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MUSIC AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS Information Booklet


SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS Downe House has a thriving Music Department with a strong reputation and our Music Award Holders are at the heart of this musical activity. They perform as soloists and in chamber groups and are members of instrumental and vocal ensembles, playing with enthusiasm and showing musical leadership to others in the School. Every year many girls are awarded Music Scholarships and Exhibitions and go on to play a leading role in the musical life of the School. Types of Award There are two types of Award: full Scholarships and Exhibitions. The offer of an Award very much depends on the musicianship of the candidate, the standard on the instruments or voice offered, and, critically, their musical potential, flair and enthusiasm for music. Value of Awards Music Scholars receive free tuition in a maximum of two instruments, which may include the voice, up to a maximum of 30 lessons per year for each instrument. Music Exhibitioners receive free tuition in one instrument, up to a maximum of 30 lessons per year. An individually tailored music mentoring and enrichment programme is provided exclusively for all our Music Award Holders to support and nurture their musical development and enrich their experience of music at Downe House. Eligibility and Procedures Music Scholarships are awarded at 11+, 12+, 13+ and 16+. It is expected that candidates will offer two instruments (which may include voice). The standard expected for the candidate’s main instrument is detailed below. There is no set standard for subsidiary instruments, but the higher the standard the more this will strengthen a candidate’s application. Awards are made on the basis of an audition and interview in February of the year of entry and completed application forms must be received by 15 January. There is no written paper. Candidates must prepare two contrasting pieces on their principal instrument and one piece on each of their subsidiary instruments. In addition, each candidate will be given sight-reading, a short series of aural tests and a viva voce. Any compositions or special musical projects which the candidate may have completed would be of interest.

An accompanist will be provided and candidates will have the opportunity to rehearse with the accompanist before the audition. Candidates are welcome to bring their own accompanist if they wish, provided the Director of Music is informed at the time of application. The audition is designed to discover potential and the candidate’s enthusiasm for music as much as to assess performance achievement and attainment. Standard expected for a Music Scholarship Assessment 11+ candidates should be working towards Grade 5 ABRSM standard or higher on their principal instrument, although it is not necessary to have taken the examination. 12+ candidates should be at Grade 5 ABRSM standard or higher on their principal instrument, although it is not necessary to have taken the examination. 13+ candidates should be at Grade 6 ABRSM standard or higher on their principal instrument, although it is not necessary to have taken the examination. 16+ candidates should be at Grade 8 ABRSM standard or higher on their principal instrument, although it is not necessary to have taken the examination. For all points of entry, Grade 5 theory is desirable but not essential. Importance is attached to aural and sightreading ability, musical flair as well as an enthusiasm and passion for music. Reports from the candidate’s current school will also be taken into consideration. Great emphasis is placed on a candidate’s ability to be an active member of the Department. As such, instruments which are less common (such as double bass, viola or French horn) may attract a Music Award at a slightly lower level of attainment. There is no fee for the assessment, however, girls who are not already registered for the School will be required to register before being considered for a Music Scholarship. Successful candidates are required to pass the Common Entrance Examination (11+ and 13+) or the Downe House Entrance Examination (12+ and 16+). Parents will be notified of the outcome of Music Scholarship auditions at the earliest possible date.


Duties of a Music Award Holder A Music Scholar is expected to: • Enter into the vibrant and rewarding musical life of the Department with enthusiasm and commitment • Contribute to the activities of the Music Department • Belong to three ensembles (one of which is usually a choir) • Perform a solo at one of the Music Award Holders’ recitals • Meet weekly with her Music Mentor • Study Music at GCSE. It is hoped that Music Award Holders will consider studying A level Music but this is not a requisite of an Award. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What type of pieces should be performed for the audition? Candidates are asked to perform two contrasting pieces on their principal instrument (which may include the voice) and one piece on each of their subsidiary instruments. The two pieces on the principal instrument should between them show the candidate’s ability to play musically, with a pleasing tone and competent technique. In selecting music, it is well to bear in mind that a virtuoso, flashy piece is not always the best way to display skill; it is better to choose music which can show both technique and developing musicianship. What standard is expected at Scholarship level? The quality of performance is more important than the standard attained. A secure, confident performance is more likely to reflect well than a less authoritative performace at a higher grade. On a second instrument a high attainment is desirable and will strengthen a candidate’s application, but it is her potential and enthusiasm for music that is the overriding factor. What is expected in the sight-reading tests? Sight-reading is important as it determines the extent to which a girl will fit into the vibrant programme of music at Downe House. The standard of sight-reading tests will be at the level equivalent to the grade requirement specified for the Scholarship audition (11+ Grade 4/5; 12+ Grade 5; 13+ Grade 6; 16+ Grade 8). Candidates will be

