Jump to content


Photo

Private lessons or junior conservatoire?


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Olivia

Olivia

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Member: 895376
    Joined: 13-May 16

Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:26

Just that really!

 

My daughter plays the violin and piano. Her main instrument is the violin and she is about grade 7 standard. As well as having lessons she plays in a youth orchestra and in the school orchestra. 

 

Last year her teacher retired and after a small break we started with a new teacher. Now this new teacher is moving (her partner has a new job) and we find ourselves looking for a new teacher yet again. It's difficult in our area to find good music teachers especially for the high grades. Last time I conducted an extensive search and asked all my musical contacts before deciding on her current teacher. 

 

Several people have suggested that we apply to junior conservatoire and consolidate all our musical activities into one place. We have visited two and are not convinced but I want to give her the best opportunity she can to develop her skills.

 

Has anyone else been through this dilemma?


  • 0

#2 Cyrilla

Cyrilla

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14570 posts
  • Member: 99
    Joined: 09-November 03
  • Croydon, South London/Surrey

Posted 08 February 2019 - 21:19

Sorry, not a parent but I teach at a JD where the children do get an amazing musical education.   They also get the chance to mix with like-minded peers.

 

Anything you'd like to ask, just please send me a PM.

 

:)


  • 0

#3 Banjogirl

Banjogirl

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2536 posts
  • Member: 39509
    Joined: 12-September 08

Posted 11 February 2019 - 13:37

My son's cello teacher (very generously) suggested JD when he was at a similar level to your daughter's when he auditioned (he's a cellist). I honestly didn't think he'd want to, then I didn't think he'd get in, and then I didn't think he'd stick it! But he did, and had five brilliant years there. The musical education is so valuable. We live in something of a musical desert, so it was great for him to mix with like-minded people. At home he'd always stood out as being better than everyone else, so it gave him a dose of realism to socialise and play with people who were often better than him. How old is your daughter? Our son was 13 when he started and I wouldn't have wanted him to go much younger, not because it would have been bad for him, but it's just such a commitment.

 

I wasn't so keen on not being able to choose his teachers, and the contact with teachers is much reduced, but the children are forced to be much more independent and take responsibility for themselves. It's a big financial commitment too, though we got a bursary that covered a portion of the fees, and we had to drive our son which meant five years of having no weeeknds in term time. It was a one and half hour drive, with lessons sometimes starting at 8.30. It was alright for our son - he just slept all the way there and all the way back! He carried on with some other musical things outside JD, but for him it was largely enough, so at least everything was done with on a Satuday and we weren't having to make lots of other trips out to things in the week. He is also our youngest, and when he started his older brothers had all left home, so we didn't have their needs to consider in quite the same way as if they had still been at home.

I don't regret our decision to let him go. It was definitely the right thing for him, though I  wasn't always sure at the time. My husband and I got to quite like our Saturdays  - he'd go walking, I went shopping! And we made some supportive friends among the other parents. Our son has just started his degree at a different conservatoire, and the musical education he had at juniors has given him a confidence he wouldn't have had if he'd just had lessons and played in an orchestra. He's got a much more rounded m usical education, and has had some great experiences along the way.


  • 2

#4 meadowblythe

meadowblythe

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 93 posts
  • Member: 491526
    Joined: 26-July 12

Posted 23 February 2019 - 17:07

Would be curious to know what it was you didn't like about the Conservatoires you visited?

 

Positives of Conservatoire:  Everything Banjogirl said, plus your daughter will start to build the network of people she runs into at many other musical events/orchestras/summer courses/conservatoire.  The whole process breeds independence - our daughter mixed car and train travel, but wasn't at all fazed by a 2.5 hour train journey unaccompanied including a walk across the city when she was in year 8.  She has gone on to be quite the world traveller.  

 

Negatives:  definite negative is lack of contact and choice with teacher - it's a different way of learning.  Having said that, you will have access to amazing teachers and they generally know what they are doing!  

 

No solution is ever perfect, it's getting the best fit for you and your family.  How old is your daughter?


  • 0

#5 Olivia

Olivia

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Member: 895376
    Joined: 13-May 16

Posted 01 March 2019 - 15:05

Thank you all for your replies.

 

Banjogirl - I can completely relate to all you have said. We too live in something of a musical desert and like your son did, our daughter lacks like minded peers. Fortunately, she receives some sponsorship that will go towards paying a proportion of the fees, although this does put extra pressure on us to spend the money wisely.

 

Our daughter is coming up to 12 years old. If it wasn't for our teacher issues then we would not have considered JD for another year or more. She's the eldest of our 3 children so it will be a big commitment for us to take her and manage other family activities on Saturdays. For us it will be a 1.5 hour drive each way with no good public transport options. She has a local piano teacher who is excellent and she is approaching Grade 8 on the piano so the plan is to stick with her existing teacher but give up youth orchestra to make more time in the week.

