If you’re hoping to study Music after school, you might be deciding whether to apply to a conservatoire or university. In this blog, we’re going to tell you about studying at both to help you decide which one’s right for you.

Conservatoires/Music Colleges

Conservatoires provide a rich and stimulating environment to prepare aspiring musicians for the music industry. Generally, conservatoires are more focused on the practical side of music so they’re better suited if you want to be a professional musician and want more time to perform or compose.

Conservatoires are a brilliant place to hone your craft. At the heart of a conservatoire degree are individual lessons in your principal study/specialism (e.g., singing, bassoon) and your teacher will be a leading professional in their field; an incredible opportunity to learn from the best. There are other excellent opportunities as well, including lunchtime concerts and masterclasses with famous musicians.

You’ll also have the chance to take up a second or related study (e.g., first-study pianists might learn the harpsichord). You’ll attend classes in areas such as conducting, ensembles (e.g., chamber music, orchestra) and music history to help you become a well-rounded musician. Furthermore, conservatoires have sessions about the business side of music to equip students with the skills to manage a freelance/portfolio music career.

What’s more, conservatoires now offer courses in a wide range of genres and disciplines, whether you want to specialise in classical, early music, opera, contemporary composition, film scoring, commercial music, jazz or folk music.

However, applying for a conservatoire is notoriously competitive and the standards are very high. Students need to show commitment to the rigour of conservatoire life and a musical career. They’re expected to work hard and practise regularly to meet the requisite standards for lessons and assessments.

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University Music Departments

Today, universities have a huge variety of music degrees. If you’d like a more intellectual experience, you may wish to do a degree focused on “musicology,” the academic study of music. Musicology entails various aspects such as music analysis, music history, philosophy, the sociology of music, and criticism of music and literature. These varying strands mean that you’ll reflect on key concepts, critical issues and the broader implications of music.

However, you may choose a university music degree that’s more practical or performance-based such as Chichester University or the Colchester Institute of Music. Many universities have connections with conservatoires, so students can have lessons at the music colleges as part of their course. And universities provide students with wonderful extracurricular opportunities for practical music such as student orchestras or choral scholarships.

Universities offer music degrees in many specialisms. You could study a degree in composition, music theatre, music technology/production or a combination of areas mentioned above. The School of Oriental and African Studies in London has degrees in ethnomusicology, where you’ll learn about diverse musical cultures around the world.

One of the great things about studying music at university is that you’ll meet people reading many different subjects, so this will help you to gain a broad education not just during your degree but outside studying. Indeed, you can choose to study other subjects alongside Music as part of a joint or combined honours degree (e.g., Music and French, Music and Maths).

Whether you choose a conservatoire or university, both offer exciting yet diverse opportunities to discover your interests in music. And PlayScore 2 is an excellent app for your musical studies, allowing you to work easily and smoothly with your scores. Wherever you’re applying, we hope that your application is successful!

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