Academic Studies

Academic Studies underpin the Bachelor in Music BMus (Hons) at the RNCM.

They are designed to support everything you learn in Principal Study and to give you a significant edge in the profession.



You will attend classes in musicianship, which include how to improvise and build on your aural awareness, historical and contextual studies led by specialist staff with expertise in repertoire across the centuries and styles, performance and repertoire classes in which you explore interpretative issues, and language of music classes where you will learn how the music you play works and how to write sophisticated music in two and four parts.

Later in the programme, a series of electives is offered by leading researchers in music, including exploring issues in historical and contemporary performance practice, composition, notation, orchestration, music and other arts (painting, architecture, cinema), music for the stage, arranging and many more. The ethos is to provide you with the highest quality teaching underpinned by cutting-edge research, all of which is designed to complement your practical work and future career aspirations.

Please note that GRNCM (‘Joint Course’) students do not take Academic Studies modules; they fulfil the academic requirements of their study with the MusB programme at The University of Manchester.

Postgraduate Programme

The Academic Studies team teach and supervise the academic aspects of the Postgraduate Programme. There are several ways you can pursue your studies at postgraduate level. For details, go to the Graduate School information.

Programme Staff List

Vice-Principal (Academic)
Dr Martin Harlow BA, MPhil, PhD, Dip.NCOS, FRNCM, ARCM

Head of Undergraduate Programmes
Dr Lois Fitch BA (Hons), PhD

Assistant Head of Undergraduate Programmes
Dr Michelle Phillips BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Head of Creative and Professional Practice
Kate Buchanan BMus, FHEA

Fellow in Creative and Professional Practice
Hannah McCabe BMus (Hons), MMus

Associate Director of Research
Professor Jane Ginsborg PhD, BA (Open), BA (York), DipGSMD, C.Psychol., AFBPsS, FHEA

Head of the Graduate School
Dr Fabrice Fitch MMus, Premier Prix de Composition, PhD

Assistant Head of the Graduate School
Dr David Horne BMus, PhD

Head of Music Education
Dr John Habron BA, MA, PhD, MA, FHEA

Teaching Fellows in Historical Performance
Harvey Davies GRNCM
Roger Hamilton MA, MA, ARCM

Dr Colin Beeson BMus(Hons), PhD, FRNCM
Steve Berry FHEA
Dr Simon Clarke BMus, MMus, MPhil, PhD
Dr Cheryll Duncan BMus, MA Music, MA Psych, PhD, PGCE, Ad.Dip. Couns., HonRNCM
Dr Larry Goves BMus, MPhil, PhD
Gethin Griffith BMus (Hons), PGDipRNCM, PGCertPAE, FHEA
Mike Hall BSc, PGDipRNCM
Professor Douglas Jarman
Dr Simon Parkin ARCM, GRNCM, MusB, PhD
Dr Helen Seddon-Gray  MusB (Hons), GRNCM, MusM (Hons), PhD
Peter Syrus BA, BPhil, ATCL
Dr Adam Swayne DM
Dr Jacob Thompson-Bell PhD
Dr David Vickers BA (Hons), MMus, PhD
Dr Nina Whiteman BA (Hons), MusM, PhD
Dr Karen Wise  BA, MBPsS, PGDip, PhD, FHEA
Dr Kris Worsley PhD   

English Language Learning Support Tutor
Dr Jean Ammar FHEA, BA (Hons), Cert Ed, Dip Ed (TESOL), MEd. (TESOL), MA (History), PhD, Dip Management

Learning Support Tutor
Dr Cheryll Duncan BMus, MA Music, MA Psych, PhD, PGCE, Ad.Dip. Couns., HonRNCM

E-Learning Co-ordinator
Peter Stacey BSc MMedSci PgCert

What Our Students Say

Throughout my education I have been continuously inspired by the energy and enthusiasm shown by my teachers and lecturers. I really enjoy the independent research aspects of my programme. This year I studied an elective that looks at philosophical questions associated with our trade. This has led to exciting, heated debates about the aesthetic value of particular works and music’s changing role within society. It has been really interesting to consider these overarching issues. The impact of music in its wider context has really changed my perspective on performance and my role as performer.
Sarah Phillips, BMus, Clarinet

Further Information

If you have any enquiries regarding Academic Studies at the RNCM, please email

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