Master of Performance
Brass: 809FComposition: 701FHistorical Performance: 702FKeyboard: 812FPercussion 710FStrings: 704FVocal: 850FWoodwind: 801F
2 years full-time. This course is also available on a part-time basis over 3 years upon request, except for conductors and vocalists. Please contact us if you would like to explore part-time options.Masters qualifications & study routes Learning & teaching Opportunities Entry requirements How to apply Enquiries
Normally taken over two years, the MPerf develops performers’ practical skills, complemented by options which reflect current vocational and professional needs. Such skills are particularly relevant for those who aim to enter the profession as practitioners at the highest level and who need to meet the current practical demands of the music industry.
Graduate Diploma vs Masters for vocalists
If you are a vocal applicant and unsure whether you are ready for our Masters Programme, we recommend contacting the Vocal & Opera Faculty for advice before applying.
If you are still unsure, please apply for the Masters and indicate that you are also willing to be considered for the Graduate Diploma in Vocal Performance in your personal statement. If your application is successful, you will be offered a place on the course that we feel best suits your needs.
Do not submit two applications, as you will be charged twice and will only have one audition.
Masters qualifications & study routes
The RCM's Masters programme for performers and composers offers two different study routes, which lead to different degree qualifications.
If you are not sure which Masters qualification is best for you, please only submit one application. We recommend applying for the Master of Music (MMus) initially, which has higher academic entry requirements. You are then welcome to discuss your options at your audition. You may be accepted on the MPerf/MComp route instead.
The study routes
The Master of Music (MMus) route augments MPerf/MComp study with two additional research-led modules, which are designed to train your critical, analytical and research skills, as well as your ability to express yourself verbally to a high level. Owing to the additional emphasis on research, the MMus is a more intensive undertaking that also requires an ability to speak and write confidently in English.
If you are offered a place on the MMus and, prior to beginning your studies, decide the MPerf/MComp better suits your interests, you can switch routes. You may also be able to transfer from the MMus to the MPerf/MComp route when you start the Masters Programme in September, although we recommended making a final decision before arriving at the RCM, especially if you require a Tier 4 to study in the UK.
Learning & teaching
Our Masters programme is designed to be flexible, ensuring you can undertake study directly relevant to your needs and aspirations. A variety of options helps every student develop their interests during their time at the RCM.
One-to-one lessons are at the very heart of every RCM student’s learning experience. The RCM’s impressive list of professors includes renowned instrumental and vocal soloists, distinguished repertoire and operatic coaches, prominent composers and conductors, plus principal players in major London orchestras such as the LSO, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Opera House Orchestra. Our world-class professors offer students, not only first-rate teaching, but also mentorship and networking opportunities.
All principal studies are delivered through a combination of one-to-one tuition complemented by performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, lessons from visiting professors, ensemble activities, seminars and lecture series as appropriate.
You will be taught by a team of world-class professors, many of whom hold principal positions in major ensembles and some of whom are the biggest names in their field. Contextual studies are taught by a range of academics, including those undertaking active research, who are regarded as experts in their disciplines. You may also be taught by external specialists and have the chance to learn with visiting artists.
The staff listed below oversee important areas of learning and teaching on our Masters programme.
Head of Postgraduate Programmes
Head of Brass
Head of Composition
Head of Conducting
Head of Historical Performance
Head of Keyboard
Head of Percussion
Head of Strings
Head of Vocal & Opera
Head of Woodwind
Area Leader in MMus Performance
Area Leader in MComp/MMus in Composition
Area Leader in Composition for Screen
Area Leader in MSc in Performance Science
Area Leader in Music Education
Collaborative Piano Co-ordinator
Contemporary Piano Co-ordinator
The relationship with your one-to-one teacher will be one of the most important during your studies. For a full list of one-to-one teaching staff in your area of study, please refer to our individual faculties.
Contextual studes & academic teaching
A wide range of staff provide tuition in contextual and other academic studies.
From the very beginning of the course you will be able to draw on exceptional resources and opportunities, such as the RCM Library, the Centre for Performance Science, Creative Careers Centre and RCM Sparks – our outreach and education programme.
RCM students enjoy a wide variety of performance opportunities including orchestral and choral projects, chamber music and solo opportunities, performance in jazz and historical instrument ensembles. The RCM runs a busy events calendar more than 500 events every year, the vast majority of which feature RCM students.
Faculty-based performance activities include chamber music and duo performance coaching, orchestral training, performance classes, acting and language classes (for singers), music technology (for composers), reed making (for double reed players) and improvisation (for organists).
Composition at the RCM fosters partnerships with the College's large body of gifted instrumentalists. Composers will hear performances of their own works in a variety of contexts and have the opportunity to benefit from a range of collaborations, which we host regularly with artistic organisations in London and beyond.
