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 lively and supportive recorder department provides tuition in all aspects of style, technique and repertoire.



Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is at the forefront of saxophone education.



Find out more about the audition process and requirements for the department.

Our staff

Our expert teaching staff are renowned as leading performers and teachers in the UK and provide exceptional tuition.

Our staff

Our tutors

Our expert teaching staff are renowned as leading performers and teachers in the UK and provide exceptional tuition.

Our tutors


Come along to an RBC performance to see our current students in action, alongside some of the biggest names in classical and contemporary music.

Upcoming performances

Orchestras and Ensembles

Whilst studying at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, you will have many opportunities to play in the various ensembles and orchestras. These include:

  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Repertoire Orchestra
  • Thallein Orchestra
  • Baroque Orchestra
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Opera Orchestra
  • Classical Big Band
  • Wind Orchestra

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - 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. Successful students will be invited in for a selection of orchestral rehearsals and free tickets to concerts. An unbeatable experience!

Following on from the CBSO scheme opportunity, several of our students have been invited to play professionally with the CBSO.

BRB Student-in-Residence Scheme

Birmingham Royal Ballet has launched a new Student-in-Residence scheme. This exciting new scheme selects a student from across the Conservatoire for the opportunity to play in rehearsals with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet, for one calendar year. Throughout this scheme the student will be mentored by members of the orchestra and Principal Conductor Paul Murphy.

Welsh National Opera Side-by-Side

Playing alongside members of the Welsh National Opera (WNO) orchestra as part of complete woodwind sections, and directed by WNO’s conductors and leaders, this scheme gives students valuable insight into the special flexibility that is required in opera repertoire.

Woodwind Multi-instrumentalists - apply now!

RBC is delighted to announce an addition to its BMus Woodwind syllabus, offering a new BMus multi-instrumentalist specialism. This exciting development will enable you to be trained to a high level in three woodwind instruments by professionals who currently work in the musical theatre industry. Furthermore, studying as a woodwind multi-instrumentalist offers the opportunity to pursue and access a range of employment avenues in a competitive field.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in musical theatre rather than a traditional orchestral route, either at undergraduate or postgraduate level, please email Jenni Phillips, Head of Woodwind, to discuss.

As the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Multi Instrumental Consultant, Paul Saunders' role includes helping any interested students to continue learning their second and third instruments. He prepares aspiring multi-instrumentalists in the doubling skills needed to play in the West End, in touring shows and in Operas. His publications include 'So You Want to Play in Shows' and 'Double Troubles' - designed for multi-instrumentalists to practice fast instrument changes as if the performer were in a pit situation.

Double Reed Room

The Double Reed Room is the hub of double reed life at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The room is used for reed making and instrument repair lessons, and has a large selection of high-quality specialist oboe and bassoon machines for students to use.

The room also features shelving space for drying reeds and lockers for members of the double reed department. We have two student room monitors who keep a constant eye on the machines to ensure they are always working well.

Many students arrive having never made a reed before, and the vast majority graduate as completely independent reed makers. We have regular reed classes from Jenni Phillips (Head of Woodwind, oboe). The design of the room, with a large work bench in the centre, ensures that classes are sociable and everyone can exchange ideas.

 [00:00:01] Speaker 1  I chose to come to Birmingham purely because of its atmosphere. What made me choose Birmingham was the way I was welcomed when I came.


[00:00:16] Speaker 2 I felt really at home here, even just looking around. Everyone was smiling. The departments are a really close knit group.


[00:00:24] Speaker 1 It's just a lovely place to be. The students here are fantastic. Actually, there's a real kind of energy and enthusiasm. It gets you as you walk in the door. I love the atmosphere here. I love it. It's very supportive and friendly. The students can take a risk and not be embarrassed. Generally, that's very important for any musician or artist to be able to develop.


[00:01:03] Speaker 3 For me, the thing that really sets the Conservatoire apart from other music colleges is very, very varied experiences you get across all of the years.


