RCM Sparks works in partnership with community schemes, charities, orchestras and venues on innovative and bespoke music projects.
Our partnership programme also aims to increase access to music making for local families and young people from less affluent backgrounds. RCM Sparks has particularly strong partnerships with the Tri-borough Music Hub and one of London’s most iconic venues, our neighbours, the Royal Albert Hall.
Tri-borough Music Hub
The Tri-borough Music Hub (TBMH) is the lead organisation overseeing the delivery of music education in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the City of Westminster. An award-winning organisation, TBMH is a centralised local authority that receives core funding from the Department for Education via Arts Council England, working with schools, pupils and the workforce.
The Royal College of Music works closely with TBMH and the Royal Albert Hall as strategic partners, helping to achieve the following aims:
- Engage all schools in the area, in order to reach all pupils and provide them with access to high-quality music education opportunities
- Raise standards and support musical progression for all pupils
- Ensure a broad range of outstanding musical opportunities for pupils, parents and the community
We plan our widening participation work based on a detailed understanding of the areas of need in the local area. Through this relationship with the TBMH, RCM Sparks has regular links with a number of state schools.
Supporting larger scale projects
Convo is an ambitious new work by emerging composer Charlotte Harding, commissioned by the Tri-borough Music Hub, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal College of Music. Convo will be the culmination of a two year project working with young people from throughout the Tri-borough area, who will contribute their ideas and creativity into the composition process, before being joined by more than 1,000 young instrumentalists and singers to give the world premiere performance. Convo will not only be a captivating performance event, but will also provide a conduit to champion the importance of music as a universal communicator and as a tool to give young people a voice.
We are very grateful to John Lyon’s Charity for their generous support of Convo.
See and hear more about Convo from the people involved, including RCM composer Charlotte Harding
Convo follows the success of Seven Seeds, a large scale performance of a newly commissioned vocal work involving 160 schools, more than 20 Royal College of Music students from and 150 music co-ordinators. In November 2015 Seven Seeds was awarded the prize for 'New Music' by the Music Education Council of Great Britiain (MEC) and shortlisted for the 'Best Classical Music Education Initiative'.
Royal Albert Hall
Since 2012, RCM Sparks and the Royal Albert Hall have worked in partnership to deliver an innovative community programme. The unique combination of education expertise and diverse concert programming means we can offer exciting and engaging activities while providing access to both iconic institutions.
All events are supported by musicians from the Royal College of Music and the Royal Albert Hall’s Albert’s Band. In addition to Get, Set, Play, Royal College of Music musicians also support the Royal Albert Hall’s series of rock & pop music workshops based around the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts. These workshops give teenage cancer sufferers the chance to work creatively and compose their own pop songs.
Get, Set, Play
Get, Set, Play, which involves the Tri-Borough Music Hub as well as RCM Sparks and the Royal Albert Hall, takes place in community centres in the local area. The programme will explore music from composer Sally Greaves' Groove n' Play series, providing a fun, intergenerational opportunity to explore first-access instruments such as ukulele, guitar, violin, keyboard, percussion and singing.
At the end of the programme children are offered a 'scholarship' scheme – subsidised music lessons or choir membership with the Tri-Borough Music Hub. Families who access the Get, Set, Play programme are also encouraged to continue their involvement in Sparks events by booking free access places for in-house Sparks events available via the Royal College of Music Box Office.
Turtle Song is a Turtle Key Arts, English Touring Opera and Royal College of Music partnership project which brings music, movement, and singing to people with memory problems and their carers.
Over the course of the project, participants write the lyrics and compose the music for their own song cycle with the help of an animateur, a composer, Royal College of Music students or a Royal College of Music ambassador. The piece is then performed and recorded on DVD so that it can be shared with family and friends.
Since the first Turtle Song at the Royal College of Music in 2008 it has been introduced in Cambridge, Wolverhampton, Dulwich, Suffolk, Oxford, Stockton-on-Tees, Leeds, Norwich, Reading, Newbury, Croydon, Hackney, York, Waddesdon Manor, Chester and Camden. There are now on average five held each year.
Turtle Song was recently featured in the BBC documentary Holding Back the Years.