As a student in the Strings Department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire you will be part of a dynamic and exceptionally supportive student and staff fraternity. Strings Staff include internationally renowned performers and pedagogues.

We foster creativity and individuality through our bold and varied performance programme offering a wide-ranging agenda of solo, chamber music and orchestral performance opportunities, many internal and external recital possibilities and frequent from international artists and visiting tutors.

Conservatoire Courses

Birmingham City University

Realise your dreams with the help of our committed staff

We devote much attention to Pedagogy and the importance of adequately preparing our students for this essential and fascinating facet of the music profession. Above anything else – we care about the future of every one of our students and are utterly committed to helping them realise their dreams.

Tutorial Staff within the department include seasoned soloists, chamber and orchestral musicians, pedagogues and educators at the forefront of Conservatoire training.

Learn from world-leading artists who will help you nurture your talent

Our students have the opportunity to work with visiting artists such as:

Students are also offered the opportunity to audition for placements with leading professional orchestras, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Welsh National Opera, Chamber Orchestra of EuropeCity of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), Birmingham Contemporary Music GroupLongborough Opera and Dorset Opera.

The Conservatoire has a small but beautiful collection of instruments for loan available to students during their period of study.

Baroque lessons and orchestral projects are an integral part of the performance programme, with several students opting to focus primarily on early music.

I chose RBC for the orchestral performance course because of its flexibility and integration with the CBSO. Learning from, playing alongside, and occasionally performing with an international standard orchestra has been an incredible experience, and one that I would highly recommend to anybody wanting an orchestral based career. The opportunities that I have benefitted from, both within the conservatoire and externally, may not have happened without the course, and will stand me in good stead for my future career.

Alastair Legg (Violin)

First Study Lessons and Tutorial Staff

If you would like more information and biographies of our strings department staff, please visit our Tutorial Staff section.

Each student in Years 1-3 is allocated 30 First Study hours, 2.5 Duo Coaching hours with a designated member of staff and five self-allocated hours where students may choose from a variety of First Study related options. In addition, every student plays in masterclasses, weekly performance classes with our world class staff pianists and receives specialised orchestral excerpt classes and training.  As part of the curriculum all strings students collaborate with composers, learn to write their own cadenzas, and also submit a multi-disciplinary video in BMus year 3.

All Year 4 students are allocated 35 First Study hours with Duo Coaching built into this figure.

Postgraduate First Study hours vary depending on which course of study you choose to follow.

Graduate with extensive performing experience that enhances your employability

Performance and performance opportunities are at the heart of the programme.

There are weekly performance classes, both instrument and year-specific taken by different internal and visiting members of staff.

Specific staff pianists are provided for each year group and all performance classes take place with your designated staff pianist.

On average each student will have four performance class opportunities within each academic year. Wednesday is Performance Class day at the Conservatoire, and as well as these individual slots there is also a weekly workshop/concert/debate where the entire department gathers for an hour and different areas are explored.

Recent workshops have been recitals and discussions with the Castalian and Solem Quartets and a side-by-side Schubert Quintet workshop with Hannah Roberts and Tamsin Waley-Cohen. There have also been performances and workshops from Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Timothy Ridout, Nicola Benedetti and visiting YCAT artists. Students also took part in an improvisation extravaganza with Abel Selaocoe and string orchestra workshop with Bradley Creswick – to name but a few!

There are weekly formal internal lunchtime and less formal recital opportunities up for grabs, as well as external for which students can apply.

The Conservatoire also hosts an annual Chamber Music Festival every June, providing high-profile performance opportunities for many chamber music groups and ensuring a core focus within the chamber music department.

Be part of an extensive orchestral programme and perform at prestigious venues

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, string orchestra, contemporary ensemble (Thallein) and baroque orchestra projects throughout the year, covering a vast tranche of standard as well as contemporary and more unusual repertoire.

Orchestral Auditions for strings students are held once a year and are conducted from behind a screen. All students will be seated in the various orchestral projects according to the result of their orchestral audition.

Leaders classes are organised for those students leading sections for each project, and sectionals and strings tutti rehearsals are led by a variety of specialists.

ARCO student teaching

Work with technology and improve your teaching skills in our state-of-the-art Distance Learning Hub

The string department has connections with many international institutions and teaching initiatives and was involved in the development of the renowned ARCO project with Morris Isaacson Centre for Music, in Soweto, Johannesburg. Students will have the opportunity to develop their teaching skills through our Pedagogy classes and demonstrate these in distance learning opportunities using our modern facilities. It is also possible to take part in online masterclasses with professors at other leading institutions.

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Work closely with a pianist to develop your skills

Each strings student is allocated a member of the piano accompaniment staff with whom they will work for the year, receiving a specific number of hours per academic year and enabling them to play with the same person in Performance Classes, Master Classes and Assessments.

The scheme was completely life-changing for me. It allowed me a real insight into the life of an orchestral musician, and I learnt so many practical skills, as well as obviously improving my playing dramatically whilst working with the orchestra. Since completing the scheme, the orchestra have booked me for extra work, which is something I could hardly have dreamed of before the scheme began!

Lucy Samuels (Cello)

Amy Littlewood

Studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire allowed me to grow and flourish into the player I am today…

Christina Bean

I enjoyed having the opportunity to play with many different ensembles and play in master classes…

David Chadwick

I had a great time at the Conservatoire. Still now, several concerts are fresh in my memory - it…