We continually invest in our facilities to ensure RCM students have the very best opportunities. Our impressive performance spaces are matched by top-quality academic and technical provisions, such as our historic library and professional grade studios. The Royal College of Music is proud to offer some of the finest facilities anywhere in the world.
The RCM’s largest performance spaces are the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, which has an illustrious history, and the 400-seat Britten Theatre, which boasts excellent technical facilities for the RCM’s thriving International Opera School. In addition, more intimate spaces include The Parry Rooms, which have unparalleled views of the Royal Albert Hall, and our 100-seat Recital Hall.
As well as practice rooms and space for one-to-one and group teaching, the RCM contains dedicated opera rehearsal spaces, 11 Amadeus Music Pods and organ rooms. We have over 140 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, instrument storage with special facilities for harps and double basses, plus in-house instrument workshops.
RCM Studios is a top commercial-grade facility, equipped with the latest audio, video and composition technologies, supporting the RCM’s recording needs and enabling live broadcast of performances around the world.
The RCM Library contains more than 400,000 items of printed music, 9,000 CD recordings, extensive music literature, more than 400 music journals, plus an internationally renowned collection of original manuscripts (including examples from Mozart and Elgar) and early printed editions.
The RCM Museum holds more than 1,000 instruments dating from the late 15th century to the present day, some of which are the earliest known examples of their kind. The collection is a unique resource and many of the instruments can be studied or played by RCM students.
The public museum is currently closed for refurbishment, but its vital resources are still available to our students.
The RCM’s Creative Careers Centre, which is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians, provides an unparalleled service to current students and recent alumni. The dedicated team partners with leading consultants, reputable arts organisations and local communities, delivering unique career-building opportunities and a direct route to the music industry.
The work of the Creative Careers Centre allows students to discover their professional identity, gain hands-on experience and new skills, develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a fulfilling professional portfolio.
Extensive performance and teaching opportunities are available, as well as valuable guidance on CV and biography writing, concert programming, communication skills, project management, marketing and publicity, online promotion, financial matters and how to develop a business idea.
The RCM has a large number of student exchange opportunities with leading European, American, Japanese and Australian conservatories and universities. These provide RCM students with the opportunity to study abroad and students in other countries to benefit from a period of study with us in London.
The RCM is a member of the ERASMUS programme, a European Union initiative that promotes exchange of knowledge and learning throughout Europe. As a member, the RCM receives funding in order to offer financial support to those students who choose to go on a European exchange while they are registered at the RCM.
Masters students who choose to take part in exchange programmes go abroad in the Autumn term of their second year of study.
All offers for performers are made on the basis of their performance at audition.
Candidates require an undergraduate degree or an equivalent international qualification, usually in music.
The RCM welcomes applicants from all backgrounds and alternative qualifications may be considered. If your qualifications are not listed here, please contact our Admissions team, who will be happy to discuss your suitability for the programme.
English language requirements
All applicants must be able to demonstrate that their level of English language ability meets the Royal College of Music’s minimum requirements in order for their application to be accepted.
If you require a visa to study at the RCM, you must meet the English language requirements before the RCM is permitted to sponsor your visa application.
How to apply
The application deadline is 1 October 2019 for most audition locations. Some overseas audition venues have later application deadlines.
All applicants (including international applicants) should apply online through the UCAS Conservatoires admissions service, where you can apply simultaneously to all the institutions that are members of Conservatoires UK. You can track your application, find out when your audition is and get the results of your audition all on UCAS Conservatoires. You can also confirm your decisions online.
Applicants interested in second study are reminded to submit only one application. If you submit two applications you will be charged twice.
All application fees are paid online through UCAS conservatoires.
UCAS Conservatoires application fees
Using UCAS Conservatoires incurs a £25 administration fee. This is in addition to our application fees. You cannot use another system. Both the application and administration fees are paid online through UCAS Conservatoires. If you encounter any problems with their payment system please contact their support team.
All late applications are subject to an additional fee of £10.
If you change your mind about applying, you can contact UCAS Conservatoires to cancel and request a refund. To be entitled to a refund you must cancel within 14 days of the date you submitted your application. You can find further details about how to do this, and also information about amending your application details, on the UCAS Conservatoires website.
The Royal College of Music holds auditions in London, Asia and the USA. Auditions for all courses and all principal studies can be undertaken in London. Auditions for most courses and principal studies can also be undertaken in Asia and the USA. In some cases, candidates may be able to apply by recording instead.
Application deadlines, application fees, audition dates and the availability of RCM accompanists varies between locations.
Most auditions last approximately 20 minutes, but there are exceptions for some specialisms and at some venues. You can find out how long your audition will be by reading the full set of requirements for your chosen discipline(s).
Audition requirements are set by each faculty. Further information can be found by following the links below.
Conducting audition requirements (postgraduate level only)
If you have any questions about studying at the RCM or about the admissions process please contact our Admissions team, who will be happy to help you.
Admissions and general audition enquiries