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Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

13

Replies to: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

  • zonolozonolo Posts: 54Registered User Junior Member
    I want to write this carefully so not to deter any prospective UK student based on our personal experience. We also took a leap of faith for a program that was extremely rigorous training wise and very focused which was what my son felt he wanted and needed. We researched everything carefully and everything fell into place including acceptance to his first choice school. London was great and he loved the experience. He realized, however, that the 8 to 10 hour days of straight training without the shows and regular performance opportunities made him feel dispassionate and regimented. He had a 30 to 45 minute commute each way and battled fatigue and sickness the first several months which did not help. We made the difficult decision that he will not return in the fall and will view this year as a gap year with some fantastic training and experiences. He learned alot about himself and what he wants. The financial impact was very challenging and it made no sense to push through the program if it was not what he wanted. He hopes to return to the UK down the line for an MA program but wants a more traditional college experience despite the fact that a year ago he couldn't have been further from that. It is a bittersweet subject for me and it has been a difficult conclusion to reach. I have no doubt that others will do just fine in their prospective programs. The experience was tremendous and positive despite making the ultimate decision to return to the US and embark on a more traditional path....same goals, different path.
  • connectionsconnections Posts: 925Registered User Member
    Thank you for sharing this. I'm sorry it didn't work out for him despite all your planning and tremendous help, but I think the way you're framing it is marvelous. You're right, it is a learning and growth experience. *Many* students - not just those in the UK - leave their programs for a wide variety of reasons. My oldest son did. It was scary and confusing and disappointing at the time, but in retrospect, for him, it was absolutely the right thing to do. This is why people transfer, this is why leaves of absences exist. This gap year will help him figure out what he wants and you're right, he will be that much more mature. Best of luck in his journey.
  • frazzled35frazzled35 Posts: 165Registered User Junior Member
    I second what connections said...part of the growing experience as a young person and an artist will lead to some changes. Sometimes those can be a little painful and expensive. I certainly worry that the same thing could happen to my D. Of course, she insists this is what she wants. As for the expense-I am scared to death we are not going to budget correctly. * Time for deep breathing exercises *
  • connectionsconnections Posts: 925Registered User Member
    frazzled35, I think I mentioned my S studied at RCS last summer for four weeks. He loved it. I was very worried beforehand but he easily managed and extra costs were not high. THere is a Sainsbury's (a supermarket chain) right there and he picked up food to cook there. If you want, you can pm me for a cost estimate. Of course, it depends on how frugal your daughter is. If you want to keep your budget down, you can't eat out a lot or buy a lot of packaged foods. In general though, Glasgow is not nearly as expensive as London. YOu won't need public transportation. They will put you up in Liberty Houses at least the first year and this is only a 10 minute walk to the school. It has nice kitchen supplies. Bear in mind *all* the students cook and budget on their own and also many students will not be wealthy, so many will be budgeting. She won't be on her own that way. The city has some very nice places to visit and explore, although it does have its 'bad' areas (like nearly all American cities).
  • zonolozonolo Posts: 54Registered User Junior Member
    Connections is correct, Glasgow is much more reasonable than London and alot of the kids live at the location (Liberty House)...at least as first year and not having to commute all over the city for classes is a big plus. Frazzles35 you will be able to establish a budget and stick to it and I cannot see the dollar/pound fluctuating like it did in the past 12 months...in fact, it could begin to work in your favor in the future. The kids get very good at shopping and making their meals and my son became quite a good cook in the process. The kids will chip in for meals and cook together as well. My son's friends were all on budgets as well so they made it work. Our issues on cost came more from currency fluctuations and things we didn't budget in, haircuts, extra transportation, pharmacy supplies but Glasgow is so much more reasonable a city expense wise. We also always packed him up with food items whenever anyone was going back and forth...giant jars of peanut butter, snack items, breakfast bars. I am sure your daughter will have an incredible experience and I believe fully (despite our experience) that it is such an amazing opportunity to take advantage of. Our son was able to transfer to a school that he had been accepted into last year in the MT and dance departments who re-accepted him without having to audition again so he will be going there. It will give him the more traditional focus with lots and lots of opportunities for performance between the Dance Company and the theater stuff...so all worked out in the end. He has learned a lot as much as it was a "painful and expensive" year for us and I know he plans to audition for Masters programs down the line in the UK. For now, I will live vicariously through your kids as they embark on this fabulous adventure.
  • SU88BFASU88BFA Posts: 243Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks for your posts, Zonolo-- They are very informative! . My son has also been accepted to RCS's MT program, along with frazzled35's D. My son hasn't made his final decision yet, but RCS is very much in the running. I'm the nervous mom, knowing I'll worry about him "over there" but I can't help but think of how (potentially!) amazing his experience could be there. During this whole audition process and campus visits, he's gravitated more towards the urban-environment schools. We live in very boring suburbia, so I think RCS and Glasgow will be good for him, in many ways.
  • SU88BFASU88BFA Posts: 243Registered User Junior Member
    I'm bumping this thread up, in case any of this years parents or students have any questions about RCS. My son is there now-- he's a first-year Musical Theater major, and living in Liberty House. There are 5 first-year American kids in the MT program-- the most they've ever had in 1 class/year. 18 kids total in the MT class- a very nice number. (The rest are from all over the UK-- Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and London.) The first-years do not audition for shows, but there seem to be many outside opportunities for these kids-- my son joined the Youth Symphonia and will be performing in a concert in February that is being produced by some folks from the West End.

