Junior RNCM FAQs

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions from prospective Junior RNCM students and their parents/carers.

A young saxophone player sits in front of his sheet music and plays his instrument.

Who attends the Junior RNCM?

Our students generally range in age from 8 to 18 and come from all walks of life and a wide catchment area. We typically have around 200 gifted, talented and highly motivated musicians as students at any one time. They all have one thing in common; they are ordinary young people with an extraordinary talent.

Am I good enough to be a Junior RNCM student?

As a rough guide we are looking for at least ABRSM Grade 5 with distinction, though we appreciate that some of our younger applicants may not yet have attained this. One of the key things we look for is the ability of our potential students to cope with and thrive in the intense and rewarding environment here at the Junior RNCM. If you’re unsure, talk to your music teacher about your abilities or visit us on our Open Day and chat to some of our staff members.

Is there a cut-off age for applications?

We normally consider the beginning of Year 12 to be the last point of entry as we prefer students to be with us for a minimum of two years. There have been instances where students have joined in Year 13 and remained with us for a gap year.

Will I have to change my current teacher?

Yes, and this is something that may need careful consideration prior to your application. Our students are not permitted to have instrument lessons with other teachers as this may lead to conflicting advice.

Will I be able to take part in ensembles outside the Junior RNCM?

Yes, providing that this leaves enough time for practice during the week.

Do students of all ages have the same timetable?

No, our younger students have a shorter curriculum, at a lower cost, than our older students – this is our Foundation Section. Foundation Section students move onto a fuller timetable when they are able to complete a full day’s activities. Each student’s timetable is tailored to their specialism.

Will I be expected to go on to study at a conservatoire or university music department?

Not necessarily. Around three-quarters of our leavers go on to study music, but recent leavers have also gone on to study subjects such as Medicine, Engineering, English, Philosophy and Law.

Do I have to study the piano?

Most of our students choose to study the piano as it provides them with a strong platform for other area of musical study (theory, composition etc) but this is flexible according to the strengths of each individual student.

Can I take ABRSM examinations at the Junior RNCM?

Yes, students may take ABRSM examinations, but this is not compulsory. ABRSM practical exams are only taken on the recommendation of a student’s tutor, and not normally within the first term with a new teacher. Our students are entered for exams directly by the Junior RNCM, and parents are invoiced for fees at a later date. We advise students not to take two practical exams in one session.

Are there any awards/bursaries available to help me financially?

We try to make the Junior RNCM accessible to all talented and gifted musicians, regardless of their financial circumstances. For those who need assistance, there are a number of scholarships and bursaries available.

My child is not currently at the age/standard required for Junior RNCM. Are there any other music-making/learning opportunities available at the RNCM for them?

RNCM Young Projects are part of the College’s portfolio of activities for young people aged five to 18, with the aim of offering high-quality opportunities to develop musical and technical skills and creativity. For more information, please see the RNCM Young Projects pages.

What opportunities are there to visit Junior RNCM?

Our Open Day is usually held in February every year and booking opens mid-December. Please see our Application Page for further details.

What kind of involvement is expected of parents/carers in terms of the student’s attendance at Junior RNCM?

Parents/carers are expected to ensure regular attendance of their child at Junior RNCM, and to support practice routines. Requests for permission for their child to be absent must be submitted in advance to the Head of Junior RNCM. Parents/carers themselves are not expected to attend each Saturday, but many do choose to stay on-site and make use of the College’s café and WiFi facilities.

We live outside of the North West region. Would it be possible to attend Junior RNCM?

Junior RNCM attracts young musicians from a wide catchment area. While the majority of our students are from the North West region, many travel great distances to be part of the JRNCM community, including from Northumberland, Cumbria, North and South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Midlands, Wales, and even Isle of Man and Guernsey!

If your question isn’t covered by this FAQ, please contact Junior RNCM on [email protected].