotland’s national music to its rightful place in the nation’s cultural life.

The nature of the Highland bagpipe and its repertoire, defined by highly individual and highly complex parameters of performance and musical structure, demands a teaching approach which integrates the instrument with the rest of Scottish traditional music while simultaneously respecting its uniqueness. To that end, two separate degrees have been created – the BMus (Traditional Music) and the BMus (Traditional Music – Piping). The differences here are mainly ones of practicality: the piping degree is carefully structured to give the most thorough grounding possible in all aspects of the piping tradition, including vital specialisms – such as solo piping, pipe band skills, piobaireachd, light music, piping in a folk ensemble context and canntaireachd. However these two academic qualifications share an immense amount of common ground and the institutional emphasis is always on co-operation. This is based on the mutual recognition that a large part of the bagpipe’s future lies in working with other instruments, both from the wider Scottish tradition and beyond. The current results of our collaborations are exciting and thought-provoking in equal measure, and the feeling in the air is that we’re only at the beginning of this cultural and musical journey.

For any aspiring musician, the chance to immerse themselves in the study of their chosen instrument to learn from the masters is a thrilling prospect. That is what the BMus (Traditional Music – Piping) offer to pipers.

Modules

Year 1

In your first year, you will consolidate and enhance your performance technique, repertoire and personal style in your principal study instrument, interwoven with development as a critical and creative artist, able to connect and engage critically with your own experience as a piper. An introduction to digital literacy and website design features, as you not only begin to construct your identity as a musician, but interpret it to the world. At the same time, broaden your collaborative musical experience in both a discipline-specific and cross-disciplinary bedrock of practical supporting studies, including group singing, folk ensembles, music theory, studio recording and the consolidation of your skills in programming, performing and calling a ceilidh.

Year 2

In second year, you will continue to nurture and extend your knowledge and practical skills as a soloist and collaborative traditional musician through a broadening exploration of technique, repertoire and style relative to your instrument or vocal tradition. You will expand outwards, exploring historic and social contexts and concepts, and draw relationships between practice, perception and context. You will further nurture your soloist and collaborative composition, arrangement and performance skills and expand your entrepreneurial skillset with reference to licencing issues, intellectual property, marketing, digital music distribution and the option of organising your own tour. You will also begin to tap into the wider array of elective opportunities to be found in the department, the Royal Conservatoire and beyond.

Year 3

Year three will see you develop a solid musical persona through fluent knowledge and expertise informed by your principal study and a consolidation of your critical artistry in research and reflection. You will do this whilst developing your skills in teaching traditional music in a range of environments. You will address essential vocational issues in greater detail, such as self-assessed taxation, contract negotiation, creative arts funding and administration and the option of a formal work placement, in addition to an ongoing array of elective opportunities to be found in the department, the Royal Conservatoire and beyond; thereby continuing to nurture your own distinct artistic specialisms.

Year 4

Year four – the Honours year – occasions a synthesis of your critical, technical and creative development as a traditional musician or piper. In addition to engaging in your own substantial project work, deeply rooted in both tradition and innovation, toward an independent and original contribution to the field, you will continue to take advantage of the array of elective opportunities to be found in the department, the Royal Conservatoire and beyond. The Honours year is student-centred: working to achieve a distinct identity and musical voice within your own established parameters, culminating in a themed final public recital.

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

Calculate your living costs

See how much you'll need to live on at your chosen university, with our student budget calculator.

See your living costs

Study in Glasgow

Explore the local area, what there is to do for fun, living costs and other university options here.

Explore Glasgow
Read full university profile

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.

Share this page

Expert tips for uni - straight to your inbox
Free to students, teachers and parents
Sign me up

This is what the university has told Ucas about the criteria they expect applicants to satisfy; some may be compulsory, others may be preferable.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

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

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

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.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

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.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

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.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

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.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

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.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

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