Across two spaces, the RCM has constructed a world leading Performance Laboratory in which performance can be practised, trained, simulated, and studied.
The Centre for Performance Science (CPS) and RCM Digital have been awarded £1.9 million from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and World Class Laboratories Fund (WCL) to enable a major redevelopment of the Royal College of Music’s Performance Simulator facility, expanding its pioneering research in the arts as well as business, sport, medicine, education and creative practices.
The Performance Simulator facility is an integral part of the RCM and allows musicians to practise performance in real-world, dynamic performance conditions with reactive virtual audiences and audition panels. Since its launch in 2011, it has been used by RCM musicians to develop and refine skills in stage presence, communication and stress management, and to conduct valuable detailed post-performance analysis. The Performance Simulator has also been used as a training facility for performers in other fields, notably for public speaking, interviewing and business pitching. It has been used by a wide range of external performers, including athletes, tech executives, entrepreneurs and civil servants.
The AHRC investment has allowed the upgrade of the existing Performance Simulator to a state-of-the-art Performance Laboratory. Across two spaces, it features fully virtual recreations of iconic RCM venues built within a leading video game engine and featuring fully interactive audiences and audition panels. Via a Meyer Constellation acoustic system, it can change the acoustic of the venue at the touch of a button, and Steinway Spirio self-playing piano allows performers to capture and recreate performances in a variety of settings. A suite of research tools, from eye-tracking to motion capture, allows researchers to understand performance in real time.
In addition to being used across RCM activities the Performance Laboratory can be hired for bespoke training, with clients including the Imperial College Business School, Football Association, and the United Nations Development Programme.
To find out more about the original project that led to the Performance Laboratory, check out the Performance Simulator project.