Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Degree level: Undergraduate
UCAS Conservatoires

BMus (Hons) Traditional Music - Piping

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

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.

Course details

Principal study options

During the application and audition process, you must select which instrument(s) you wish to specialise in for the duration of your course. On this course, you can choose from the following options:

Single specialism

Only one instrument is studied. It may be possible to study a further instrument formatively, but this will not contribute towards the qualification.

Instrument/specialisms

For all courses, you must select at least one specialism from the 'primary' list. For those studying primary/secondary pathways, two instruments may be selected – one from the 'primary' list and one from the 'secondary' list. Joint pathway students may select any two instruments from either list.

Primary instrument/specialism

  • Highland Bagpipes

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.


How to apply

*If you are an international applicant, or you are applying for a postgraduate course, or are choosing certain assessment locations, the 'on time' deadline may be later in the year - please contact the conservatoire directly.

Application codes

Course code:
251F
Institution code:
R58
Campus name:
Main Site
Campus code:
-

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

Currently around 20% of our students come from outside the UK. Between them, they represent over 60 different nationalities and add a rich diversity to the Conservatoire.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Additional entry requirements

Audition

Please refer to our Guide for Applicants for what to prepare for audition - https://www.rcs.ac.uk/studyhere/how-to-apply/music/


Assessment locations

In the event of a successful assessment, applicants may be invited for a further interview prior to being made an offer.

Remote assessment recordings may be accepted in the event that you cannot attend an assessment in person.

Single specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
Recording£65£65

Joint principal specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
RecordingNot available at this location

Additional information

For more information on what to prepare for the audition, please see our website - https://www.rcs.ac.uk/courses/bmus-with-honours/traditional-music-piping/


Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students
71%
Student satisfaction
50%
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
85%
Go onto work and study

The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Channel Islands £9250* Year 1
Republic of Ireland £9250* Year 1
England £9250* Year 1
Scotland £1820* Year 1
Wales £9250* Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250* Year 1
EU £18393* Year 1
International £18393* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

For more information on fees and funding, please see our website - https://www.rcs.ac.uk/apply/finance/feesandfunding

Sponsorship information

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/apply/finance/scholarships/.

BMus (Hons) Traditional Music - Piping at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - UCAS