MMusPerf Wind, Brass & Percussion

  • Application deadline
    24 March 2023
  • Course duration
    2 years
  • Course accreditation
    Trinity Accredited Course
  • Course fee
    €10,500 per annum
  • Course fee (non-EU/EEA)
    €22,050 per annum

Course Introduction

An Introduction from the Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion, David Collins

The RIAM Wind, Brass and Percussion department are proud of our student focused approach to learning and development and the calibre of our students and graduates.

Our students take priority at every stage of our degree programmes and we welcome regular international visiting artists and teachers for masterclasses and collaborative projects.

Additionally, all Bachelor and Masters students receive 2 hours of individual tuition each week which is unrivalled nationally. Feedback at weekly performance class, repertoire sessions, audition training and screened auditions all prepare our students with the skills they need to successfully negotiate and strive in the profession.

We want our students to have an experience that mirrors directly the music profession. Orchestral playing is a core element of your training at the RIAM and our teaching faculty are drawn from RTÉ National Symphony, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra and contemporary music group Crash Ensemble.

In addition to intensive RIAM Podium projects led by international conductors, the RIAM offers side by side scheme opportunities with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra as well as internal and external competitions, all of which make the RIAM the ideal place to study.

The relatively small department size means that students receive more time working with visiting artists, more orchestral performance opportunities and a closer working relationship with our teaching faculty. RIAM Alumni from our Wind, Brass and Percussion department currently hold positions in orchestras across Ireland, the UK and Europe.

Recent WBP masterclasses include visits from Jörg Widmann (RIAM International Visting Artist), Sir. James Galway, Peter Whelan, Marie-Luise Neunecker, Häkan Hardenberger and David Herbert.

Head of Wind, Brass & Percussion: David Collins

Course Outline

The MMusPerf Programme attracts WBP players who have achieved a high level of technical and musical skills in their undergraduate studies. The objectives of this 2 year postgraduate programme are to further develop the student to:

  • Perform demanding musical repertoire to a professional standard with technical assurance, confidence and a sense of individual artistry
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of the different demands of a range of performance groupings, from solo recital and chamber music to large ensembles, through the assimilation and public performance of a range of demanding musical repertoire
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of musical concepts through composition, music technology or academic study clearly and unambiguously
  • Critically assess historical research with the intention of enhancing musical interpretation and contributing to the field of learning.
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in the business-related aspects of the life of a professional musician with confidence through course work and assignments

You will have ensemble, chamber music, opera and orchestral performance opportunities. Our weekly performance classes will give you the chance to perform your chosen solo works and you will have time with an accompanist to help to prepare you for performance.

Pillars of Study

The Masters in Music Performance Programme has 5 pillars of study:

  • Principal Study
  • Chamber Music
  • Large Ensemble Work
  • Academic Studies
  • RIAM Holistic – the Working Musician (optional)


Principal Study

For two hours weekly over thirty weeks, you will receive one-to-one tuition from a teacher recognised for excellence in their field. You will experience masterclasses from internationally recognised performers and prepare for this with a weekly rehearsal with your assigned piano accompanist.

Assessments are designed to ensure that you cover a substantial amount of repertoire across both years and are open to the public.

  • Mid-year recital (35 - 40 minutes) taking place in February and open to the public. Woodwind, Brass and Percussion students may nominate an orchestral exam in lieu of the Mid-year recital
  • An end-of-year full-length recital (50 minutes)

Candidates must also prepare a major concerto in full to be performed [with piano accompaniment] at an appropriate time during the year.

Chamber Music

MMusPerf students are expected to cover in detail a minimum of 30 minutes of chamber music for a range of ensembles. Typical chamber music works at this level include Mozart Divertimenti, Raff Dectet, Gounod Petite Symphonie and Stravinsky ‘A Soldier’s Tale’. All groups will receive intensive coaching from national and international tutors.

The RIAM Percussion Ensemble is a dedicated group that performs cornerstones of the percussion chamber repertoire under the guidance of Principal Percussion at the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Richard O’Donnell. This group performs in the USA annually and commissions works from exciting young composers to add to the repertoire for this ensemble type.

