Keep Music Playing 23 – Student Recruitment

As one of the most exciting and forward-thinking conservatoires, the RNCM remains a destination of choice for gifted young musicians from all over the world.

But one of the most challenging tasks we continue to face is showcasing the work that we do to prospective students while the building is closed to the public.

Deciding where to train is a difficult decision for music students, which is why our Open Days play such a vital role. These key recruitment events provide young musicians with an incredible opportunity to see what life as an RNCM student is really like. Twice a year over 600 people join us in Manchester for information sessions, School activities, student performances and tours of our facilities and Hall of Residence.

With the first of our 2020 Open Days scheduled for April – just a few weeks after lockdown – creating an online alternative was inevitable. All key sessions were presented live, via Zoom, we installed a new chat feature on our website enabling attendees worldwide to engage with staff, students and alumni, showcased our accommodation through content created by Student Ambassadors, and highlighted our professional and performance opportunities through a gallery of archive footage.

The recruitment cycle is non-stop and our Online Open Days, the second of which is scheduled for Wednesday 28 October, is just one strand of the work that we do throughout the year to attract and retain new RNCM students. We pride ourselves on the communications we present, both online and in print (our last printed prospectus has been nominated for a Heist Award, celebrating excellence and innovation in education marketing), and we have developed a personalised approach to the way that we engage with potential students at every stage of their journey.

As we welcomed the 2020/21 academic year, we were already in receipt of hundreds of applications from young musicians, conductors and composers wanting to study with us next September. Current restrictions mean that all auditions for 2021 entry are by recording only, but the timeframes we’re working to remain unchanged and by the end of the year, we’ll have our new batch of Offer Holders, aspiring to do what they love at the RNCM.

– Liz Rowley, Deputy Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment


Embracing more than life on stage, performance is a key part of conservatoire training. Our varied artistic programme – integrating artist development and professional musicianship – is unique within the sector. Despite current restrictions, we’re delighted that we’re still able to curate and present a programme of free live events for you to enjoy, whilst providing our students with fantastic opportunities to learn from leading lights in the industry and develop their own creative projects. Read on for more…

Live from the RNCM

Pop- Featuring Bonnie Kemplay + Kolombia  

Thursday 22 Oct // 8pm

Vocal Tutor Audrey Mattis presents two sets from young artists studying on our Popular Music programme, followed by a discussion about the digital opportunities for today’s pop artists in a post-Covid world. Enjoy a sneak preview of Bonnie Kemplay and friends here and Kolombia covering The Rolling Stones classic Jumpin’ Jack Flash:

Our Thursday Lates are streamed online for free, for everyone. However, if you’re able, please consider making a donation in lieu of the price of a ticket so that we can continue to programme and produce events for you.

Comparing Notes With… Julian Joseph and Clark Rundell

Tuesday 3 November // 7pm

If you like wine, music and conversation then you’ll love our new online Comparing Notes With… series. Join our very own Clark Rundell, Professor of Conducting, and internationally-renowned jazz composer and pianist, Julian Joseph as they explore their friendship, journey in music and passion for wine and invite you to raise a glass and share their wine tasting experience with them. Tickets cost £10 with all proceeds supporting the RNCM Keep Music Playing appeal.

Click here for more details about the event and the wine they’ll be sampling, so you can join in at home.

To whet your appetite, here’s a joyous performance by the Julian Joseph Trio, Live at Ronnie Scott’s.

Coming soon

In addition to our live streamed concerts, we’re also delighted to present Insights, a series of live discussions and Q&As with some of the most exciting international artists working in music today. Click here for more details of our upcoming events featuring composer, producer and performer Anna Meredith, Norwegian contemporary composer and vocalist Trond Reinholdstensa, leading Mexican composer Hilda Paredes, and Chi-chi Nwanoku, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the Chineke! Foundation, which supports, inspires and encourages Black, Asian and ethnically diverse classical musicians working in the UK and Europe.

Here is an inspiring short film about the Chineke! Foundation’s amazing work (and music!).

Scarborough Spa Orchestra

The Scarborough Spa Orchestra was created in 1912, giving daily seaside concerts to lucky holiday makers. Over 100 years later, the Orchestra still performs every year, with seven of their 10 players  alumni of the RNCM.

Ordinarily, they’d perform nine concerts every week, for 15 weeks throughout the summer, all with different programmes. Sadly, due to the impact of Covid-19, they were unable to perform this year and are now at risk. To honour the season and to keep connected with their audience, violinist and alumna Rebecca Smith recorded this beautiful film of the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana. It’s one of their audience favourites; we hope you enjoy it too.

RNCM Connect 

Just two weeks ago we launched our new online platform, RNCM Connect, for our alumni, staff and students. We’re thrilled that we’ve already welcomed an amazing 280 members from all corners of the globe, representing all decades since we opened our doors in the early 70s. If you are a member of our alumni community and you’ve not yet signed up, click here to create your account and gain access to an array of fantastic benefits including; networking with fellow alumni, tutors and other industry professionals via the Directory, sharing news, recommendations, and performances on the Feed, reliving memories with your classmates in your Year Group, receiving invitations to special events and taking the opportunity to promote your business and receive membership discounts and special offers. Plus, look out for Mentor and Volunteer programmes launching soon! We look forward to welcoming you and growing and supporting our community together.

Keep our Music Playing

We’ve been overwhelmed by your generosity over recent months, giving our students the vital support they need to navigate this most challenging academic year. One of the many benefits of being a small specialist institution is that we know every one of our students and can offer them individualised tuition, online learning, wellbeing and hardship support tailored to their needs. However, we’re delivering this at a time when the income from our Box Office and Conferencing and Catering has drastically diminished. As our funds are increasingly stretched, we would be enormously grateful if you are able to keep supporting our students with hardship funding during this difficult time. To help us help our students to keep their music playing, please click here. Thank you.

20 October 2020