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Master of Performance

UCAS code

Brass: 809F
Composition: 701F
Historical Performance: 702F
Keyboard: 812F
Percussion 710F
Strings: 704F
Vocal: 850F
Woodwind: 801F

Start date

September 2021

End date

July 2023

Duration

2 years full-time or 3 years part-time (part-time study is not available to vocalists)

Masters qualifications & study routes Learning & teaching Opportunities Entry requirements How to apply Enquiries
RCM horn player in rehearsal
The Royal College of Music offers a diverse Masters programme with multiple study routes, which allow students to work towards the qualification most suited to their needs. Working towards the Master of Performance (MPerf) qualification will develop your performance skills to a professional level through a range of intensive training and varied performance opportunities.

UCAS code

Brass: 809F
Composition: 701F
Historical Performance: 702F
Keyboard: 812F
Percussion 710F
Strings: 704F
Vocal: 850F
Woodwind: 801F

Start date

September 2021

End date

July 2023

Duration

2 years full-time or 3 years part-time (part-time study is not available to vocalists)

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. 

The MPerf qualification can also provide the basis for further artistic development through the RCM’s Level 8 Artist Diplomas in Performance or Opera.

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 (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 Performance (MPerf) and Master of Composition (MComp) route develops your performance or composition skills to a high professional level through intensive training.

The  (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.

New students

The information on this page is for people applying to start courses in September 2021. If you have recently started at the RCM, please view our FAQs below regarding the current coronavirus situation or contact our friendly admissions team at admissions@rcm.ac.uk with any questions. 

Guidance for students

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

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.

Course outline

RCM Masters programme at a glance

Taught Masters Programmes Regulations

Term dates 2017-2024

Royal College of Music courses are internationally recognised as full degree courses with successful students awarded their qualifications under the RCM's Royal Charter.

Part-time study

The RCM welcomes applications from students wishing to study on a part-time basis. For part-time study, the equivalent 240 credits are studied over three academic years. Optional modules can be selected to complement other professional endeavours and developmental goals, alongside Principal Study performance and the full range of performance opportunities and faculty-based activities. Part-time applicants should apply for the programme as for full-time study and advise the RCM Admissions team of their intention to study on a part-time basis. Entry requirements for part-time applicants are as for full-time study. 

Key staff

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

Dr Natasha Loges

Head of Brass

Nigel Black

Head of Composition

William Mival

Head of Conducting

Toby Purser

Head of Historical Performance

Professor Ashley Solomon

Head of Keyboard

Professor Vanessa Latarche

Head of Percussion

David Hockings

Head of Strings

Mark Messenger

Head of Vocal & Opera

Nicholas Sears

Head of Woodwind

Simon Channing

Area Leader in MMus Performance

Dr Ingrid Pearson

Area Leader in MComp/MMus in Composition

Dr Jonathan Cole

Area Leader in Composition for Screen

Dr Dimitri Scarlato

Area Leader in MSc in Performance Science

Dr Rosie Perkins

Area Leader in Music Education

Dr Mary Stakelum

Collaborative Piano Co-ordinator

Simon Lepper

Contemporary Piano Co-ordinator

Andrew Zolinsky

One-to-one teaching

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.

See our faculties

Contextual studes & academic teaching

A wide range of staff provide tuition in contextual and other academic studies.

Opportunities

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 ScienceCreative Careers Centre and RCM Sparks – our outreach and education programme.

Performance opportunities

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 of 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.

Find out more

Facilities

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 has three major performance spaces. The Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall which has an illustrious history and is the primary performance venue for RCM orchestras and large ensembles. Our 400-seat Britten Theatre boasts excellent technical facilities for the RCM’s thriving International Opera School. The Performance Hall offers an alternative space for ensemble performances and orchestral rehearsals, and boasts a retractable stage, comprehensive technical infrastructure and variable acoustics, providing versatility for the range of events staged by the College.   

In addition, more intimate spaces for solo and chamber performance include the Performance Studio and 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, a number of sound-proofed Amadeus Music Pods and organ rooms. We have over 160 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 commercial-grade facility, equipped with professional 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 scores, books and recordings in its lending collection, plus access to more than 400 music journals. The library also subscribes to many online resources including Oxford Music Online, Naxos Music Library, JSTOR, Met Online and the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall. In addition, the RCM also boasts an internationally renowned collection of original manuscripts (including examples from Mozart and Elgar) early printed editions and archives.

The RCM Museum holds more than 15,000 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 in the collection 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. 

Career development

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.

Find out more

Study abroad

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.

Find out more

Course reviews

RCM courses are reviewed annually in response to student and examiner feedback, which sometimes results in minor changes, such as the availability of particular modules. A more thorough review is undertaken every five to six years, after which more substantial changes may be made while maintaining the ethos that underpins the course. Our review process is part of the RCM’s continued commitment to provide the best possible education and music training. The information provided here reflects the official course outline as it currently stands. In the event of alterations following a review, we will update this page as soon as possible.

Entry requirements

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.

Find out more

How to apply

The application deadline for UCAS Conservatoires has now passed for September 2021 entry (except for candidates who intended to audition in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York). Late applications may be accepted where places remain. Contact admissions@rcm.ac.uk to check availability before submitting a late application.

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.

Guidance on completing your application form is available on the UCAS Conservatoires website. As part of your application you will require two references: one practical (normally from your current principal study teacher) and one academic (normally from someone at your current/previous educational institution who can comment on your academic ability). You must enter your referees’ details into the application, and an automated e-mail will be sent to them requesting a reference. Only once your referees have responded will your application be forwarded to the RCM, so it is important to begin your application in good time. Further guidance is available from UCAS Conservatoires if you think your referees may not be able to provide a reference in time.

If you are a current RCM student applying for a postgraduate performance or composition course, we only require a practical reference as we can verify your academic record. To enable you to submit your application, for the academic reference, tick the option to submit an offline reference. You will still need to enter details of a referee, but ticking the box will enable you to submit your application without UCAS sending them a reference request. However, note that if you are also applying to other conservatoires, you are likely to need an academic reference too. 

All application fees are paid online through UCAS conservatoires.

Visit UCAS Conservatoires

UCAS Conservatoires application fees - 2021 entry

Using UCAS Conservatoires incurs a £26 application fee. This is in addition to our assessment fees. You cannot use another system. Both the application and assessment fees are paid online through UCAS Conservatoires. If you encounter any problems with their payment system please contact their support team.

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.

Auditions

Video auditions for 2021 entry

Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, the majority of our in-person auditions will now take place via video audition. No live auditions will take place at our overseas venues. This applies to all Principal Study specialisms, excluding second round conducting auditions, which we hope will still take place in person in the spring if government guidance allows.

Further information on deadlines and submission requirements for auditions by video recording can be found here.

All candidates will automatically be considered for scholarships on the basis of their audition, including those who audition by video.

If you already submitted a pre-screening video, this will be used as your video audition. You will not need to submit another video.

Video auditions are assessed on the basis of the video submission and UCAS Conservatoires application; there is no live interview or second round.

Find out more 

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.

Application deadlines, application fees, audition dates and the availability of RCM accompanists varies between locations.

Choosing where to audition

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).

Enquiries

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

Admissions and general audition enquiries

admissions@rcm.ac.uk