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Royal Northern College of Music launch RNCM50 FUND to support Manchester’s young musicians

The Royal Northern College of Music is marking its 50th anniversary by launching an appeal dedicated to providing opportunities to under 18s

The world renowned conservatoire said it had made the grant available because of the reduction and decline in musical education in our schools.

In the last decade alone spending per pupil on this subject has fallen by 9%, the largest cut in over 40 years according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UK’s leading independent economics research institute.

They said it was having a huge impact on young people across the UK.

RNCM’s response is to use its 50th anniversary to highlight the issue and to establish a fund for under 18s.

The RNCM50 FUND will support young musicians ‘from the earliest moments’ aiming to break barriers in education and look to the future of music.

It launches alongside the RNCM Engage Appeal, which is focused on providing dedicated support to young musicians through a variety of initiatives.

Rhiannon McKay-SmithRNCM Director of Development says, It is wonderful to be celebrating the achievements of the RNCM, but it’s even more important to use our platform to support the next generation of young musicians.

“The reality is that music in schools was already suffering and with the added impact of Covid-19 this has created a tragic situation. Yet we all know what a powerful force music has on society. This is why we must act now before it’s too late.

Through our RNCM Engage programme, we are already helping thousands of young people as they explore their talent and love for music, and we are aspiring to increase the impact of this work through our anniversary activities and beyond.

“Our Engage Appeal will support all of the RNCM’s brilliant work with under 18s, providing access to a programme of world-class tuition and tailored support.”

The college now will focus on raising £60,000 as part of the RNCM Engage Appeal by January 2023. 

The funds will support young people in a number of different ways including the College’s Pathfinder programme for those facing financial, social and / or cultural barriers to their musical progression.

Subsidised lessons will be provided through Junior RNCM, the College’s weekly school for eight to 18-year-olds.

Children’s Opera will offer musical opportunities for local schools to create and perform an opera at the RNCM.

And there will be a newly launched Young Artists Saturday pop school where young people can write, produce and perform new music together.

Professor Jennie Henley, RNCM Director of Programmes saysTo be part of a young musician’s life is worth its weight in gold.

“The cruellest thing is to open a door for a young person and not give them the mechanism to go through.

“This is what we are here to do as a community at the RNCM and it is our responsibility to the future of the music profession that we do all that we can to support young people at this crucial time.”

Professor Henley recently published the results of a study seeking to identify the barriers to music and music education. Time for change? Recurrent barriers to music education concludes that after 20 years of policy initiatives, research and evaluation the same barriers still exist and that now is the time for change.

The RNCM said that this was something that they remain deeply passionate about changing.

They hope to make inroads through the RNCM Engage Appeal, to take forward a vision that sees young people explore, experience and enjoy music ‘unhindered’.

RNCM’s public performance programme over the next nine months will include lots of opportunities for young people to participate and discover all the many different possibilities a world of music offers.

During this time there will also be opportunities to support the RNCM50 Fund, from buying a ticket to a performance to attending the RNCM Fundraising Gala, which will take place in June 2023.

To make a donation to the RNCM Engage Appeal visit

To find out more about RNCM50 Fund and how you can help support the future of music visit


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