RNCM launches appeal to safeguard instruments in critical decline

The RNCM has today (13 November) launched a fundraising appeal to safeguard several instruments now in critical decline.

Decades of underfunding music education in schools means that instruments such as the viola, double bass, oboe, bassoon, French horn, bass trombone and tuba are viewed as endangered.

RNCM young tuba player sitting in an ensemble

Fewer children are now making music at a younger age and there is no capacity for schools to prioritise these options, which are generally less accessible, more expensive and (in some cases) larger, making it difficult for children to handle and transport them.

Sadly, the result of this is a steady decline in the number of young musicians progressing to conservatoire study in these disciplines, the impact of which will be catastrophic for the music profession and the positive impact it has on our lives and communities. From powerful symphonic works to emotional film and theatre scores, these instruments are integral to the music we all know and love. It is unthinkable to imagine a landscape without them.

This is a problem facing the entire music sector, but the RNCM is committed to developing creative, targeted solutions to tackle this crisis at all levels, including:

1. RNCM Engage, the conservatoire’s award-winning work supporting under-18s to overcome barriers to studying endangered instruments, offering a first experience of them at taster days, and hosting focus days to showcase our world-class tuition.

2. Tailored financial support for endangered instruments to encourage applicants and ensure students can continue their studies at this level, as well as supplying and helping with the cost of instrument purchase and maintenance.

3. Exceptional tuition and training from some of the world’s very best musicians, alongside opportunities to borrow and receive specialist training on related ‘doubling’ instruments.

The RNCM’s multi-layered approach is designed to target the declining number of musicians choosing endangered instruments at a young age and supporting them on their musical journeys.

Professor Linda Merrick CBE, Principal, said: ‘The RNCM is fully committed to playing a central role in securing the future of music for everyone. I am incredibly proud of the targeted work we are doing to encourage young musicians to take up endangered instruments and support them on their musical journeys, from the point of first access to potential careers in the music profession.’

To learn more about the RNCM Endangered Instrument Appeal and how you can support the future of music, click here.

13 November 2023