Strings

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music String Unit offers one of Australia’s most diverse and distinguished programs of string teaching, performance and research. Our program is innovative yet grounded within the foremost 19th and 20th century teaching and performance traditions (Henri Verbrugghen, Robert Pikler, and Richard Goldner are among the famous string players and pedagogues who have been associated with the Sydney Conservatorium). Our current teaching staff includes prominent Australian and international performers and teachers, jurors at national and international competitions and experienced orchestral practitioners.

The String Unit aims to develop the technical and musical skills required for professional careers, offering courses and research opportunities in instrumental teaching, string pedagogy and performance. Our students have achieved careers as soloists and chamber musicians and have won prizes in national and international competitions. Con alumni are found in all Australian orchestras and orchestras such as the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Principal study students perform in a variety of contexts, receiving critical guidance from the String Unit’s staff, visiting teachers and performers. Classes cover string performance, string pedagogy, advanced string pedagogy, guitar pedagogy, postgraduate teaching, didactic literature and teaching methods. Students play and study in the Sydney Conservatorium’s chamber music and orchestra programs and the Cello Ensemble. Orchestral studies classes foster the skills needed for the demanding standards of the orchestral profession and develop competence for orchestral auditions.

Study Options

Strings Faculty

Audition Requirements

Accompaniment for Live Auditions
You (guitar applicants excluded) are required to provide your own accompanist. Under extenuating circumstances only, the Conservatorium may be able to assist in organising an accompanist. Please contact Student Administration for information.

Audition DVD Recording
Where possible, you should attend a live audition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. If you are an interstate or international applicant and cannot attend in person, you may submit a video recorded audition through the application process. The recordings must be no older than six weeks at the time of dispatch. Audio-only recordings will not be accepted.

Undergraduate

Music Skills Test
Since prior music skills development is essential for successful study at the Sydney Conservatorium, the Music Skills Test must be completed. The test is held at the Conservatorium during the audition/interview period and is designed to assess whether you have a sufficient level of music literacy in harmony and aural perception to cope with the demands of the course. As a guide, the minimum level of skills possessed should be at the level of the New South Wales Music 2 syllabus (formerly 2 Unit Music) or AMEB Level 6 Musicianship or equivalent. Results of the Music Skills Test supplement the information provided by other aspects of the audition process. If you are successful, the results also help to determine streaming in aural and harmony subjects.

DOUBLE BASS
Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Diploma of Music

  1. Technical requirements: demonstrate different bowings in any two octave scale of your choice, one study which demonstrates technical ability
  2. Prepared program: a fast and slow movement from a baroque sonata, for example, Corelli, Eccles or Vivaldi; and two short pieces, including one 20th century work
  3. Music Skills Test

Bachelor of Music (Music Education), Bachelor of Music Studies and combined degrees

  1. Technical requirements: demonstrate different bowings in any two octave scale of your choice
  2. Prepared program: two studies, for example, Bottesini 24 Exercises, No.6, 13, 15 or 17, or Simandl 30 Etudes, No. 11 or 15; and two contrasting pieces, including one 20th century work
  3. Music Skills Test

GUITAR
Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Diploma of Music

  1. Technical requirements: all major and melodic minor scales and arpeggios in three octaves with all standard right-hand fingerings; and two contrasting studies, for example: Villa Lobos (any); Sor 12, 16 or 20 (Segovia); Dodgson 4 or 10
  2. Prepared program: three contrasting pieces, including one 20th century work
  3. Music Skills Test

Bachelor of Music (Music Education), Bachelor of Music Studies and combined degrees

  1. Technical requirements: all three octave scales and arpeggios up to G with all standard right hand fingerings
  2. Prepared program: two studies, for example, Brouwer, Books 2, 3 or 4 (any); Sor, 6, 7, 10, 11 or 13 (Segovia); Dodgson 1; and two contrasting pieces from the standard repertoire
  3. Music Skills Test

HARP
Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Diploma of Music

  1. Technical requirements: major and minor keys over four octaves including common chords, dominant sevenths and their inversions performed as: scales (both hands); arpeggios (both hands); extended arpeggios; flat, broken chords (both hands); one study such as ‘Mirage’ – Modern Study of the Harp by Carlos Salzedo (Schirmer 1948), ‘Premiere Etude’ – Exercises et Etudes no.36 by (Ed) La Riviere Alphonse Leduc (or equivalent)
  2. Prepared program: two solos of contrasting style such as Bach – ‘Bourree’, Corelli – Gigue’, Salzedo – ‘Quietude’, Thomas – ‘A Native’s Farewell’, Ibert – ‘Scherzetto’, Salzedo -’Gavotte’ from ‘Suite of Eight Dances’, Britten – ‘Interlude’ from ‘A Ceremony of Carols’ or other of an equivalent standard Harp.
  3. Music Skills Test

Bachelor of Music (Music Education), Bachelor of Music Studies and combined degrees

  1. Technical requirements: major keys over three octaves including common chords, dominant sevenths and their inversions performed as: scales (both hands); arpeggios (both hands); flat, broken chords (both hands); one study such as ‘Premiere Etude’ Exercises et ‘Etudes no.36’ by (Ed) La Riviere Alphonse Leduc (or equivalent).
  2. Prepared program: one solo such as Salzedo – ‘Quietude’, Thomas – ‘A Native’s Farewell’, Salzedo – ‘Gavotte’ from Suite of Eight Dances, Britten – ‘Interlude’ from A Ceremony of Carols or equivalent standard.
  3. Music Skills Test

VIOLIN, VIOLA, VIOLONCELLO
Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Diploma of Music

  1. Technical requirements: You should prepare scales, arpeggios (including dominant and diminished) and standard double stops (3rds, 6ths, 8ves) for at least one key of your choice from a scales system according to you current level of individual technical proficiency and background; you may be asked to demonstrate different bowings in any three octave scale of your choice; one study to demonstrate
    • Violin — Kreutzer, Fiorillo, Rode, Dont Opus 35 or any other study of comparable or higher degree of difficulty
    • Viola — as above or a study by Campagnoli
    • Violoncello — Piatti, Popper or Grutzmacher
  2. Prepared program: two contrasting movements of a Bach solo work; a fast and a slow movement from a concerto in the standard repertoire; and one short 20th century work (either a piece, or a movement of a sonata)
  3. Music Skills Test

Bachelor of Music (Music Education), Bachelor of Music Studies and combined degrees

  1. Technical requirements: two octave scales and arpeggios (including dominant and diminished arpeggios); one three octave scale and arpeggio of the candidate’s choice; one brief exercise to demonstrate double stopping or alternatively a scale in double stops of the candidate’s choice and examples of different bowings will be required
  2. Prepared program: two etudes, for example, Mazas, Dancla or Kreutzer; and two contrasting movements from any baroque, classical or romantic sonata
  3. Music Skills Test

Postgraduate

All Postgraduate Degrees on All Instruments
You should prepare a 50-minute program including a major sonata or concerto, or movements from either, plus a virtuoso piece and some movements of Bach.