Scottish Ballet’s MMus (Piano for Dance) degree, accredited by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, offers a unique mix of professional tutelage and practical application and is the only course of its kind in the world.
Graduate pianists aspiring to work within the professional dance world have come to Glasgow to take advantage of the mentoring by well-established dance musicians, the opportunity to experience working within a professional environment and to learn from the support and friendship offered by close association with the Artistic Staff and the Company dancers.
Whether the students arrive with experience of working within dance, or with no previous experience at all, the programme ensures that they will leave with the skills required to work in the professional dance sector. From the earliest stages of training the students accompany all aspects of the Company’s work, in dancers’ classes, rehearsals or education projects. Uniquely amongst pianists those engaged in dance are expected to be able to improvise and the course places great emphasis on developing this skill.
As with any post-graduate study experienced support is critical. Our team is small with Richard Honner, Principal Conductor, and Brian Prentice, Company Pianist, providing stability throughout the course. Previous students have praised the dancers for their support and friendship.
There is a chronic lack of skilled dance pianists and it is gratifying that all our previous students have found work within the dance world, amongst other companies with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Northern Ballet.
Those wishing to apply should contact Registry at The Royal Conservatoire for details.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
100 Renfrew Street
Tel: 0141 270 8285
Or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In association with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Want to know if this course is right for you? Read testimonials from our students below...
It was such an invaluable experience playing for class and rehearsals with the support of Brian, Richard and Karen who could offer advice and suggestions on the spot.
In completing the course, I was immediately offered a job with one of the main ballet companies in the UK. Since then I have worked with companies including Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, and Northern Ballet Theatre.
The Apprenticeship at Scottish Ballet has given me solid foundation, knowledge and the practical experience of life as a company pianist. I know for sure that without these experiences and support that Scottish Ballet has provided me with during the course, I would not be in a position to even apply for a job in a professional ballet company.
"... without these experiences and the support that Scottish Ballet has provided me with during the course, I would not be in a position to apply for a job in a professional ballet company."Helen Watkinson, MMus (Piano For Dance) Student
It is so rare to come across dance musicians who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise. The fantastic staff of Scottish Ballet did it with unstinting generosity and good humour: Karen and Brian coached me on how to improvise for dance and how to understand the language of choreography. Not only did Richard teach me how to transform piano transcriptions into good representations of orchestral sounds, but watching him handle the everyday minutiae of company work showed me how to be an effective musical director for dance. The highlight of my year (or should I say baptism of fire) was being allowed to play for the revival of Peter Darrell’s Othello from the first rehearsal all the way to stage calls.
The Scottish Ballet dancers and teachers were a godsend to a fledgling dance musician during this time. I couldn’t have asked for a more patient and friendly company to learn from.
This specialist training helped me land my first job as a full-time pianist at the Elmhurst School for Dance. My new dance colleagues were amazed to hear of the existence of the Piano for Dance course. Traditionally, it would have taken dance pianists several years to gain the experience necessary for accompanying vocational schools or company classes. Thanks to the incredibly high standard of training which I received, I had been able to achieve this in one year.
"This specialist training helped me land my first job as a full-time pianist"Wai Sum, MMus (Piano For Dance) Student
The course exceeded my expectations and offered me more than what I have imagined. Other than the one-to-one piano technique lessons and the research and writing subjects in fulfillment of the Masters in Music criteria, there was a wide variety of Electives and supporting modules to choose from at the Conservatoire. On top of all these modules, the main crux of the Piano for Dance programme lies in the highly specialised modules run in conjunction with the Scottish Ballet. The limit of two students per intake, allow the programme to be personalised and versatile, catering to the individual’s growth and capabilities.
MMus (Piano for Dance) honed the technical skills required as a professional through versatile and quality modules and widened my horizons and perspectives through the varied and rich practical professional experience I was exposed to. The experience of working with professional companies also gave me an insight of the actual life of a company pianist.
The course was a great and enriching experience, one that I would highly recommend to interested beginners or even experienced accompanists looking to further their skills; one that I would very much love to go through again.
The course was a great and enriching experience, one that I would highly recommend to interested beginners or even experienced accompanists looking to further their skillsWen Yang Ho, MMus (Piano For Dance) Student