Master of Science in Performance Science

RCM horn player in rehearsal
The Master of Science (MSc) in Performance Science is an internationally distinctive programme, providing opportunities to examine the art and science of performance in real-world educational and professional contexts. The programme encourages students to engage with key facets of peak performance, musicians’ health and wellbeing, musical development, and effective learning and teaching.

Overview


UCAS code (1 year)
 706F
UCAS code (2 years) 700P
Start date September 2018
Duration 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time



Drawing on the expertise and facilities of the Centre for Performance Science, as well as the lively performance environment of the RCM and of London, the MSc in Performance Science will benefit anyone who is motivated to gain a scientific understanding of how music is created, learned, performed and perceived, including performers and teachers aiming to progress their current careers through continuing professional development.

Equally, it serves as an ideal base for those wishing to pursue doctoral research and/or teaching in performance science, music psychology or musicians’ health, or in any area in which knowledge of scientific methods and techniques would be an advantage. 

The programme is taught through a series of seminars and tutorials organised around core study modules.

Royal College of Music courses are internationally recognised as full degree courses with succesful students awarded their qualifications under the RCM's Royal Charter.

Introduction to the RCM's Master of Science degree

Students and staff discuss the wide variety of experiences and opportunities afforded by the Centre for Performance Science and the supportive atmosphere on the MSc course

Facilities

We continually invest in our facilities to ensure RCM students have the very best opportunities. Our impressive performance spaces are matched by top-quality academic and technical provisions, such as our historic library and professional grade studios. The Royal College of Music is proud to offer some of the finest facilities anywhere in the world.

The RCM’s largest performance spaces are the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, which has an illustrious history, and the 400-seat Britten Theatre, which boasts excellent technical facilities for the RCM’s thriving International Opera School. In addition, more intimate spaces include The Parry Rooms, which have unparalleled views of the Royal Albert Hall, and our 100-seat Recital Hall.

As well as practice rooms and space for one-to-one and group teaching, the RCM contains dedicated opera rehearsal spaces, 11 Amadeus Music Pods and organ rooms. We have over 140 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, instrument storage with special facilities for harps and double basses, plus in-house instrument workshops.

RCM Studios is a top commercial-grade facility, equipped with the latest audio, video and composition technologies, supporting the RCM’s recording needs and enabling live broadcast of performances around the world.

The RCM Library contains more than 400,000 items of printed music, 9,000 CD recordings, extensive music literature, more than 400 music journals, plus an internationally renowned collection of original manuscripts (including examples from Mozart and Elgar) and early printed editions.

The RCM Museum holds more than 1,000 instruments dating from the late 15th century to the present day, some of which are the earliest known examples of their kind. The collection is a unique resource and many of the instruments can be studied or played by RCM students.

The public museum is currently closed for refurbishment, but its vital resources are still available to our students. 

Career development

The RCM’s Creative Careers Centre, which is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians, provides an unparalleled service to current students and recent alumni. The dedicated team partners with leading consultants, reputable arts organisations and local communities, delivering unique career-building opportunities and a direct route to the music industry.

The work of the Creative Careers Centre allows students to discover their professional identity, gain hands-on experience and new skills, develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a fulfilling professional portfolio.

Extensive performance and teaching opportunities are available, as well as valuable guidance on CV and biography writing, concert programming, communication skills, project management, marketing and publicity, online promotion, financial matters and how to develop a business idea.

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A student writing

Entry requirements

Candidates normally require an undergraduate degree with a 2:1 class or above (or equivalent international qualification) in music, another performing art, or a subject related to performance science, such as education, psychology, sociology, or biology.

The RCM welcomes applicants from all backgrounds and alternative qualifications may be considered. If your qualifications are not listed here, please contact our Admissions team, who will be happy to discuss your suitability for the programme.

English language requirements

All applicants must be able to demonstrate that their level of English language ability meets the Royal College of Music’s minimum requirements in order for their application to be accepted.

If you require a visa to study at the RCM, you must meet the English language requirements before the RCM is permitted to sponsor your visa application.

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RCM students sitting on the steps of the Royal Albert Hall in front of the Royal College of Music

How to apply

You can submit your application for entry in 2018 to UCAS Conservatoires from mid-July 2017Through UCAS Conservatoires you can apply simultaneously to all the institutions that are members of Conservatoires UK. You can track your application, find out when your audition is and get the results of your audition all on UCAS Conservatoires. You can also confirm your decisions online.

Applicants interested in second study, joint principal study or alternative study are reminded to submit only one application. If you submit two applications you will be charged twice.

Candidates are required to pay an application fee of £50. All application fees are paid online through UCAS conservatoires.

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UCAS Conservatoires application fees

Using UCAS Conservatoires incurs a £24 administration fee. This is in addition to the application fees listed below. You cannot use another system. Both the application and administration fees are paid online through UCAS Conservatoires. If you encounter any problems with their payment system please contact their support team.

All late applications are subject to an additional fee of £10.

If you change your mind about applying, you can contact UCAS Conservatoires to cancel and request a refund. To be entitled to a refund you must cancel within 14 days of the date you submitted your application. You can find further details about how to do this, and also information about amending your application details, on the UCAS Conservatoires website.

Interviews

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview in London. We do not offer interviews for the MSc in Performance Science at our international audition venues; however, we may exceptionally over a video interview.

Interviews will be held in January.

We appreciate that some candidates may not have prior experience in all areas covered on the programme; however, we expect applicants to be familiar with some of the performance science literature, as well as concepts in empirical research.

Suggested Reading

Clarke E, Dibben N, & Pitts S (2009), Music and Mind in Everyday Life, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780198525578. (See OUP.)

McPherson GE (2006), The Child as Musician, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780198530329. (See OUP.) 

Parncutt R & McPherson GE (2002), The Science and Psychology of Music Performance, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195138108. (See OUP.)

Williamon A (ed.) (2004), Musical Excellence, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780198525356. (See OUP.)

Enquiries

If you have any questions about studying at the RCM or about the admissions process please contact our Admissions team, who will be happy to help you.

Admissions team

Admissions and general audition enquiries

admissions@rcm.ac.uk