 

Travelling and time aside, the main negative for me is the choice of teacher. All 3 of our children learn instruments (although the other two do not have nearly the same level of interest / enthusiasm) and I am used to having weekly contact with their teachers. I have also seen how my daughter has thrived when she has had the right teacher. I'm also concerned about how she balances her two instruments given the reduced level of communication an the fact that we have decided (initially at least) to stick with her current piano teacher.

 

For now, we have applied for a place while we continue with the thought process and we'll find out some more at her audition. 


  • 0

#6 meadowblythe

meadowblythe

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 93 posts
  • Member: 491526
    Joined: 26-July 12

Posted 02 March 2019 - 17:23

Sounds like an excellent plan.  

 

My daughter started JC in year 8 and that worked well.  She decided during year 9 that she couldn't balance the travelling (she also joined a youth orchestra requiring Sunday rehearsals so had a minimum of 10 hours travelling per weekend), and applied late but successfully to a vocational boarding school on an MDS.  JC gave her the grounding she needed to make the move successfully.  

 

I think that everyone has concerns about loosing contact with the teacher, but the staff at JC are experts at this, and it's not as if there is no way to make contact.   The choices made for my daughter regarding teacher were absolutely spot on, and took a more impartial view of her needs as well as her strengths than I would have made.


  • 0

#7 annet

annet

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 39 posts
  • Member: 7741
    Joined: 21-September 06

Posted 12 March 2019 - 15:38

If your daughter is even remotely thinking of applying to a Conservatoire for a degree then a Junior Conservatoire is essential, particularly if she's not at a specialist music school.  At audition, who you know matters almost as much as what you know.  Knowing the right person gives you a huge advantage and attendance at a Junior Conservatoire will give that advantage.  Also, Junior Conservatoires teach advanced Aural skills - far higher than ABRSM Grade 8 - which are needed for  the Royal College of Music etc. It also helps with the essay writing skills needed for A Level music.  I'd also think about a music school for A Levels - the teachers there have far more experience in preparing students for Conservatoires.


  • 0

#8 Banjogirl

Banjogirl

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2536 posts
  • Member: 39509
    Joined: 12-September 08

Posted 12 March 2019 - 16:18

I have to disagree. Lots of people go to conservatoire who've not been to juniors.
  • 3

#9 meadowblythe

meadowblythe

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 93 posts
  • Member: 491526
    Joined: 26-July 12

Posted 14 March 2019 - 16:21

I would hate to think I had "persauded" any of my children down a certain route at the age 12, or suggested they consider conservatoire at that age. Indeed, the more serious the music got, the more I felt the need to tell them they didn't need to take it up as a career, I wouldn't be disappointed, think I had wasted my money ... I felt they gained life skills through their contacts with the arts.

 

If there's one thing I do think gets you contacts and known, it's NYO, but even then you can get  extremely gratifying offers without having taken part.  

 

There are many paths to Rome .. 


  • 0

#10 Banjogirl

Banjogirl

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2536 posts
  • Member: 39509
    Joined: 12-September 08

Posted 14 March 2019 - 16:32

My bad boy didn't get an offer from the consevatoire where he was at juniors!


  • 0

#11 meadowblythe

meadowblythe

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 93 posts
  • Member: 491526
    Joined: 26-July 12

Posted 14 March 2019 - 17:18

I'm told that many orchestra auditions these days are now blind autions - behind a screen, with no details of who is playing, at least for the first round.  I wonder how long before conservatoires etc follow this course?


  • 1

#12 Banjogirl

Banjogirl

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2536 posts
  • Member: 39509
    Joined: 12-September 08

Posted 14 March 2019 - 17:34

I'm told that many orchestra auditions these days are now blind autions - behind a screen, with no details of who is playing, at least for the first round.  I wonder how long before conservatoires etc follow this course?

My boy was expecting this at one conservatoire audition but in the end it didn't happen. It would eliminate to some degree the suggestion that there is favouritism. It must be tempting to go for the people you know (or reject the lazy toerag you also know...) because it might be safer than an unknown quantity. Who knows. How's your daughter getting on, MB?


  • 0

#13 meadowblythe

meadowblythe

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 93 posts
  • Member: 491526
    Joined: 26-July 12

Posted 18 March 2019 - 13:06

Haha forgot about the blind audition that wasn't - how quickly time flies ..

 

Daughter took a long while to settle - all very different from what she was expecting.  Less like university than she expected, experiences were more similar to a close relative's time at a top ballet school - an underpinning strand of competition at all times.  She's in London and an awful lot of students go home at weekends, or don't even live in halls to start.  

 

Having said that, things are going well, and the pastoral care from her department is first class.  Loads more performance opportunities than she expected so early in the course.


  • 0