    RCS-- and Glasgow especially-- has been a wonderful experience so far. Granted, he's only got 6 weeks of classes under his belt, but he's been busy, and he says it's hard work. (The course starts at the end of September, and last day of classes is mid-June. So-- the RCS schedule is about 5-6 weeks different from the US schools.) RCS requires the students to take an instrument, in addition to the vocal, acting and dance classes, so the kids graduate as "Quadruple threats." They are also very keen on introducing newly written material into the curriculum. There are 4 dance/movement classes that he takes a week. In the spring he'll start tap. He has private and group vocal lessons.

    He's grown up a lot in these last 2 months! There is no meal plan at the dorm, so he's on a budget and is cooking all of his meals. (He admits that that was a lot tougher than he thought it was going to be, but he's surviving-- and eating! He likes to take pictures of his "creations" and send them to me. Oh, my....some are a little scary, but whatever! LOL). We use PayPal to transfer his money to him-- That was easy, and totally the way to go. He needed a brand new phone there-- his U.S. Verizon phone wouldn't work, and we knew that prior to going over-- so he got an iPhone for graduation. Drinking age is 18-- but no driving to worry about as the dorm is in city centre and the kids walk everywhere.

    I could go on and on..... But if any one has any Qs, I'll do my best to answer them.
  • MTmom2015MTmom2015 Posts: 297Registered User Junior Member
    Did your S do a walk in at Unifieds, or did you plan to audition?
  • SU88BFASU88BFA Posts: 243Registered User Junior Member
    He walked-in at Chicago Unifieds. I was able to get in touch with the RCS scheduler when we arrived in Chicago, so it was scheduled a few days before the actual audition. RCS was the only school that my son asked me to schedule a walk-in for in Chicago....he'd been on their website prior and liked what he saw. My S had not applied to the school prior to the audition, but was told to when we were leaving--- he was accepted into the program on-the-spot. His auditioner was Andrew Panton, who's the head of the MT dept. (but we didn't know that at the time. Andrew is why my son is at RCS today.)
  • MTmom2015MTmom2015 Posts: 297Registered User Junior Member
    So, how did that work? Obviously, he'd researched the audition requirements (4 songs, 2 mono (1 Shakespeare)) and was prepared. Did you have a choice of audition times/days? Did you just go to the RCS audition room at Unifieds and inquire? or make a call? Did you pay a fee that day?
  • SU88BFASU88BFA Posts: 243Registered User Junior Member
    I scheduled the audition using email to the scheduler......not sure how I even got HIS email-- total fluke! (Looking back, I think it was a sign...) I was able to choose a day/time that fit S's schedule. It ended up being his very last audition of the season. He did not research what RCS required, regarding songs, etc. He just went into the audition and "winged it." His 15-minute allotted slot ended up lasting 45-minutes-- they really put him through his paces and even downloaded sheet music so S could sing a song not in his book. We did not pay any fees then, but when we returned home, paid the audition and application fees online. RCS did not hold their audition at the Palmer House Hilton-- We had to take a taxi to the Westin on Michigan Ave.
  • MTmom2015MTmom2015 Posts: 297Registered User Junior Member
    Thank you! Very helpful...
  • asoldoasoldo Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    MTmom2015. My D is a 3rd year MT student at RCS and attended Chicago Unifieds 3 years ago. RCS was the very last of 7 auditions she completed at Unifieds. She had researched their MT program that fall on the recommendation of her Theatre History teacher in High School. He thought it was a good fit and so did she! By the time she began auditions she ranked it was her dream/reach school. My D applied/paid ahead of time through CUKAS, which is the acronym and official website for the Conservatoires UK Admissions Service. I think my D eventually arranged for the Chicago audition through the international student advisor at RCS. She is great and answered a lot of our questions.

