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Music and Music Tech Degrees - University Offers...

Discussion in 'Music' started by MusicTeacherReading, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. MusicTeacherReading

    MusicTeacherReading New commenter

    As s Media Arts Specialist Status school, of which Music comes under this, the school is trying to promote Higher Education take up in these subjects. To this end, we have been trying to promote it by taking students to a mixture of HE open days at local universities.
    Thinking that I might forge some links, I decided to speak to the Admissions Tutor of the Music and Music Technology courses at the university, who informed me that:
    • Out of 180 applications, they will interview 100 and give a measley <u>24 offers</u> (this covers all UK state and indpendent schools, as well as mature and EU and Non-EU international students)
    • If you are one of the lucky 13% of applicants who get an offer, you'll get their standard offer of AAB.
    • They are not considering anyone with BTEC Level 3 as (his words) 'The Lead IV system is unreliable and open to abuse' (I take offence at that, being a Lead IV myself!)
    This is not a Russell Group university, neither is it an Oxbridge university or Music college. This is not the only university that is doing this for Music degrees - other universities are doing the same thing. And I wouldn't be surprised if they are going to charge students the full &pound;9000pa for the pleasure. The same happened recently with a Theatre Studies degree open day.
    I returned to school with a minibus full of VERY disappointed Sixth Formers, all of whom with Grade A*s, As and Bs at GCSE and predicteds of As and Bs at AS level, who are all of the opinion that there is 'no point' in continuing their studies becasue their chances of getting an offer in the first place is so slim that it's not worth it, and even if they do get an offer are going to be priced out of the market with &pound;30k+ debt for most of their working lives. Some wished that they'd been the people causing the havoc on the Student Tuition Fees protests!
    I know what I am saying is probably the same across the country, and the news coverage with Student Fees means that it shouln't surprise me. I have told my SMT that we will have to manage expectations of students across the school and across all subjects very carefully and that our links with universities is going to be strained.
    I'd be interested as to whether anyone else has had the same sort of responses from universities regarding Music and Music Tech degrees...are we pushing our kids in the wrong directions and building them up, only to find that there is so much competition that they are almost certain to fail? Similarly, are there any HE courses which anyone has found which are more 'realistic' for students to get on?
     
  2. MusicTeacherReading

    MusicTeacherReading New commenter

    As s Media Arts Specialist Status school, of which Music comes under this, the school is trying to promote Higher Education take up in these subjects. To this end, we have been trying to promote it by taking students to a mixture of HE open days at local universities.
    Thinking that I might forge some links, I decided to speak to the Admissions Tutor of the Music and Music Technology courses at the university, who informed me that:
    • Out of 180 applications, they will interview 100 and give a measley <u>24 offers</u> (this covers all UK state and indpendent schools, as well as mature and EU and Non-EU international students)
    • If you are one of the lucky 13% of applicants who get an offer, you'll get their standard offer of AAB.
    • They are not considering anyone with BTEC Level 3 as (his words) 'The Lead IV system is unreliable and open to abuse' (I take offence at that, being a Lead IV myself!)
    This is not a Russell Group university, neither is it an Oxbridge university or Music college. This is not the only university that is doing this for Music degrees - other universities are doing the same thing. And I wouldn't be surprised if they are going to charge students the full &pound;9000pa for the pleasure. The same happened recently with a Theatre Studies degree open day.
    I returned to school with a minibus full of VERY disappointed Sixth Formers, all of whom with Grade A*s, As and Bs at GCSE and predicteds of As and Bs at AS level, who are all of the opinion that there is 'no point' in continuing their studies becasue their chances of getting an offer in the first place is so slim that it's not worth it, and even if they do get an offer are going to be priced out of the market with &pound;30k+ debt for most of their working lives. Some wished that they'd been the people causing the havoc on the Student Tuition Fees protests!
    I know what I am saying is probably the same across the country, and the news coverage with Student Fees means that it shouln't surprise me. I have told my SMT that we will have to manage expectations of students across the school and across all subjects very carefully and that our links with universities is going to be strained.
    I'd be interested as to whether anyone else has had the same sort of responses from universities regarding Music and Music Tech degrees...are we pushing our kids in the wrong directions and building them up, only to find that there is so much competition that they are almost certain to fail? Similarly, are there any HE courses which anyone has found which are more 'realistic' for students to get on?
     