given a piece of sight-reading and time to study it and play through any tricky areas. Some candidates may be given additional sight-reading tests at a more difficult level. In these exceptional cases, this is simply a way of assessing the upper limit of a candidate’s sight-reading skills. What is to be expected in the aural tests? The standard of aural tests will be at the level equivalent to the grade requirement specified for the Scholarship audition (11+ Grade 4/5; 12+ Grade 5; 13+ Grade 6; 16+ Grade 8). There will be a series of four or five short aural tests. Aural assessment will involve pitch and rhythmic tests as well as identifying musical features from hearing a piece of music. What is the purpose of the viva voce? The viva voce is an informal discussion to find out a candidate’s musical experiences and the extent of her interest in music. It is important that candidates are aware of the expectations of a Music Award Holder and are able to communicate their enthusiasm for music. Does Downe welcome non-classical music? Yes! We welcome good jazz players, since there is always an outlet for their talents. Other non-classical talents would need to be judged on how much of a contribution the girl would be able to make. For example, someone who played classical Indian music would be positively welcomed and could be featured as a soloist, although an interest and willingness to take part in the mainstream of our music-making would be required to pick up our highest Award. Are there any other musical talents that would be considered in a Music Scholarship application? Yes, everything that would make a pupil a useful and dynamic member of the music team will be considered. Some of the more obvious examples are a readiness to compose (fanfares, carols, songs), willingness to organise small-scale concerts with friends, an interest in concert visits, music recording or music technology. Does Downe give priority to particular instruments? A first class performer on any instrument will gain an Award but the Department is currently looking for violas, double basses, horns and trombones.


What is the Music Award Holder Mentoring Programme? Each Music Award Holder has her own Music Mentor who is a member of the full-time music staff with whom she meets weekly. Together they develop a personal set of targets and a plan that embraces her musical hopes so that ambitions can be recognised and facilitated through the many demands of their holistic education. These mentoring sessions have the dual purpose of supporting our musicians with practical and logistical help such as practice as well as encouraging them to think beyond their experiences and help them explore the wider spectrum of musical possibilities. The other focus of the Programme is musical enrichment, encouraging an active part in the musical life of the School, participating in concerts both individually and as part of an ensemble.

Decisions about Scholarships The final decision about all matters relating to Scholarships lies with the Headmistress. How to apply If your daughter is registered and has received a conditional offer to join Downe House, the Registry will automatically write to you in November/December of the year prior to entry with details of how to apply for Awards. Further details regarding Music Scholarships are available from the Director of Music, Dr Charlotte Exon (exonc@downehouse.net). Pre-auditions are welcomed to assist candidates in their long term preparation for a Music Award (1-2 years prior to audition). For general enquires about Scholarships please contact Miss Angela Nutt, Registrar on nutta@downehouse.net or 01635 204701.

There are opportunities to experience a broad range of music at external concerts and performances, from taking part in masterclasses or a jazz workshop to attending performances at the Royal Albert Hall and the the Royal Opera House.

an adventure in education

Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire RG18 9JJ T: 01635 204701 E: registrar@downehouse.net www.downehouse.net

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Music Awards and Scholarships Information Booklet  

Information and frequently asked questions about Music Scholarships and Awards at Downe House.

Music Awards and Scholarships Information Booklet  

Information and frequently asked questions about Music Scholarships and Awards at Downe House.