Be part of a leading centre for organ studies
With 25 students, a world-class faculty and a new home on the horizon, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire enjoys a reputation as a leading centre for organ studies in the UK.
We are a destination of choice for some of the most gifted young professional musicians who, through our Junior Fellowship scheme, gain valuable experience of working at conservatoire level and receive support for competition preparation, research and performance projects. Current postgraduates (including musicians from cathedrals at Ely, Lichfield, Birmingham, Peterborough, St George's Chapel, Windsor, St Paul's Cathedral as well as international students from Germany, Norway, Japan and Hong Kong) include prizewinners at diploma, national and international competition level.
Recent undergraduates include several RCO prizewinners who have gone on to positions at cathedrals in Worcester, Chelmsford, St Davids, Liverpool, Hexham (Abbey), Chester, Norwich and St Wenzel Naumburg (Germany).
Benefit from unique resources to help you become the musician you want to be
The arrival of a major new instrument at the University of Birmingham this year and the Conservatoire's move to a new, purpose-built home in 2017 (together with new instruments and state-of-the-art facilities) promises to provide a unique set of resources that will further equip our students to become leaders in the profession.
The city of Birmingham boasts a vibrant cultural scene that includes the CBSO, BCMG and regular concerts by city organist, Thomas Trotter. With three concert hall organs on our doorstep, plus the libraries of the Royal College of Organists and BIOS in the city and tuition by internationally renowned musicians, Birmingham provides the ideal environment for the serious study, research and performance of organ art music.
Hone your skills through an inspiring programme of study
The focus of your study will be developing a solid technique and building a broad core repertoire with an emphasis on deepening your understanding in matters of performance practice, historically informed techniques and their practical application today.
Your course will also provide you with training in crucial skills required in the wider musical world. You will follow a syllabus with reading lists that cover three areas of repertoire per term and, in addition, receive training in church music skills, Royal College of Organists (RCO) diploma preparation, improvisation and continuo. Tuition is centred on the acclaimed, mechanical-action Walker organ in St Chad's Cathedral.
You will receive a first-study lesson with your principal teacher each week during term, plus occasional lessons with visiting specialists. In addition to first-study lessons, all undergraduates attend weekly performance classes and fortnightly choral conducting classes. Regular study trips to France, Germany and Holland include visits to historic instruments and masterclasses given by distinguished tutors and performers.
Birmingham is a centre of excellence for organ building, performance and research
Organ music plays a vital role in the life of the city of Birmingham, with regular profile recitals given by City Organist Thomas Trotter and guests on the Town Hall's historic instrument by William Hill and Symphony Hall's new Klais organ. Birmingham is also home to the libraries of the RCO and British Institute of Organ Studies. The city therefore offers a unique combination of resources and opportunities. The arrival of a new instrument by Marc Garnier at the University of Birmingham in 2014 will put the city firmly on the map as a centre of excellence in organ building, performance study and research.
Hone your harpsichord skills with exceptional instruments and tuition
Harpsichord is available as a first or second study. Our two main instruments are by Reinhard von Nagel, Paris (1988, after Michael Mietke) and Michael Johnson (1996, after Goermans/Taskin), and there are further German and Italian harpsichords as well as clavichords and a spinet.The syllabus covers the core harpsichord repertoire from the late 16th to the late 18th century but you may also study contemporary works if you wish. Coaching in chamber music (obbligato and continuo pieces) is available and both harpsichordists and organists have regular continuo classes.
Apply for prestigious scholarships which enhance your opportunities
As a Conservatoire student, you will have the opportunity to gain additional hands-on experience by applying for - including those at Birmingham's two cathedrals and the prestigious Percy Whitlock Organ Scholarship at Symphony Hall. You will receive details of the organ scholarships available after your application has been received. An entry scholarship for continuo players is also available.
- Organ scholarships
Organ scholarships are offered by St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham Cathedral, Coventry Cathedral, St Mary's Warwick and other local churches. The gives an appropriately experienced student a role in Symphony Hall’s educational programme and opportunities to demonstrate the instrument to a variety of audiences. You will receive details of the organ scholarships available after your application has been received.
- Continuo scholarship
One of our two Corton-Hyde Early Music Scholarships is available to support talented undergraduate or postgraduate keyboard students wishing to further their studies in Early Music.
Opportunities for younger musicians
On Saturdays during term the offers a comprehensive course for young organists aged 7-18, providing specialist training for beginners through to preparation for university and conservatoire entry.