The Music School is a unit within Douglas Academy where young musicians of exceptional ability can continue their general education while receiving special instrumental tuition and extra time for their musical studies.
The School was set up in 1979 by Strathclyde Regional Council in response to the Cameron Report on Gifted Young Musicians and Dancers, which recommended that specialised courses should be provided for musically gifted pupils in an existing comprehensive school. In the specialist course, while particular attention is paid to the development of a pupil’s principal instrumental study, it is also the aim to provide an all round musical training, and to develop the pupil as a whole artist.
The following subjects are studied: Principal instrumental study, second instrumental study, Rudiments of Music, Harmony and Musicianship, Aural Training, History and Composition. In addition, there are ensemble and performance classes and all pupils are required to take part in orchestral playing and choral singing.
Opportunities are available for performance, not only in informal recitals within the school, but in concerts outwith. Music specialists also take part in joint Music School/Music Department concerts.
All music specialists are presented for SQA Higher, Advanced Higher and A Level Music examinations and many also achieve distinction in the grade examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Opportunities exist for pupils to obtain professional performing diplomas while still at school.
Tutors are largely drawn from the staff of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Opera Orchestra, and the wider pool of professional musicians based in Glasgow.
There are links with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where certain pupils can participate in masterclasses. There are also opportunities to hear some of the many professional music recitals and concerts in the Glasgow area.
All applicants are asked to take part in a session of interviews and auditions. The final choice is made by an independent panel and is based on an assessment of each applicant’s musical potential and of their general suitability for the specialist course. Pupils of the Music School are regularly members of the National Youth Orchestras of both Great Britain and Scotland and West of Scotland Schools Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Scottish Opera Young Company.
Extra-curricular activities in Douglas Academy include the Chamber Orchestra, Senior Chamber and Junior Choirs, First Orchestra, Chamber Music ensembles and Second Orchestra.
Recitals and talks given by visiting musicians have included: