Training at the Conservatoire schools is an intensive process. It is characterised by uncompromising technical standards, small class sizes, a high proportion of one-to-one teaching, a curriculum enriched by the involvement of contemporary practitioners, access to industry-standard facilities and strong levels of student support. Preparation for gaining employment is integral to the training and students are focused towards understanding how to find work and how to manage oneself as a working professional.
Conservatoire courses usually involve more than 35 hours per week of supervised contact and a teaching year of at least 33 weeks. Teaching staff are employed by the individual schools, who provide all necessary resources and facilities. The level of support given to students is high, with extensive extra support available through, for example, body conditioning, one-to-one coaching and access to physiotherapists and osteopaths.
Conservatoire courses are located firmly in higher education. This reflects the fact that they require critical thinking and involve the training of the mind as well as the body. Students are encouraged to become reflective and proactive creative artists, able to identify their strengths, equipped with a range of transferable skills and ready for entry into the dance, drama and circus arts professions.
Performance plays a crucial role in the students’ training. Drama students will usually take part in six pieces each year. Dance students work with a range of choreographers, from those who are at the beginning of their careers to established names, often collaborating on new projects.
Each of the Conservatoire schools has its own individual approach to the training of students. This is based upon values and beliefs particular to the institution, to traditions and new developments in the art form, and to the present and likely needs of the profession. The Conservatoire encourages this diversity whilst also seeking ways to benefit students through learning and teaching processes developed in collaboration between the schools. The Learning and Teaching Strategy outlines the Conservatoire’s plans for developing and improving teaching methods and how learning takes place in a vocational context within our schools.