RNCM launches appeal to change young lives through musicŸ RNCM50 Fund marks 50th anniversaryof Manchester’s world famous conservatoire Ÿrncm.ac.uk/engageappeal
The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) is marking its 50th anniversary by launching an appeal dedicated to providing opportunities to under 18s.
Manchester’s internationally-renowned conservatoire recognises the ongoing impact that the reduction of music education in schools is having on young people across the UK. In the last decade alone spending per pupil on this subject has fallen by 9%, the largest cut in over 40 years according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UK’s leading independent economics research institute. RNCM’s response is to use its 50th anniversary to highlight the issue and to establish a fund for under 18s.
The RNCM50 Fund will support young musicians from the earliest moment, break barriers to education and look to the future of music. It launches with the RNCM Engage Appeal, which is focused on providing dedicated support to young musicians through a variety of initiatives.
Rhiannon McKay-SmithRNCM Director of Development says, It is wonderful to be celebrating the achievements of the RNCM, but it’s even more important to use our platform to support the next generation of young musicians. The reality is that music in schools was already suffering and with the added impact of Covid-19 this has created a tragic situation. Yet we all know what a powerful force music has on society. This is why we must act now before it’s too late.
Through our RNCM Engage programme, we are already helping thousands of young people as they explore their talent and love for music, and we are aspiring to increase the impact of this work through our anniversary activities and beyond. Our Engage Appeal will support all of the RNCM’s brilliant work with under 18s, providing access to a programme of world-class tuition and tailored support.”
The RNCM Engage Appeal aims to raise £60,000 by January 2023. The funds will support young people in a number of different ways including the College’s ground-breaking Pathfinder programme for those facing financial, social and / or cultural barriers to their musical progression. Subsidised lessons will be provided through Junior RNCM, the College’s weekly school for eight to 18-year-olds. Children’s Opera will offer musical opportunities for local schools to create and perform an opera at the RNCM. And there will be a newly launched Young Artists Saturday pop school where young people can write, produce and perform new music together.
Professor Jennie Henley, RNCM Director of Programmes saysTo be part of a young musician’s life is worth its weight in gold. The cruellest thing is to open a door for a young person and not give them the mechanism to go through. This is what we are here to do as a community at the RNCM and it is our responsibility to the future of the music profession that we do all that we can to support young people at this crucial time.”
Professor Henley recently published the results of a study seeking to identify the barriers to music and music education. Time for change? Recurrent barriers to music education concludes that after 20 years of policy initiatives, research and evaluation the same barriers still exist and that now is the time for change. This is something that the RNCM remains passionate about, and through the RNCM Engage Appeal, it wants to take forward a vision that sees young people explore, experience and enjoy music unhindered.
The RNCM50 Fund comes at the start of the RNCM’s 50th anniversary year, which will climax in June 2023 to mark the exact date the conservatoire opened its doors and to celebrate the incredible legacy of performers, composers, conductors, teachers and entrepreneurs who have thrived from an RNCM learning experience. Home to 1,000 students from more than 60 countries, the RNCM is a thrilling place to study and a wonderful place for audiences to enjoy live music. 
RNCM’s public performance programme over the next nine months will include lots of opportunities for young people to participate and discover all the many different possibilities a world of music offers. During this time there will also be opportunities to support the RNCM50 Fund, from buying a ticket to a performance to attending the RNCM Fundraising Gala, which will take place in June 2023. 
Making a difference
“I’ve had amazing opportunities at the RNCM and my tutor has helped me to develop as a musician.  I think I would have quit music full stop if it wasn’t for my tutor.  RNCM Engage has also allowed me to develop my skills and engage in different workshops and help me build my confidence in playing over time.  Last year I was offered a place at Junior RNCM and I couldn’t ask for anything better.  Joining Junior RNCM has changed my musical life and I really appreciate it”.  Alex, a young viola player
“One of our 15-year-old Engage participants has no musical background in his family and no formal training, but his raw talent is exceptional.  Entirely self-taught using a keyboard and YouTube in his bedroom, he has pieces from Chopin and Rachmaninov in his repertoire.  He became known to the RNCM through our Pathfinder programme and now has a place to study at Junior RNCM on a fully funded bursary, which will give him access to bespoke music tuition and the chance to play alongside other musicians for the first time.” Rachael Jones, Pathfinder Manager, RNCM
To make a donation to the RNCM Engage Appeal visit rncm.ac.uk/engageappeal To find out more about RNCM50 Fund and how you can help support the future of music visit rncm.ac.uk/rncm50fund. Keep up to date with the latest RNCM news by subscribing here or by following RNCM on social media: Twitter @rncmlive, Facebook @rncmlive, and Instagram @rncmlive.