School of Music links with Royal Northern College of Music in a new digital project

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has received over £1m from the Higher Education Funding Council to fund a project to link with university music departments across England.

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has received £1.05 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Catalyst Fund to establish a significant digital project linking the College with university music departments and professional partners across England.

RNCM Ensemble+ will see the Manchester conservatoire connect to music departments at the Universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and York to share teaching (including research and student and professional artistic products such as performance and composition) via a number of digital initiatives.

The project aims to enhance student employability, widen participation in the Higher Education sector, and develop new teaching approaches, and will be supported by the BBC and School of Sound Recording.

Dr Larry Goves, Academic Lead for RNCM Ensemble+, said: ‘This is an exciting project for the College and we are extremely grateful to HEFCE for supporting it via this significant grant.

‘Over the next 12 months we’ll be transforming a traditional teaching space into a high spec studio that will offer fantastic opportunities for live interaction between staff and students at the RNCM and our partners institutions.’

Costing a total of £2 million, RNCM Ensemble+ will enable all partners to benefit from a host of digital initiatives, such as live streamed classes and workshops with visiting tutors, collaborative seminars providing scope for interactive contributions, ‘distance’ music-making for staff and students at all partner institutions, and professional recording sessions with support from the BBC (based at MediaCityUK) and School of Sound Recording. It will also widen participation across the north of England, offering ‘distance’ teaching opportunities to schools, colleges and music education hubs.

Yvonne Hawkins, HEFCE’s Director for Universities and Colleges, said: ‘HEFCE is pleased to support this initiative which will deliver new digital technologies and ways of working for students across higher education and with the employers. The benefits for students should be significant, both during their studies and in support of their future career and employability’.

Dr Goves concluded: ‘The possibilities for RNCM Ensemble+, once fully established, are endless. Offering shared access to classes, performance, research and networks via state-of-the-art digital technology is a significant step forward for the RNCM and ensures that we remain at the forefront of music education in the UK.’