Duncan Gallagher, GRNCM/MusB Violin

How long have you been playing the violin for, and how did you get started?

I started getting violin lessons when I was eight, but the initial encouragement came a couple of years earlier from my father who was a guitarist and wanted me to learn to play folk music. Because of this, my earliest experiences of music are from the folk tradition; a musical style I still value highly now.

 How do you find it being a student on the Joint Course?

The GRNCM/MusB, or ‘Joint Course’ is certainly demanding, most significantly in terms of workload and the level of organisational skills required, but it must be said that the difficulties and inconveniences of the course are by far outweighed by the fantastic opportunities it provides, not least the opportunity to study simultaneously at a world-class performance institution and a leading university music department. A student studying on the Joint Course reaps the benefits of being involved in a thriving music performance community, while also pursuing studies in academic music at an exemplary level.

What do you think of being a student in Manchester?

The student community in Manchester is known for being one of the most vibrant in the UK, and this is something I can verify with ease as a second-year student. Specifically, the abundance of musical life in the city is fantastic, but anyone studying anything in Manchester will find plenty to do both within and outside their area of study.

 What advice would you give to anyone auditioning for RNCM?

My simplest and most direct advice would be that anyone seeking to study at the RNCM should show genuine enthusiasm and passion for the art of music, but also exhibit a keenness for study and self-improvement at each level of the application/audition process.

What do you plan to do after your studies here?

Like many of my fellow students I am actually still in the process of deciding what I want to do after my undergraduate degree. Relating to this, a significant advantage of my particular course is that its diversity keeps so many doors open in terms of potential careers, and it puts people in a position in which they can be flexible about what discipline they choose to pursue, musical or otherwise.

To find out more about the MusB/GRNCM Programme, or ‘Joint Course’ click here.