MANY of Scotland’s finest musicians, composers, and conductors were given an opportunity to develop their talents at the Music School of Douglas Academy in Milngavie.

One of the country’s top performing comprehensive schools, for the past 40 years it has also provided a home for musically gifted pupils from all across Scotland. Here they can concentrate on developing their gift as part of an all-round excellent education.

Interested parents and prospective pupils only have until Monday, January27, to apply for 2020/21entry. It’s a big decision, so Course Director Mark Evans is inviting anyone who is interested to come along before the deadline and find out more.

“Ahead of the application deadline we would welcome visitors. Call to make an appointment and have a tour of Douglas Academy and its facilities,” says course director Mark Evans.

“This will give parents and prospective pupils a chance to see the school, learn more about what we do here, and how we do it.”

Although the school’s busy open daywasheldinNovember2019, this will provide the opportunity to see how the school operates on a day-to-day basis and have a conversation about whether it is the place for you.


The Music School was establishedin1979,when Strathclyde Regional Council responded to the Cameron Report on Gifted Young Musicians and Dancers. This recommended that musically gifted pupils should have access to specialised courses within an existing comprehensive school.

On this specialist course, particular attention is paid to the development of a pupil’s principal instrumental study, but there is all-round musical training which develops the pupil as a whole artist. There is no cost for this specialist tuition (funding comes from The Scottish Government with support from East Dunbartonshire Council).

There are 48 pupils at the music school from all over Scotland and there is also no charge for the residential accommodation that some pupils require, located in the pristine accommodation at Knightswood Secondary, which the Music School shares with the Dance School of Scotland.

Pupils who are accepted are given the highest quality musical education including one-on-one instrumental lessons in two instruments, with tutors largely drawn from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera as well as other professional musicians. Along with instrumental tuition, there are classes in composition, theory and harmony, aural musicianship and music history, chamber music and ensembles.

Music specialists at Douglas Academy are presented for the SQA Higher Music and Advanced Higher Music examinations as well as A level.

Pupils can also obtain professional performing diplomas while still at school and have the opportunity to play with a range of musicians in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, the West of Scotland Schools Symphony  Orchestra and Concert Band, the National Youth Choirs of Scotland and Scottish Opera Young Company.


Two of the first pupils were Jamie MacDougall, tenor and presenter on BBC Radio Scotland, and singer, composer and clarsach player MaryAnn Kennedy, a presenter on BBC Alba, but in the past four decades former pupils have been in great demand by orchestras around the country. Others have gone on to carve their own musical path, and not only in classical or traditional music.

Among those are the Ayoub sisters, blending classical and traditional, rising opera star Rachel Redmond, currently living in Paris and performing with Les Arts Florissants. Conductors Christian Curnyn and Rory MacDonald are former pupils, as are composer Tom Harold and Scottish National Orchestra chief executive Alistair Mackie. Soloists as varied as Shetland fiddler Chris Stout and pianist Jill Morton also attended the music school.

Although many pupils go on to pursue a career in music, its study has proved to be beneficial in wider academic achievements. Douglas Academy is the top 10 percent nationally for its results.

“That obviously makes us attractive, adds Mark Evans.

“Although the majority of music school pupils go on to further study of music, some will realise that professionally it’s not the life for them and choose to keep their playing or singing as a hobby,” adds Mark Evans.

“Pursuing a different route can be made easier too as music students tend to do well academically. They are learning so many transferable skills and the nature of music study means they are organised and disciplined. That all helps and the music students are in the top five to 10 percent within the school.”

Douglas Academy Music School applications close on Monday, January 27, 2020. For more information arrange a tour, please call 0141 955 2365 or More information on Douglas Academy can be found at