    My D is a strong actress as well, and decided to audition for both MT and Drama. Because she had time between applying and auditioning, my D followed the guidelines for the audition material for both departments. She auditioned for RCS Drama first and then went in to audition for MT. My D was most concerned about the instrumental assessment because she had only a few weeks of piano instruction before her RCS audition. With her usual spunk, though, she played her beginning piano piece and the reviewers applauded at the end to help make her feel more at ease. So, if you are not stellar at playing an instrument in addition to all the usual MT requirements, do not lose heart. Just do the best you can and express a willingness to learn and work hard. As I recall, the dance call back was held several hours after the main audition, so be aware of that since the auditions are not on site at The Palmer and are a taxi ride away. You may want to look for a coffee shop or restaurant to wait in between the auditions. That's what we did. The year my D auditioned, Andrew Panton was unable to attend so all auditions were filmed and brought back for him to assess.

    A week after Unifieds, my D was first sent a message from the RCS Drama Dept (through CUKAS) that she was on a list of those in consideration and would hear a final decision in the near future. About a week later, she received a conditional acceptance to the MT Dept. (and the condition was that she graduate from High School). My D debated whether to wait for the final Drama decision before deciding or embracing the MT offer. After a few days of contemplation, she decided to accept MT regardless. Once she accepted the RCS MT offer on CUKAS, she had to decline any other UK Conservatoire offers (pending or otherwise) so we never heard the final Drama verdict.

    We were unable to tour the campus ahead of time, but my D did know a few other students from her HS that had attended RCS (in different departments) and she was also put in touch with current MT students who could answer more specific questions about the MT BA Program. Her Drama History teacher had also toured RCS and felt very comfortable with the campus and program.

    My D has been 100% happy with her decision to study MT abroad at RCS. The training is phenomenal and she loves working with Andrew Panton and his talented MT staff. They guide and develop each student's distinctive artistic voice. My D bought a used mandolin a month after she arrived in Glasgow and when her instructors saw her playing around with it they quickly found a teacher for her in the Music Dept. of the conservatoire and offered her lessons free of charge. It is truly amazing how much she has learned on the mandolin in two and a half short years of instruction. My D will actually be playing that instrument in the actor-muso show later this year :)

    This is her final year and her class will perform 3 shows and have 3 showcases. They are working on "Our House" right now and it goes up later this month. They will perform "West Side Story" and "Godspell" in March and May respectively. Every third year student is in every show. They rotate leads and ensemble roles so everyone gets to experience both types. Many MT students are given leadership opportunities (such as Dance Captain) as well. The showcases are held in Glasgow, London, and NYC. American students attend all 3 showcases and UK/Other attend the first two.

    Each of the 3 years in conservatoire is filled with great instruction and performance opportunities. Some of the first year students will be appearing on MTV EMAs (European Music Awards) this Sunday at 7:00 pm Eastern, so watch for them! They will be performing from the Hydro in Glasgow :)
  • connectionsconnections Posts: 925Registered User Member
    Awesome asoldo and SU88BFA! Very cool to hear! For those who are interested as well - to add to this very informative post - my S is at LAMDA. I didn't know this starting out this process, but in case others don't, LAMDA (like many UK schools) doesn't have a separate track for MT versus straight. They all train in acting, MT/opera, dance, voice, mask, clown, combat, singing, voiceover, radio, screenwriting etc.

    However, for LAMDA and other UK drama schools, the audition is more focused on the acting aspect, particularly classical acting. I also have a slightly different experience as well with logistics if anyone cared to pm me.
  • MTmom2015MTmom2015 Posts: 297Registered User Junior Member
    (Still popping in with questions... fascinated!!!) So, what are the employment prospects for grads of overseas programs? Do most end up back in NY after grad... or do they stay in the UK?
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