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I'd advise them that level of demand varies enormously between universities. For instance, Warwick receives 9 applications for each place (averaged out across all subjects), but overall somewhere around 70% of last year's UCAS applicants gained a place somewhere. So, they stand a good chance of getting in, but only the best will make it to their first choice, and some may need to wait until clearing before a place is confirmed.
     
  4. It's a tough world out there but I don't think our Sixth Formers really understand HOW tough it is. Yet[​IMG].
    I've got to say that my current experience of offers etc contradicts the advice given to your students. Many of mine have already got offers, some without interview/audition, and some are about to do their interview/audition phase. Some of my students are taking a programme of A levels and others are undertaking the BTEC National Diploma in Music (with graded exams and ABRSM upper grade theory exams). There doesn't seem to be any difference between the frequency of interview/audition/place offer between the academic or vocational routes. Indeed, I have really good progression from Level 3 BTEC onto what we'd call "good" university degrees. One of the Russell Group universities (a Southern one) seems to really like my students because they seem to get in quite easily year after year regardless of whether they're A level or BTEC.
    The only advice you can give you students is that they've got to be "in it to win it". If they don't try then they've got no chance at all.
    I can't help but think that the new Russell Group document giving advice about subject's heirarchy may not really help our cause though.
     
  5. A very narrow viewed example here: But i'm in my final year at University of Hertfordshire, looking to start music teaching next year. The composition/technology courses are well run and the application process and entry requirements all seemed very fair. They also have quite a large intake across many different strands of music!
    I can't comment on what fees will be like, but I can recommend Hertfordshire as a good university for music!
    Also, with it's location it is a great place for music students as London is 20 minutes by train. Far enough to not be in a big city, but close enough to enjoy the culture and wider music industry!
     
  6. Some of my students are taking a programme of A levels and others are undertaking the BTEC National Diploma in Music (with graded exams and ABRSM upper grade theory exams). There doesn't seem to be any difference between the frequency of interview/audition/place offer between the academic or vocational routes.

    I contacted my old professor a few years ago (one of the Russell Group Universities) when I was considering changing A Level board, and wondered if it would make any difference to my students. His reply to me then was that if a student had grade 8 practical, and grade 8 theory, they wouldn't worry if they didn't have A level at all. Perhaps your students are able to show that they have the necessary skills and knowledge through their graded exams, that the universities are less worried about whether they have done BTEC or A Level.
     
  7. Yes, that might be the case. I try to send as many of my students as possible "out of the door" with grade 8 practical and grade 8 theory. I suppose that the skills/knowledge needed to get grade 8 theory are a good start for undergraduate study.

     
  8. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I've heard many admissions tutors claim that. It was only when I pointed out that techniques such as Bach chorales haven't figured in Grade 8 Theory for some 20 years (although they do still at A-level) that I got a very embarrased response.
    The sad truth is that many admissions tutors have little idea of the content of modern syllabuses. An old friend of mine once served as an admissions tutor at a prestigious uni, and I remember him saying that it was not a job that anyone wanted to do - it takes an enormous amount of effort that interferes with the precious little time available for research work these days, and it is simply impossible to stay abreast of the frequently changing detail of the huge number of different syllabuses offered these days.
     
  9. trelassick

    trelassick New commenter

    However techniques such as Bach Chorales are not common to all A-level boards and you do not have to study them in order to achieve a Music A-level. The disparity between boards and the very different levels of technical and analytical ability which students arrive at University with is one reason why many undergraduate courses spend part of the first term playing 'catch up'. Certainly students which I have taught, and have gone on to Music degrees, have been very glad of Grade 8 Theory - which we do as an extension to their A-level work.


    Admissions tutors will not have a great deal of knowledge of current specifications but will be impressed by enthusiasm, interest and passion for whatever type of music and a willingness to learn swiftly and take on the challenge of the rigour of harmonic and analytical work. [A topic we have alluded to in a previous thread about potential Oxbridge interviews]
     

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