Recently I wrote about Ian Higginson and one of his latest published composition – Organ Sound Colours – Volume 1. Ian is not only an accomplished composer who has written numerous choral, organ and instrumental works that have been widely performed & published in the UK and the USA. He is also active as an organist, conductor, accompanist, examiner and music teacher.
One of the projects that Ian has been working on for a while is the Three Counties School of Music (TCSM) Remote Assessment scheme, where he is the Principal and Chief Examiner.
Introduction to the Three Counties School of Music
In addition to offering performance grades 1 – 8 and three different levels of diplomas DipTCSM, ATCSM and FTCSM in all the usual musical disciplines, TCSM also offers three different levels of diplomas DipTCSM, ATCSM and FTCSM in Church organist, Musical Direction, Composition and via dissertation too.
The Church Organist diplomas are aimed at candidates who are not necessarily recitalists, but whose strengths perhaps lie in accompanying a church service etc.
All assessments can also be ‘mixed mode’ – a combination if the candidate wishes, so candidates can perhaps combine Church Organist with Musical Direction, or Piano and Accompaniment or partly by dissertation and partly by performance. There are many different options to choose from.
All three levels of diplomas attract an academic hood too, which is often popular with church/cathedral musicians.
A recent and additional division of TCSM that has very recently been established is the Cotswold Society of Church Musicians (CSCM). Unlike the TCSM diplomas, which are awarded to candidates who have successfully passed a rigorous practical assessment, the Associate (ACSCM) and Fellowship (FCSCM) are awarded after a careful assessment of a musician’s qualifications and prior experience in the field of church music.
Successful candidates receive a certificate and are authorised to order the appropriate academic dress through the Society and to use the appropriate postnominals. In addition, they automatically become affiliates of the TCSM and are therefore entitled to discounted fees for the TCSM diploma assessments.
Full details are available on the TCSM website.
Background and Aims of Three Counties School of Music
Three Counties School of Music (TCSM) was founded in 2010 and has operated in association with the University of Gloucestershire ever since. TCSM is an independent assessment board, which provides a wide range of accessible and flexible grades (1-8), performance certificates, plus three levels of performance diplomas – DipTCSM, ATCSM & FTCSM in most musical disciplines, or even a mixed mode combination.
Diploma assessments are offered at the the three different levels to candidates specialising in Accompaniment, Church Organist, Musical Direction and Composition/singer songwriter.
The school aims to encourage candidates to:
- Be passionate about music
- To gain an in depth knowledge of the different aspects, styles and genres of music
- To develop and broaden their general musicianship and knowledge
- To take a pride in their musical interests and activities
For more information visit the Three Counties School of Music website.
Academic Dresses for TCSM and CSCM
Successful DipTCSM, ATCSM & FTCSM diploma candidates are entitled to order the appropriate academic dress should they wish to do so.
Academic Hoods available for TCSM:
- DipTCSM (First level diploma)
Hood of the simple shape with maroon cowl and black liripipe.
- ATCSM (Second level diploma)
Hood of the full shape with maroon cowl, black cape and liripipe, bound one inch in maroon.
- FTCSM (Third level diploma)
Hood of the full shape with maroon cowl, black cape and liripipe, bound one in white fur.
Hoods available for CSCM are:
- Associate Hood (ACSCM) – Simple Shape hood
Forrest Green liripipe lined with Claret satin Cowl
- Fellowship Hood (FCSCM) Full shape hood
Cambridge Full Shape Hood with Forrest Green cape & liripipe with a Claret satin Cowl
For further information / description/ prices and placing orders for the appropriate diploma academic dress please visit Three Counties School of Music website.
Honorary Fellow of TCSM
Finally, I’m pleased to announce that I am now an honorary Fellow member of the Three Counties School of Music (HonFTCSM). As soon as I receive my certificate in the post I will post it below.
Are you a member of TCSM or have you done an assessment with them yourself? Please let me know what your experience was like in the comments below.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.