Students who are studying at Leeds Conservatoire under a Tier 4 Visa: working during your studies

Work is allowed within set limits tied to your visa. If you are unsure of your visa status you can check it here, and please note that if you do not require a visa then the following information will not apply to you – instead please check the UKCISA website for further information on your rights while living in the UK. Whatever your visa status, please remember that work should not eat too much into your practice and study time.

The majority of Tier 4 students in Leeds can work up to 20 hours per week in a range of roles during term time, with more hours during vacations. Your Biometric Residence Permit, as detailed on our visas page, will detail your specific circumstances. If no right to work is printed on your BRP, please contact us to query this. 

Work’ includes paid or unpaid work or business, and there are types of work you strictly cannot do. Tier 4 students cannot be self-employed or work as an entertainer, but can work in more structured settings. Working in shops or cafes, casual employment for the conservatoire or doing certain kinds of volunteering are a few examples of what you can do. There is a useful UKCISA blog on the subject if you’d like further details.

As a music or performing arts student we’re sure you will want to get practical experience and test out songs or projects. Instead of doing things such as external gigs, making money from clicks on YouTube, or giving music lessons for example, you should therefore take advantage of the many other similar opportunities provided by the conservatoire.

Leeds Conservatoire maintains an environment where it is easy for you to practise and try out new material and techniques, including at some off-site venues. You can showcase any material you want in an informal setting outside timetabled classes, and learn how to become a better performer or entrepreneur as a result. Our tutors are usually part of the audience and are always happy to give feedback.

Check out our full list of creative opportunities by course below (*please note that all opportunities are changeable, and that the ones listed are examples from this academic year)

Additionally, remember that we have a frequent schedule of workshops and masterclasses delivered by industry experts. Attend as many as you like!

Classical Students

You can audition for Leeds Conservatoire’s core ensembles (Chamber Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Choir, New Music Collective). The Students’ Union also runs an additional SU orchestra, wind ensemble and chorus, while Leeds Conservatoire also hosts the Leodian Concert Orchestra, which students are able to join and play alongside external musicians.

Public ‘showcase’ concerts are held once a semester, featuring some of the pathway’s most exciting performers.

The annual Opera Scenes Project brings together singers and instrumentalists to perform in local theatres and performance spaces.

Performance opportunities are also numerous for solo and chamber music playing. There are lunchtime concerts once a week which are very popular with students. Staff often collaborate with students for joint performances, sometimes featuring visiting artists. Leeds Conservatoire students regularly play in external venues in Leeds and in the local region. Often these are arts centres, churches and cathedrals with strong local audience support, allowing students the experience of performing in a variety of contexts.

Students often collaborate with dance and arts students from Leeds institutions also, taking part at times in more unusual site-specific performances.

Folk Students

You are able to be a part of the Leeds Conservatoire Folk Ensemble and audition for all of Leeds Conservatoire’s core ensembles – New Music Collective, Contemporary Choir, Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Jazz Orchestra etc.

Public Showcase events are held once a semester and include performances from the Leeds Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, plus solo and group performances from some of the pathway’s most exciting performers.

Folk students regularly play in external venues in the local region, sometimes extending to national performances in London and further afield. These are part of our enrichment programme which seeks to support performance students with the chance to develop stage skills as well as developing a rapport with different audiences. Reflection on these performances and events is incorporated into Ensemble Studies and Performance in Context Workshops. Performances are filmed in order to help students critically reflect on their performance abilities.

An annual Gala Concert is the pinnacle of internal performance platforms at Leeds Conservatoire and showcases the conservatoire’s most exciting artists and pieces of that year. The Gala Concert also seeks to promote excellence across all of the different schools and programmes and is held in our largest auditorium and live-streamed to an even bigger audience.

There are often opportunities to promote students’ work by appearing live on BBC Radio Folk broadcasts. The conservatoire has an excellent working relationship with the BBC and students are invited to play live in the studio in advance of big performances to promote them to the Folk and Traditional community in Yorkshire.

Jazz Students

Come to many of the informal jam sessions that Leeds Conservatoire and our Alumni run throughout the city. You can watch and play with other students and staff at the B-Side – an event we host 7 / 8 times a year – or Undercurrent in Sela Bar, which is a venue in Leeds that hosts our Programme Leader’s jazz night. There are staff and students playing alongside each other and also a late-night jam session. We also run an event in partnership with FUSEBOX, which focuses more on the free approach to improvised music. Follow us on Facebook.

Or take part in the weekly jazz lunchtime concert. These are informal platforms that run throughout the academic year, where you will play with your timetabled ensemble and get informal feedback from members of the jazz faculty. These gigs are also videoed, so you can watch them back with your tutors and peers in the timetabled sessions.

