As a student of the woodwind department, you will immediately appreciate the supportive and collaborative attitude shared by our staff and students, making for an atmosphere that is motivational rather than competitive.
We offer a wide range of experiences for our students, as soloists, in orchestras and as chamber musicians. You would be part of a very busy department!
We also devote much attention to pedagogy – an essential and extremely rewarding asset for future employment.
We take the greatest care to nurture and develop every student's skills, to create individuals with a wealth of knowledge, who are fully prepared for the profession.
Our expert teaching staff are renowned as leading performers and teachers in the UK and provide exceptional tuition.
We also have Consultant Visiting Teachers who give a whole day of tuition once a term in the form of an open lessons/masterclass.
Recently, our students have had the opportunity to work with:
The Atéa Wind Quintet
The Atéa Wind Quintet joined Birmingham Conservatoire as our 'Associate Ensemble in Residence' in September 2012 and work with students on wind chamber music. A member of the quintet visits us nearly every week, mentoring, coaching and guiding our groups. In addition, the Quintet gives concerts, breathing classes, 'side by side' opportunities. They have provided a totally inspirational addition to the department.
CBSO Woodwind Training Scheme
Students are offered the opportunity to audition to sit in the CBSO for rehearsals. This is an enormously valuable and exciting project. Before the auditions take place, players from the CBSO hold audition preparation workshops, and after the audition, opportunities for feedback and continued advice on auditions.
Wind Repertoire Classes
From the very first weeks of your study, you'll find yourself playing in a wind repertoire class. Available at introductory and advanced levels, these classes cover much of the standard orchestral repertoire from the point of view of the wind section and are a first step in learning the skills of listening and playing in an ensemble. You'll then develop these further through our Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra and highly accomplished Wind Ensemble.
We have weekly performance classes and masterclasses from international artists and our own visiting teachers.
All students attend the classes and learn to give constructive advice to one other, as well as having several opportunities to perform throughout the year.
Every student is entitled to a staff pianist for a rehearsal and the performance.
Our weekly Woodwind Workshops provide opportunities for a wide range of activities. This year we have had talks and demonstrations, including:
- Instrument repair classes
- A fascinating talk presented by a West End and session musician
- by Jonathan Kelly, solo oboe Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
- Working with your skill set to help with employment after graduating
- 'The Athletic Musician' - working on awareness of a musician's health matters
The orchestral programme is full and includes several concerts in Symphony Hall, the home of CBSO, and also other external venues around Birmingham.
There are regular symphony, opera, contemporary ensemble (Thallein) and baroque orchestra projects throughout the year, covering a vast tranche of standard as well as contemporary and more unusual repertoire.
The Conservatoire have several instruments for loan, including:
- Cor anglais
- Bass clarinets
- Baroque oboes
- French bassoon
- Baroque bassoons
- Classical clarinets.
Baroque lessons and orchestral projects are an integral part of the performance programme, with several students opting to focus primarily on early music.
News in Woodwind
- Michael Collins - recital and masterclasses - December 2016
- Sir James and Lady Galway - Concert and masterclasses 22-24 May 2017
- Welsh National Opera – 'side by side', frequent opportunities for students playing with professionals
- Atéa Wind Quintet – Associate Ensemble in Residence – continuing!
- City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra training scheme - offers exceptional opportunity for students to sit the woodwind section in rehearsals
- Celia Craig, oboe masterclass - Principal Oboe Adelaide Symphony Orchestra January 2017
- Jonathan Kelly, Principal Oboe, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra spends two days with us - Jan 2017
- Multi-instrumentalist Consultant: Paul Saunders - works with students on skills for West End show work