Adee’s Story | Choosing to study Popular Music at the RNCM

We caught up with Adee Lifshitz, a Singer in her first year on the Popular Music Course, to find out why she decided to study at the RNCM  

Tell us a little about you – where are you from, and why did you apply to the RNCM?

I’m Adee, a 25 year old Singer on the Popular Music course, currently in my first year. I’m an International Student, originally from Israel. In the back of my mind, I’d always wanted to study music.

Preferring to sing in English, rather than in Hebrew, I thought England could be a good option. So I started searching online for popular music degrees around the world, and the RNCM really piqued my interest. I watched lots of YouTube videos and read a few of the students’ stories and decided to look at applying.

I thought to myself, if not now, then when am I going to go for it? I wanted to go out and have an adventure.

Tell us about your journey to getting a place at the RNCM

The application process was really straightforward – I applied, did my audition overseas and interviewed online. The first thing that made me realise the RNCM was different was how calm, supportive and nice the interviewer was. Music schools can have a reputation for being ego driven and competitive but I felt right away like this was a family environment and everyone was rooting for each other.

I was interviewed and just a few days later I got an offer on UCAS website. I was at a wedding at the time and I was so thrilled when I stopped to check my phone. It gave me an extra excuse to celebrate!

Coming from such a small country and making the huge step of leaving home – not to mention choosing to study music, which people can see as a risk – there was lots to think about. So when the RNCM said yes, you have a conditional offer, it was just fantastic. It felt surreal. It had always been my dream to study music abroad – and now it was actually happening! I called my music teacher, parents, everyone (!) to share the news.

Did you come to an Offer Holders’ event at the College?

I came to an Offer Holders’ day last year. I was so excited because I had never been to Manchester before. Beforehand I tried to look at lots of photos and research the RNCM, but coming to visit was what really prepared me for what the College was like.

The day was great. It started with a Q+A session where we could mingle with other offer holders and current students. Everyone was so nice and so excited to see the new incoming students – there was a real sense that something was waiting for you. It has such a familial environment – and being with just 30 people, with 11 singers per year, isn’t something I found in other schools I applied to.

We had a talk with the course leader and he told us more about the degree and what we might be learning. Next, we got more specific about our own areas. Singers went with singers; drummers with drummers, and we had the chance to ask current students lots of questions.

Later, we saw two bands from the Popular Music course perform and it blew my mind, it was crazy. Everybody was so talented and I thought, how incredible, that they were performing their original material. They only met four months ago and now they have this band with these amazing songs – it was really inspiring. I thought, ‘this is what I’m going to be doing’!!

Now I’ve started the course, I have my own band at the RNCM, called Astri. Two friends and I started writing a song one day and it all grew from there. We started as a singer, keys and guitar. It was all coming together, so we said, ‘let’s do this and make it into something real’ – and added a bass guitar and drummer. We do a lot of synth pop and ambient music, and we’re working on putting together our first set.

Later on that Offer Holders’ Day, we had the chance to perform with the RNCM Session Orchestra. We were sent five songs to learn in advance. First the Session Orchestra  played songs, then had us switch in. Seeing everyone there, everyone was so supportive. I was scared to make a mistake, but even if you did, people still clapped and had a good time.

At that stage, you realise it’s not a test anymore – you’ve passed the audition – and you realise how fun it’s going to be. It was nice to meet people who would be in my year, too – I met 21 of 30 people I’d spend the next four years with.

As if that wasn’t enough, in the evening we went to see the first years’ assessment, which was a live gig at the Deaf Institute. Six bands performed and everyone was so talented.

A day like that, it’s not something you forget – this was my first taste of the RNCM and what I’d be doing for next 4 years!

What have been your highlights so far from your time at the RNCM?

Being surrounded by music all the time, 24-7 is the best part. I also loved our Ensemble Week, where we were put into different bands with 2nd year students, given 10 songs of rep to perfect the week before, then perform. The bonus was that our artist for the week was Michael Jackson!

We also had an amazing Songwriting Showcase, an evening where students got up and performed their original material. It was a great feeling that we were the first ones hearing these songs, and a great opportunity for everyone to share their material. You get endless opportunities here – and the feeling you get from the tutors is that you should try everything and get out of your comfort zone.

It has been such a fantastic ride so far. As a performer, you get pushed, you get probed, you are stretched to your limits but it makes you become so much better. My principal study teacher pushes me a lot but is also very supportive – and that’s what you need: someone to make you dare to do stuff – and make you try. As long as you put the work in, people will do everything to help you reach your goals here.

What would you say to this year’s offer holders?

This past few months studying at the RNCM have been some of the most challenging that I’ve had, but also some of the most inspiring. Every new experience here makes me feel like this place is perfect for me – and more and more of what I was initially looking for. You get to do so many things you never thought you would!

Learning from each other and the tutors makes you improve so much, in just a short period of time. My advice – just do it!


31 January 2018