RCM Online Teaching Service
Learn an instrument at home with the RCM
Lessons are online so that you can enjoy music-making from the safety and convenience of your own home.
Our teachers are RCM students and recent graduates who have been through a rigorous application process and have received training at our world-class conservatoire.
The RCM Online Teaching Service is coordinated by the Royal College of Music’s Creative Careers Centre, which is a leading centre for career development in musicians.
How do online music lessons work?
Through the innovative use of technology, online lessons can be delivered in a similar fashion to in-person lessons.
Before your first lesson:
The teacher will discuss with you a suitable platform for the lessons.
Popular platforms include: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and many more.
They may suggest a test call to check the connection and offer advice on ensuring lessons can be delivered smoothly.
Think about where the lessons will take place - being near your internet router will ensure the most reliable connection.
Online lessons do not require an extensive technology setup:
Phones and tablets work well for most people.
- Optimised apps for mobile devices provide a stable and comprehensive experience for online lessons.
- Cloud file sharing solutions mean sharing teaching materials and exchanging recordings is easier than ever.
- If using a computer, USB webcams and microphones are relatively inexpensive and very easy to operate.
A wired connection to the internet will typically provide the most reliable experience.
Powerline adaptors can be a useful solution if you are in a different room to your router.
Difference between online lessons and in-person lessons
Online lessons are an effective and viable alternative to in-person lessons with few adjustments needed to make them a success.
Playing together needs to be approached differently
- The teacher may use recordings or backing tracks when teaching repertoire - removing the issue of delays.
- Alternative teaching techniques may also be utilised to ensure that learning progresses as normal.
- Teaching materials will be shared in advance of lessons and may need printing out/made available before the lesson.
- The sound quality of instruments may change depending on your internet connection.
- Your teacher may ask for recordings to ensure that they can hear everything.
- Cloud file sharing solutions make this process simple and quick.
- Through the recording of lessons and online note sharing, providing feedback and suggestions for private practice is easier than ever.
Duration of lessons
You will be asked in your application to indicate your preferred lesson duration. This should be reviewed with your teacher at the first lesson to ensure the duration is appropriate for the age and ability of the pupil. Note that lesson fees are charged according to the length of each session.
‘It has been an incredibly positive experience to continue music-making, even when circumstances force us to be apart.’
‘I record myself playing all homework exercises and pieces...the student can then practise to the recordings...it is working really well for both of us!’
Who is the RCM Online Teaching Service for?
Anyone who would like to improve their instrumental, vocal, composition or theory skills within the classical sphere is invited to try online lessons with the RCM. It is unlikely that we will be able to find someone to coach you in a rock, pop or jazz style.
The Online Teaching Service is open to everyone regardless of age or ability.
Due to our teachers' availability, we are currently only providing lessons for English-speaking individuals.
Online teaching for children and vulnerable adults
While we make every effort to source teachers that match your requirements, it is your responsibility to make your own judgement on whether the teacher is suitable. Not all of our teachers have undergone a DBS check.
It is rarely possible for us to provide instrumental or vocal teaching to children below the age of five. This is due to the nature of the work and the experience needed to teach young children to a standard we deem to be of sufficient quality. However, RCM Sparks provides a number of workshops and events for groups of families and young children, some of which may be of interest to you.
If you are using the RCM Online Teaching Service to source a teacher for a child or vulnerable adult who requires adult supervision in their lessons, it is your responsibility as the employer of the teacher to ensure that such supervision is provided.
Recording of lessons may be suggested by the teacher for the purposes of private practice and/or safeguarding. Any recordings made would be agreed between both parties for practice/archive purposes only with sharing on social media/other online platforms strictly prohibited.
I’m a parent – can I be involved in my child’s online music lessons?
Of course! Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in their child’s music lessons. You may wish to sit in on the lesson so you can better understand what is expected during private practice. Alternatively, you could choose to learn alongside your child so you can explore music together.
Our teachers are happy to discuss this with you as your child progresses, and even schedule extra lessons for yourself should you so wish.
How much does it cost to receive online musical tuition from the RCM?
There are two main fees payable:
- Your application fee, which covers use of the RCM Online Teaching Service to find a teacher for you.
- The fees for individual lessons.
Application fee for the RCM Online Teaching Service
We charge an application fee of £48 (including VAT).
Your application fee will be charged once the date and time of the first lesson have been arranged. This must be paid at least 48 hours before the first lesson is due to take place. Once we have introduced you to your teacher, you should organise any subsequent lessons with them directly.
- If the application fee is late, your first lesson will be postponed and rearranged once the fee is paid.
- If you cancel your first lesson after it has been confirmed you will still be liable for the application fee.
- If you would like to engage a second teacher you will be asked to pay another, reduced application fee of £24 (including VAT). If three separate teachers are required the subsequent application fee will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
- We will supply a replacement teacher at no extra charge if lessons with your original teacher do not prove suitable. This offer is valid for up to three months after the first lesson with the initial teacher. If you request a replacement teacher after the three-month window you will have to make a new application and will be liable to pay the full application fee of £48 (including VAT) again. Please note that in the majority of cases you will still need to pay your first lesson teacher for their time, as well as paying any subsequent teachers.
Rates for online lessons
The RCM Online Teaching Service has fixed lesson rates charged according to the length of the lesson.
- 30 minutes: £25
- 45 minutes: £30
- One hour: £35
These rates pertain to one teacher per pupil.
Payment for the first lesson must be made in advance of the lesson taking place. As a guide, it is recommended that this occurs at least 24 hours before the lesson where possible to ensure payment is received in good time.
Future payment of lessons can be discussed between yourself and the teacher. Options may include:
- Pay as you go – pay for each lesson as and when it is arranged. This allows for flexibility if your schedule does not allow for regular lessons.
- Block payments – this can be useful for organising a block of lessons over a period of time. It also helps reduce the hassle of setting up regular payments.
- Invoicing – teachers will be happy to provide invoices for lessons given to allow for clear and concise summaries of lessons received.
Your teacher will be happy to talk you through different payment options in line with any teaching agreements used. See below for an example of a teaching agreement.
Alternatively, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions about lesson payments.
Apply to the RCM Online Teaching Service
To apply for online musical tuition with the RCM, please click the button below.
Once we’ve received your application, we will match you with the most suitable teacher for your needs.
Please remember that we charge an application fee for using the RCM Online Teaching Service.
If you choose to postpone your application before your application fee has been processed you have one month to confirm that you wish to proceed with the application, after which we will assume your application has been cancelled.
Find out more
If you would like to find out more about the RCM Online Teaching Service, please contact our friendly team, who will be happy to explain more about the service and answer your questions.
RCM Online Teaching Service