Popular Music Students

Apply to play at our monthly live event Crosswire. This event showcases the best music from the School of Pop and Production, attracts a big audience from across Leeds Conservatoire, and features a wide variety of styles and sounds. There are six Crosswire nights across the year and each features four live bands and a number of DJs. The performance is attended by staff and students and is always a great opportunity to try out new songs and to get feedback from other people here at the conservatoire.

‘Crosswire Sessions’ is a project that produces live studio session films of the bands featured at the live Crosswire night. We invite bands into the studio and produce professional quality videos that are then shared across YouTube and social media.

Each year we run a Popular Music Showcase that features four of the best acts from the Popular Music course. This public event celebrates the diverse range of musical styles represented on the Popular Music course in a vibrant and welcoming environment. We also host the International Showcase event that specifically celebrates the work of our talented international students.

The Leeds Conservatoire Contemporary Choir is a high-octane choral ensemble, showcasing unique and original arrangements of well-known rock and pop repertoire. The choir invites students from all backgrounds and disciplines to audition to join and offers regular diverse performance opportunities.

Our end of year Gala Concert showcase is the event of the year at Leeds Conservatoire, showcasing the breadth of talent across each pathway of study.

Many academic modules that you will do on the Popular Music course involve a significant amount of regular performance in front of your fellow students and tutors. In classes such as Specialist Group Study and Performance in Context, performance is central and you will get regular feedback from your peers and tutors on your developing artistry and stagecraft.

Songwriting Students

Apply to play at our monthly live event Crosswire. This event showcases the best music from the School of Pop and Production, attracts a big audience from across Leeds Conservatoire, and features a wide variety of styles and sounds. There are six Crosswire nights across the year and each features four live bands and a number of DJs. The performance is attended by staff and students and is always a great opportunity to try out new songs and to get feedback from other people here at the conservatoire.

‘Crosswire Sessions’ is a project that produces live studio session films of the bands featured at the live Crosswire night. We invite bands into the studio and produce professional quality videos that are then shared across YouTube and social media.

Or you can apply to perform at ‘The Round’ which is a lunchtime songwriter showcase event where three songwriting students, one from each year, each perform two brand new songs that they haven’t performed to anyone else yet. The event is set up for songwriters to listen to each other’s new material, and for the songwriters to have the chance to receive feedback via email which each member of the audience has forwarded to the member of staff who co-ordinates and hosts the event.

Production Students

Apply to play at our monthly live event Crosswire. This event showcases the best music from the School of Pop and Production, attracts a big audience from across Leeds Conservatoire, and features a wide variety of styles and sounds. There are six Crosswire nights across the year and each features four live bands and a number of DJs. The performance is attended by staff and students and is always a great opportunity to try out new songs and to get feedback from other people here at the conservatoire.

‘Crosswire Sessions’ is a project that produces live studio session films of the bands featured at the live Crosswire night. We invite bands into the studio and produce professional quality videos that are then shared across YouTube and social media.

Or you can apply to perform/present your work at the Music Production Showcase. This event happens once a year and is a chance for music production students to showcase their best work in front of fellow staff and students. This event is also open to the public so friends and guests can be invited.

Film Music Students

You can participate in many of our extra-curricular projects and events. We have four hours of extra lectures, masterclasses and other events every week, which you are free to join. You can also participate in Film Night events, which usually happen at Leeds Conservatoire in the evening but could be held externally in theatres in Leeds, Manchester and London.

You are also able to audition to participate in our annual Gala and other events. You are also eligible for non-paid work and experience writing music for local and national Film directors.

Music Business Students

You can participate in many of our extra curricular projects. These include cross pathway projects that music business students lead and organise:

  • Volume Magazine, a student produced music review of releases and gigs.
  • DJ Society, which puts on events, live streams and operate as booking agents for shows.
  • Music Video production unit, filming and editing trailers, teasers and promo for artists and events at Leeds Conservatoire.

There are also internship opportunities, organising press and promotion for our Marketing, Events and Short Courses departments for those with 20 hours per week of working rights. The Music Business pathway supports the development of students’ projects and ideas and can facilitate and supervise the exploitation of your ideas.

Postgraduate Students

Each year we run a Postgraduate Showcase that features a selection of acts from the Master’s programme. This public event celebrates the diverse range of musical styles represented on the course in a vibrant and welcoming environment.

Postgraduate musicians can also apply to play at an annual International Showcase event that celebrates the work of our talented international students.

Our end of year Gala Concert showcases the breadth of talent across each course, inevitably involving postgraduate students.

The MA course involves opportunities for students to perform in front of peers, tutors and visiting guests. At these sessions, students get feedback on works in progress.

We are live with Dr Alex Timewell to talk Music Business. Watch live or catch-up: https://t.co/haHIBA6ZvV
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