New College student receives unconditional offers for top music schools

Music student Hannah Higson at New College Pontefract has been accepted to play the harp at both the Royal Northern School of Music and the Scottish Conservatoire, receiving an unconditional offer from both.

Hannah’s achievement is all the more remarkable as there will only be 2 to 4 places at these music conservatoires for harp players, the music equivalent of being accepted at Oxford and Cambridge. The 17 year old has been practicing for four hours a day, in addition to her college work, to gain her place. Each gruelling audition required Hannah to travel to both Glasgow and Manchester.

For the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Hannah had to perform two contrasting pieces, a study and an orchestral cadenza, as well as scales & arpeggios and sight reading. For the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) she had to perform two contrasting pieces and was given a sight reading and an aural test, followed by a general music knowledge and theory multiple choice test. Both auditions also required an interview.

Hannah, who lives in Howden, East Yorkshire, first start playing the harp when she was 7 years old and has continued her love for music by studying the A-Level subject at the outstanding sixth form college.

Hannah said: “New College have been very good and really supportive in allowing me to prioritise my harp practice over the last couple of months and have given me extended deadlines for homework. I had to practice over two hours every evening and so trying to keep up with normal college life would have been hard without these extensions. I am so grateful for the level of support they have given me. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of this without the excellent teaching and support of my harp teacher, Rachel Dent.”

The Year 13 student, who also studies Maths and Physics, said: “I am thrilled to have received two unconditional offers and am really excited to start a career as a professional harpist – I just have to decide where that will be.My family are really pleased for me having seen all my hard work pay off.”

Hannah hopes to play in a top orchestra in the near future.

“My ambition would be to play in professional orchestras and I’m also looking into music therapy as well. I’m also interested in teaching the harp at some point in my career.”

Michelle Colvill, New College Head of Performing Arts, said: “This is truly a great opportunity for Hannah. It’s great to see her hard work paying off. She is an extremely gifted musician and she will thoroughly enjoy the experience. We all wish her well at New College.”