[00:01:17] Speaker 1 From year one you are doing different stuff. People are playing all the time, which is really good and it never gets. It never gets boring. There's lots of support and lots of opportunities available. We're never pushed into any box. You able to try your hand at everything, and the department are very good at supporting that. Playing more than one instrument will, of course, make you far more employable.


[00:01:46] Speaker 4 The individual care that every student will have when they come and study here is exceptional.


[00:01:53] Speaker 1 The staff here are absolutely fantastic. But the students speak for themselves, really.


[00:02:01] Speaker 4 They will be rubbing shoulders with the world's most famous musicians. And not only do they get to do masterclasses with them, but also they get to play side by side with them.


[00:02:22] Speaker 3 We have input from some of the most well known professionals in the world, and it definitely gives you something to aim towards.


[00:02:32] Speaker 1 What I like to do is try and inspire the students.


[00:02:38] Speaker 3 It definitely feels special being taught by someone in that position.


[00:02:44] Speaker 1 Real hands on side by side events involving our students is, the best training that we can give to people. The facility here is world class. It's absolutely amazing. It's the sort of building where you're happy to spend your time.


[00:02:59] Speaker 2 There's five concert venues. Floors of practice rooms.


[00:03:06] Speaker 1 The glorious reed room.


[00:03:08] Speaker 2 It's a really nice building to be in.


[00:03:12] Speaker 4 Exceptional teaching rooms. Amazing recording studios, workshop rooms.


[00:03:22] Speaker 1 A brand new facility like this is the perfect place really for us to to really get the most out about the group.


[00:03:27] Speaker 4 And not only have we got our wonderful concert halls here. Team-mates also get to play in Symphony Hall, which is, one of the world's best concert halls.


[00:03:39] Speaker 1 Any city that has a hall like Symphony Hall has got to be a draw for the top students. Symphony Hall is an incredible place to play. It never gets old it's just electrifying.


[00:04:04] Speaker 5 It's something amazing to play big solos in the Symphony Hall. I try to channel those those feelings into the playing. You know, just give it all.


[00:04:19] Speaker 1 Every time you step out onto that stage and you're just hit by, wow, I fill this massive space. And every single time it's exciting.


[00:04:32] Speaker 4 The buzz of that concert hall is tremendous.


[00:04:36] Speaker 1 Three words. To sum up, Birmingham Conservatoire would be nurturing friendship.


[00:04:44] Speaker 2 Busy. You'll be very busy.


[00:04:49] Speaker 3 Unique, exciting and friendly.


[00:04:51] Speaker 1 Passionate.


[00:04:52] Speaker 2 Fun. It is a lot of fun.


[00:04:54] Speaker 1 A lovely environment to study in. Quality of teaching. Musical excellence.


[00:04:59] Speaker 2 I don't know, something to do with friends, maybe, because you will make really good friends and ambitious.


[00:05:05] Speaker 1 You learn something new every day. I wouldn't be anywhere else right now doing my degree.

Woodwind at RBC

Staff spotlight

Jenni Phillips studied at the Purcell School and the Royal College of Music with Michael Winfield. She then went on to win a Countess of Munster Scholarship to study at the National Centre for Orchestral Studies.

Jenni is Head of Woodwind at RBC.

Classes and workshops

As a department, we offer extensive orchestral training through our weekly wind repertoire classes, covering a wide range of orchestral repertoire. The rota is designed to ensure each student has the chance to experience different orchestral parts within their section.

We also give students the chance to play in extra repertoire sessions with the brass and percussion departments, broadening their understanding and experience.

Weekly performance classes give students the platform to practise their performance skills in front of fellow department students. Classes are led by woodwind staff members and visiting international tutors. Students always rehearse and play with our woodwind professional accompanist for these classes.

Music courses

We offer a wide range of music performance degree courses and programmes at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire at undergraduate, postgraduate and short course level.

Music courses

Open Days

When possible, the best way to explore what's on offer is to come and see us in person, and we host a number of Open Days throughout the year. Come and be taught by our trailblazing academics and study in our innovative facilities.

Open Days

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