Popular Music

Popular Music is a contemporary art form that is constantly evolving and our curriculum reflects this.

We embrace innovation, diversity and change and you will have the opportunity to study a multiplicity of musical styles enabling you to re-define the future of the genre.

The Popular Music degree programmes provide intensive training for instrumentalists and singers with a high level of performing ability who intend to work as freelance musicians, bands and artists in the popular music industry, or as a preparation for further study.

Principal Study available in:

Piano / Keyboard
Bass Guitar
Drum Kit

Popular Music is available at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and the PGCE in Music with Specialist Instrumental Teaching is now accepting Popular Music applicants.


Recent Masterclasses

The College has recently welcomed masterclasses from Jason Rebello (Sting, Jeff Beck, Chaka Khan), Robert ‘Sput’ Searight (Snarky Puppy, Eryicah Badu, Justin Timberlake), Pete Waterman OBE and Jon Shone (Musical Director of One Direction), together with music industry seminars from Under the Cover Events, The Musicians’ Union, and ACS Hearing Protection.


Staff List


Head of Popular Music
Andy Stott BA, MA, PGCE, SFHEA

Deputy Head of Popular Music
Dr Rodrigo Constanzo BMus, MMus, PhD

International Artists in Popular Music
Snarky Puppy

Senior Lecturer
Katie Chatburn BMus, MMus, PGCE, LRAM

Senior Lecturer – MMus Popular Music Co-ordinator
Dr Mauricio Pauly MusB, MusM, PhD

Professional Engagements Co-ordinator, Northern Quarter Records Manager
Ben Cottrell BMus, GRNCM

Visiting Tutors in Vocals
Tommie Blaize (Incognito/Take That)
Kim Chandler (Bee Gees/Neil Diamond)
Anni Williams (Al Jarreau/CeeLo Green)

Tutors in Vocals
Nicki Allan BA, PGCE
Jenn Clempner BA, MA
Hannah McGuigan BMus

Tutor in Vocals, Musicianship Tutor
Audrey Lawrence-Mattis BMus

Visiting Tutors in Bass Guitar
Yolanda Charles (Paul Weller/Robbie Williams)
Stefan Redtenbacher (Amy Winehouse/Mica Paris)
Paul Turner (Jamiroquai/Sister Sledge)

Tutors in Bass Guitar
Ollie Collins BA
Simon Goulding
Richard Hammond BA, MA

Tutor in Bass Guitar, Tutor in Composition, Ensembles Project Supervisor
Jasper Wilkinson BA

Visiting Tutors in Drums
Elliott Henshaw (Jersey Boys/Wicked)
Ash Soan (Adele/James Morrison)

Tutors in Drums
Luke Flowers
Bryan Hargreaves BA

Drum Tutor, Musicianship Tutor
Dave Hassell ARAM

Visiting Tutors in Guitar
Rob Harris (Jamiroquai/Kylie Minogue)
Mike Walker (The Impossible Gentlemen)
Dominic Miller (Sting/Phil Collins)

Tutors in Guitar
Johnny Heyes BA
Stuart McCallum BA, MA

Visiting Tutors in Keyboard
Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy)
Jason Rebello (Sting/Chaka Khan)
Luke Smith (George Michael/Eric Clapton)

Tutors in Keyboard
Andy Hickey BA, Cert Ed
Johnni Musgrave BA

Keyboard Tutor, Composition Tutor, Ensembles Project Supervisor
Matt Steele BA, MA

Visiting Tutor in Musical Direction
Steve Sidwell (BBC Concert Orchestra)

Tutor in Musical Direction
Jon Shone BA

Visiting Tutor in Composition
Patrice Rushen (Stevie Wonder/Quincy Jones)

Visiting Tutors in Music Industry
Fred Bolza (Vice President Strategy Sony BMG)
Dr Pete Waterman OBE (Producer)

Tutor/Supervisor – Ensembles Performance
Alex Dee BA, PGCE

Tutor in Musicianship
Dr Sabrina Schroeder BMus, MA, PhD


What Our Students Say

website hannah rose

My favourite thing about being a student at the RNCM is being able to immerse myself in a musical environment every day. The best part of my week is when we go down to Blueprint Studios to have ensemble rehearsals, I love playing with a band as you are able to throw ideas back and forth to each other and sometimes arrange music. I have also been fortunate to play with students from the classical course, either for concerts and accompanying them for exams.

We recently had the pleasure of having a masterclass from a famous jazz pianist, Jason Rebello as well as the drummer Robert Searight from Snarky Puppy who are both extremely talented and inspiring. It was great to have the opportunity to receive advice and performing techniques from such a well-known pianist.
Hannah Rose, BMus (Hons) Popular Music, Keyboard

‘The Popular Music course gives me freedom as a musician. Since coming to the RNCM, I’ve played everything from 80s rock to Motown. I like the amount of live opportunities coming here has given me, I’m in a few bands and the amount of gigging opportunities we have is great. I feel all this experience is going to stand me in such great stead for my future as a singer-songwriter.’
Zoe Stirling, Voice

‘Being around so many people with a great work ethic and a respect for practicing and developing a career inspires you to work hard yourself.’
Pete Bill, Drum Kit 

‘Aside from the course lectures and lessons, it’s hard to pin down a ‘typical’ week. There’s always so much going on in Manchester – whether you’re heading along to a jam night at Matt and Phred’s, seeing a friend perform a set, having a samba jam with the other people on the Pop course, or one of your favourite bands are playing in town.’
Chris Rabbitts, Bass Guitar

Click here to read our student stories from James (voice), Chris (bass guitar), Lisa (voice) and Pete (drum kit).

Find out More

Click here for a list of Popular Music staff

Click here to read more about audition requirements and the audition process

Course/admissions enquiries: admissions@rncm.ac.uk