Is conservatoire study right for me?

What are conservatoires like? How do conservatoires differ from a university or college? Find out here.

What are conservatoires like? How do conservatoires differ from a university or college? Find out here.

Courses are based around individual tuition, practical training, and frequent opportunities to perform. UCAS Conservatoires is the application service for performance-based courses in the UK – both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The different conservatoires

Each conservatoire has its own strengths and specialisms, so it’s important to research all of them to find the right fit for you. For example, although all conservatoires offer music courses, only two offer drama courses, and some offer subjects like film and production. To help decide, research what graduates from each conservatoire have gone on to do, to see if this fits with your aspirations.

The conservatoires in the UCAS Conservatoires scheme are:

Other conservatoires may operate outside the UCAS Conservatoire scheme. and you may have to apply to them direct or through the UCAS Undergraduate scheme. If the conservatoire is not listed above, check with them to find out more about their admissions process. 

Studying at a conservatoire

All courses at conservatoires have a strong vocational, performance orientation, and course structures are reflective of the industry. This means graduates from conservatoires will be accustomed to the ways of working, hours, and expectations of the industry they are going to work in, as they will have practised this throughout their course.

Instead of a limited number of contact hours per week at a university, conservatoire students often work a 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday routine. Performances and workshops are mostly held in the evenings and at weekends. On top of this, students are expected to practise extensively in their own time.

As conservatoire study is performance-centred, the year is broken down into a block of academic weeks, followed by a block of performance weeks.

The staff

All teaching staff at conservatoires are working professionals. There is a strong emphasis on one-to-one tuition, alongside group work and performances.

Professional musicians teach at conservatoires as part of their portfolios, and many teach at more than one conservatoire. At postgraduate level, students can choose to study under a particular tutor because of their reputation and distinction in their field. A particular tutor can be a main driving factor for choosing to study at a particular conservatoire.