Department of Keyboard Studies TU Dublin Conservatoire 

Frequently-Asked Questions


Who should apply for piano tuition?

In the Junior Conservatoire, we normally take applications from 5 to 18 year olds.  

Non-beginners are expected to have achieved the following standard:

The Continuing Education division accepts applications from non-beginners aged 18 and over.  Preference is given to more advanced candidates (grade 7 minimum).  Candidates wishing to apply for organ or harpsichord are expected to have passed Grade 5 piano.

How do I apply?

Online applications usually open from the end of January.  The first closing date for receipt of applications is usually mid/end -March and  applicants are usually called for audition in April/May.  Beginners are auditioned in early June and the aptitude test takes place mid-June, (JUNE 17 FOR 2024).

What happens at the audition stage?

Beginners are expected to take an audition/mini-lesson where they may be asked to sing a song, take some simple aural tests and may be given a short trial lesson to test their responsiveness and concentration, (If they can play another instrument they should play one piece on this instrument). 

Based on the results of this audition, selected candidates will be recalled to take a musical aptitude test.  The test is usually administered in groups of 10-15.  It is designed for use by small children and involves listening to a recording and responding by circling pictures on a page.  A trial run is given before the test begins.  It tests rhythmic and pitch response.  The result of the audition is added to the result of the aptitude test and those scoring highest are offered places.

Non-beginners for both the Junior Conservatoire and Continuing Education division are expected to perform two contrasting pieces appropriate to their standard, take sight–reading and aural tests.  They may be asked to perform scales appropriate to their level. 

A short, informal interview also takes place at the audition.

Note: All applicants are expected to have daily access to an acoustic piano.  A digital or electronic instrument is not acceptable.  Offer of places is subject to candidates obtaining a suitable instrument.

What happens after the audition?

About 3-4 weeks after the audition process, results are sent to candidates by email.

Those who score an A or B are usually offered places, while those who score C or D are placed on a waiting list but cannot be guaranteed a place due to restricted number of places available each year.   Candidates who score an E on the audition are not offered places.

Once an offer of a place is made, you must accept this offer by returning the acceptance form and a day and time of lesson will be issued, provided there are time-slots available which match your availability.

For this reason, it is advisable to give as many available times as possible on the application form. Details of how to pay fees and complete the enrolment process are included in an information pack which is sent with the offer.

If I am on a waiting list, when do I find out if I have been offered a place?

Most applicants are placed on the waiting list because we do not know from year to year exactly how many vacant places we will have and how many third-level students will be taking places on degree programmes. (These students are given priority). 

Offers to candidates on the waiting list are generally not made until the middle of September and continue to be made until all vacant places are filled – usually in early October.

Do I have to attend a Musicianship Class?

Yes.  Musicianship classes are compulsory for all Conservatoire students.  A list of classes and times are made available with the offer of a place.   It is not always possible to get the musicianship class and the instrumental class on the same day or in the same building so be prepared to make two visits per week.

Can I choose to study with a particular teacher?

Yes, but placement with this teacher cannot be guaranteed.  There is a list of teaching staff on our website.  If you do not have any preference, you will be assigned to a teacher who has a time-slot available to match your availability.  All teachers are highly-qualified and experienced.

Can I continue to study with my own teacher outside of the TU Dublin?

No.  Once you accept a place at the Conservatoire, it is expected that you discontinue lessons with an existing teacher.  This is based in best-practice and ensures that the student can focus exclusively on the Conservatoire curriculum.  Students who engage with external teachers will not be re-enrolled.

Do I have to take exams?

Yes.  As this is a specialist music school, the exam system is taken very seriously. 

Students are also encouraged to participate in competitions and public performances.  The Conservatoire runs regular concerts, both formal and informal, where students have an opportunity to perform.

All students are expected to practise their instrument daily in order to be able to gain maximum benefit from their studies at the Conservatoire.

Do I need to have an acoustic piano?

Yes.  Electronic pianos/keyboard are no substitute for the real thing.  Students who practice on electronic instruments will not be able to get the most out of their piano studies and it can impede progress.