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Junior Department cellists in an orchestra rehearsal
Here are some of the questions we get asked most frequently. However, if you can't find the answer to your question here, please do contact us. 

RCM Junior Department

General enquiries

+44(0)20 7591 4334 (11am-3pm Tues to Fri)

Do you have open days?

Yes we do - though we call them visit days. Visit days are an informal arrangement and are available on a first-come first-served basis on any one of four selected term-time Saturdays in the Autumn and Spring terms. For dates, how to book, and information about what you can expect to see, click here.

How amazing do I have to be?

Entry is competitive and every young musician is different so this is a tough question. However, we’ve provided some guidance here. If appropriate, ask your teacher as they will have the best idea of how you’re doing as a musician. Alternatively, come and visit us and decide for yourself!

Can I stay with my current teacher?

All students are expected to study with a Junior Department teacher. Students are only allowed to have lessons with a non-JD teacher in exceptional circumstances; for example, if the teacher is already known to the RCM or if they are currently teaching in a conservatoire. If you believe that your circumstances are exceptional, please explain this in writing and include the letter with your application to audition for the Junior Department.

I’m not sure I can afford it. Is there any financial help available?

It is our aim that students who are successful at audition should not be unreasonably prevented from coming to RCMJD by financial hardship. Please see the Fees & Bursaries section for more information.

I don’t play the piano either as a first or second instrument. Does that matter?

No, though we’d encourage you to take it up as keyboard skills are always useful to every musician.

I only play one instrument. Can I still come to RCMJD?

Of course! There are a number of studies where we might encourage you to play an additional instrument if you wanted to but it is not a requirement and will not compromise you at audition if you do not. Situations in which we might encourage a second instrument (depending on age and development) are:

First study pianists may be encouraged to play an alternative (orchestral) instrument so that they may take part in orchestras.

First study composers may be encouraged to play an instrument to allow them to take part in ensemble activities.

First study singers are particularly encouraged to learn piano.

I’m great at my first instrument but I’ve only just started my second instrument. Will this disadvantage me at audition?

Not at all! It’s potential we’re looking for, and it’s the first instrument we care most about so don’t let that worry you. Well done for being adventurous and trying something new!

I don’t read music and only play, sing or compose by ear. Can I still come to RCMJD?

Reading music is a very important skill for musicians of every style and level. If your playing, singing or composing is exciting and musical then it shouldn’t be a problem at audition, but we would expect you to learn to read music at the earliest opportunity, and be keen and hard working enough to do so.

I’m only little! Please may I do just half a day?

We do not offer a half-day curriculum as such. However, each student has an individually crafted timetable and we will of course try and give our youngest students as compact a day as possible

Isn’t this only for people who want to go on to study at a conservatoire?

Absolutely not! Whilst most of our students go on to study at conservatoire, or music at university, recent graduates of the RCMJD have gone on to a variety of different courses and careers such as engineering, languages, medicine and even rocket science! The aim of the RCMJD is that by the time you leave at the age of 18 you will be of a standard that allows you to apply successfully to study at conservatoire if you want to. Advice on what you do with your future is on hand every step of the way, and you will have a private interview with the Head of Junior Programmes when you are in Year 12 to discuss your career options.

I'll be coming a very long way. May I start later than 9am please?

Where possible, of course you can, though priority will be given to students coming the furthest. Our students come from all over the country - some even fly in from Ireland each Saturday - so as a general rule, we consider a 'very long way' away to be travelling time of about 2 hours or more.

May I choose which teacher I study with?

Teachers are allocated to successful students by the Head of Junior Programmes who has many years of experience in building the important relationship between individual-study teacher and student. You may express a preference on your application form and this will be taken in account, suitability and teaching-space permitting.

May I have a consultation lesson?

We do not arrange consultation lessons for applicants or those offered a place. If you have a specific teacher in mind, we may be able to give you their contact details in order to arrange a consultation privately.

Do you do summer courses?

The RCM Junior Department does not currently offer summer courses. However, the RCM's Learning and Participation team has a jam-packed programme of summer music making for all ages and abilities. If you're looking for more advanced training, Rhinegold publish a yearly guide 'Summer Schools' which might give you a few ideas.

Do you teach Jazz?

Yes! In fact, our Jazz Ensembles have played at the 606 Club as well as the world-famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. We offer specialist individual tuition in Jazz Saxophone and Jazz Piano and have two Jazz Ensembles as well as a Jazz Improvisation class. However, we would insist that budding young jazzers support their studies with classical tuition too.