"MY DAUGHTER would like to develop her violin skills at boarding school. Which schools can you recommend?"
Deciding whether a child requires a specialized environment to fulfill their artistic potential - as opposed to an "ordinary" school - does demand deeper consideration and expert advice than parents might imagine.
Selecting an "ordinary" school is a challenging enough task as it is. Choosing to specialize in something at a young age really does complicate the situation because the decision may have a significant bearing on your child's future.
When it comes to the provision of music tuition, Wells Cathedral School is ahead of the pack. Your daughter can receive feedback about her potential through auditioning for the school's specialist music scheme which may lead to a scholarship award. The next audition will be held on December 3.
Irrespective of the outcome of the audition, you will be able to see what Wells has to offer. The school has a multitude of world-class music departments, ranging from strings to composition. The range of goings-on and events is also extraordinary - from lunchtime concerts to masterclasses.
Wells has to be seen to be believed. It has the feel of a quintessential British boarding school. Its location, close to the Somerset and Devon coastlines, the vibrant cities of Bath and Bristol, as well as areas of outstanding natural beauty, makes for memorable weekend trips.
Wellington College also has an excellent music department which aims to become one of the top five non- specialist music schools in the UK. Opportunities and facilities in the area of music technology are among the best in the country. A significant number of students have performed concertos with professional orchestras.
It is worth noting that Wellington has a specialist music scheme which aims to equip aspirant professional musicians for music studies and performance at college, university and beyond.
It also provides opportunities for an extended program of instrumental practice and the study of areas which fall outside the regular examination syllabuses. In addition to other concessions, pupils can tackle a reduced number of subjects at GCSE.
Overall, I have presented two excellent music schools to you. I hope you feel encouraged to consider both your options and whether your daughter's talent is great enough to warrant applying to schools which may focus more on music and less on other academic subjects.
Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink.www.facebook.com/ lucyqna