Large Ensemble Performance

Throughout the 2 years you will take part as a principal in RIAM Podium, the Centre for Performing Ensembles. WBP students will perform in the following ensembles:

  • The RIAM Philharmonia, a sinfonietta orchestra specialising in late 18th century repertoire and cornerstones of the 20th century
  • RIAM Wind Ensemble, an un-conducted group
  • RIAM Early Music Ensemble, learning the techniques of 17th century by using Baroque instruments
  • RIAM Opera Orchestra, which accompanies the RIAM’s fully-staged projects
  • RIAM Contemporary Music Ensemble, tackling 20th century and premiering newly written works

RIAM also has professional mentoring agreements for WBP students with the RTE Symphony Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra and Irish Baroque Orchestra

Academic Studies

The academic component of the MMusPerf degree adds an intellectual foundation to your practical WBP studies, enriching your playing.

You have the opportunity to explore a specialist academic elective of your own choice: Dissertation, Composition, Music technology, Analysis or Conducting.

This enables you to shape your learning according to the direction you wish to go as a professional – composer/performer; artistic researcher; creator of electro-acoustic installations and much more. You will receive one-to-one supervision and prepare major academic or compositional works.

RIAM Holistic- the Working Musician (optional for all Master students)

The fifth pillar of study is designed to make you a flexible and adaptable artist, ready in mind and body for the demands of a portfolio career in music. MMusPerf students have the option to take the following classes:

  • Career Strategy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • The Principles of Pedagogy
  • Music in the Community
  • Contemporary Music Collaborations
  • Yoga and Feldenkrais
  • Performance Psychology

 For a more detailed description of the course requirements, please refer to the MMus course handbook



Performing Opportunities

  • Public Masterclass performance opportunities with visiting artists to the RIAM such as Jörg Widmann, Sir.James Galway, Michael Cox, Peter Whelan and Håkan Hardenberger from Ireland's only dedicated Wind, Brass and Percussion department.
  • Recent Audition Training workshops and coaching with members of the London Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Oper, Berlin and WDR Sinfonieorchester, Köln.
  • Guaranteed performance opportunities with the RIAM Philharmonia performing with world-renowned guest conductors and RIAM Opera Orchestra performing in fully staged opera productions. Additional performance opportunities both in Ireland and abroad with RIAM chamber wind and brass ensembles and RIAM Percussion Ensemble.
  • The opportunity to audition for Orchestral Mentoring Schemes with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra; in addition to collaboration with members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Irish Baroque Orchestra.

Career Destinations

The following is representative list of RIAM alumni:

Emer McDonough (Principal Flute Royal Philharmonic)

Fergus O’Carroll (Principal Horn RTE NSO)

Roger Moffatt (Percussion NSO)

Colm Byrne (Principal Trumpet NSO)

Caitriona Ryan (Principal Flute NSO)

Sinead Farrell, (Principal Piccolo NSO)

Cormac O hAodain, (Principal Horn RTECO)

James Dunne Principal (Percussion RTECO)

David Collins (Second Trumpet, Ulster Orchestra)

Kate Hearne (Winner, Montreal International Recorder Competition)

Why Choose Us

The RIAM accepts a very small number of entrants into its performance courses and there is keen competition for places each year.  Because of this, you are assured a very personal mentoring experience with great attention and guidance.

The teaching staff are proven performers in their own right who have an ever expanding legacy of successful students.

You will also be able to apply for the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and RTE Concert Orchestra mentoring schemes, which offer the opportunity to hone your skills and develop networks to gain freelance and full-time professional work in the future.

Dublin is a bustling and vibrant capital city of Ireland, now the only English-speaking country in the EU.

As an associate college of Trinity College, the University of Dublin, RIAM students graduate with a degree from one of the top universities in the world. RIAM students have access to Trinity’s gym, sports clubs, famous societies. You can have the university experience, but with classes in the intimate setting of a conservatoire.

Entry Requirements

There are no set audition pieces. You will need to perform a balanced and stylistically contrasting programme of at least 30 minutes. A short interview (normally 10-15 minutes) will follow the performance.

Auditions are usually held in January. Overseas applicants may audition by unedited DVD.

If submitting a DVD, please ensure that the quality of this DVD is sufficient for the panel to make a judgment. Poor quality DVDs will result in the panel being unable to process your application.

Candidates will generally receive the result within a month of their audition.

To read more about prior qualifications, language requirements and musical standard required, please visit our Postgraduate Entry Requirements page

Course handbook