RNCM Futures

The music industry has changed significantly in recent years and we understand that now, more than ever, our students need to gain a broad range of skills to develop successful and sustainable portfolio careers.

This often means a combination of performing, composing, arranging, teaching, outreach work and arts administration, with musicians in effect being sole traders in control of a flexible freelance career.

The RNCM has entrepreneurship and vocational skills development embedded throughout its curriculum to give our students the power to succeed. A whole strand of our undergraduate programme is dedicated to artist development and sustainable careers, which teaches students how to market and promote themselves, develop and deliver independent projects and manage their finances.

This year, students have worked with RNCM staff, organisations such as Help Musicians UK and The Musicians’ Union and entrepreneurs including Vikas Shah MBE. Sessions covered Understanding Tax and Self Employment, Artistic Leadership and Creative Production and Top Tips for Funding Success.

To ensure they gain an all-round experience during their studies, our students also undertake an industry placement, which can be anything from orchestral performance anywhere in the world (including Europe, China and the USA) to marketing and fundraising.

We are proud to have established close relationships with multiple orchestras and ensembles across Europe and important partnerships with the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Opera North, the BBC at Media City and Global Radio (Classic FM) closer to home, as well as with numerous performing arts organisations, festivals and agencies across the UK and EU.

RNCM Futures Entrepreneurship Award

The RNCM Entrepreneurship Fund was introduced in 2015 to promote enterprise amongst the student body, providing mentoring and seed funding to those with viable business proposals.

Established in 2016, the RNCM Futures Entrepreneurship Awards enable us to help some students transform their creative ideas into feasible business ventures. Every student is invited to take part, pitching their project ideas to a panel of business and industry experts in the hope of gaining funding or mentorship.


Students have access to sessions with staff and external contacts to discuss ideas before submitting their proposals. After an initial selection, the finalists are asked to present their project to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, the result of which could include an award of up to £1,000.

Over the last three years we have seen an increase in student engagement, with 120 students attending the launch in 2018, up from 70 in previous years. This year, 42 students submitted business plans and project proposals, and 10 were put through to the final. The panel of external judges included Lawrence Jones MBE (UKFast), Henna Riaz (HRR Entertainment, 2016 Business Woman of the Year), James Sargeant (Institutional Business Manager, Yamaha) and Vikas Shah MBE (Swisscot), who also delivered the Launch Key Note.

The rise in increased engagement from our students and the demand for portfolio careers means that continuing the Entrepreneurship Awards and expanding the fund is a key priority.

Thank you to our 2019 partners: