RNCM Young Artists

RNCM Young Artists is a new programme of training and support for pop musicians aged 11-18 from across the North West.

Launched in September 2022, the initiative will provide young people with life-changing opportunities to explore their talent and achieve their potential, while making music training from the very best artists accessible to all.

Designed and delivered by the College’s world-renowned Popular Music Department, RNCM Young Artists will offer year-round weekly sessions focused on composition, production, and performance, led by the faculty and student mentors.

With full access to the fully equipped, state-of-the-art recording and producing studios situated in the College’s central Manchester campus, RNCM Young Artists will work in bands, creating, recording, and distributing original music and sharing their work in informal, friendly gigs and showcases.

The RNCM is determined to reach and support young people from all backgrounds and will work with partners in local communities to grow a diverse and creative community of musicians, with financial support in place where needed.

Professor Linda Merrick, Principal, said: ‘This is a hugely exciting new programme which will support and inspire brilliant musicians, song writers and producers – the next generation of the region’s music creators. We cannot wait to work with these young people and help them to take the next steps on their musical journey. We know there is incredible talent right on our doorstep and RNCM Young Artists will provide the very best training, mentorship and music-making opportunities to help them achieve their dreams’.

Who is it for?

The programme is open to all (bass guitar, drums, guitar, keyboards, vocals, pop-focused orchestral players, DJs, MCs and producers) and above all aims to work with young musicians with ideas, talent and drive. They might have received previous tuition or coaching, or be self-taught ‘bedroom musicians’, accessing structured training for the first time. Whatever their prior experience, potential, commitment, and creativity are the most important factors – no specific qualifications are required.


RNCM Young Artists attend for 2 hours every Saturday for a full academic year (2 x 15-week semesters).

  • £1050 per year
  • £525 per semester

Working with Sony Music Group and the River Reeves Foundation, full-fee bursaries will be presented to up to 50% of RNCM Young Artists, aimed at those whose financial circumstances have prevented them from accessing music training. Travel and tech bursaries will be available to ensure the costs of transport and equipment don’t prevent participation and we will work closely with the young people’s schools and networks to create a supportive framework for their music-making. Alongside transformational music training and experiences, the project will increase their confidence and open up pathways for education and development that would otherwise be out of reach.


RNCM Young Artists launched in September 2022. Every Saturday during term-time, we will run a day of creative sessions, each catering for a different age group. The young people will be divided into bands and will work with RNCM tutors and student mentors. They will write and workshop original music, rehearse together and share new material – in person and digitally.

Participants will work alongside bands from the College’s popular music programmes, meet like-minded people and thrive in a supportive, inspiring environment where they can explore and test new creative work. In the long-term, we will establish collaborative projects with Junior RNCM, creating opportunities for our young classical musicians to perform and compose alongside their pop peers. Above all, we will be flexible and responsive, and create a programme for our Young Artists that is inspiring, nurturing and fun.

RNCM Young Artists playing guitar with a tutor.

RNCM Popular Music Department

For the past 15 years the RNCM has trained young musicians from all over the world in Popular Music, guiding them to be original artists, freelance musicians, and industry experts.

Inspired by Manchester’s iconic music scene, our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes embrace innovation and diversity and empower students to be ambitious and imaginative with no boundaries to their creativity.

In 2015 we launched the UK’s only four-year conservatoire-based degree in Popular Music and since then have enjoyed watching the department grow from strength to strength. Our graduates are busy building exciting careers within the industry – both on and off-stage – and we’ve developed fantastic relationships with international artists such as Nile Rodgers, JP Cooper, and Snarky Puppy.

Now, for the first time, we’re creating a Young Artists programme that brings the outstanding training opportunities our own students receive to emerging talent across the region.

RNCM Young Artists Application: September 2023

Applications for September 2023 are open now.

Once we have received your application, you will be invited to take part in a 2-hour band musicianship workshop that will take place in June (your exact time will be confirmed once the application deadline has passed). You will work with fellow Young Artists applicants, RNCM student mentors and RNCM teaching staff. We will send you all the materials that you need to prepare in advance.

Following the workshops, we will notify you on the outcome of your application.

We look forward to welcoming you to the RNCM!

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