The Gap Year Experience Programme allows talented musicians to experience performance- or composition-focused conservatoire study at degree level. The programme mirrors year 1 of the RCM's Bachelor of Music (BMus) and offers a wide range of practical opportunities. On completion, students typically continue to the second year of the RCM’s BMus degree or opt to commence other degree level studies at a university.
UCAS code 100F
Start date September 2018
End date July 2019
Duration 1 year full-time
The Gap Year Experience Programme is the equivalent to year one of the BMus. The programme of study is arranged on an individual basis, according to instrumental and personal priorities and within an articulated credit structure, broadly following year one of the BMus(Hons) as a model.
The Gap Year Experience Programme is ideal for candidates who have deferred a place at a university and have not yet decided whether to undertake their studies in a conservatoire or a university environment. By studying on our Gap Year Experience Programme, you will discover the breadth of opportunities offered by the RCM and the dedication required to pursue a conservatoire degree. Applicants must be able to meet BMus entry requirements.
Places on the Gap Year Experience Programme are only offered to those who show high levels of ability, potential and motivation. Successful Experience Programme students are provided with a full transcript at the end of their studies, together with a certificate of study, and can attend the RCM Graduation Ceremony in July.
Suitable students can then transfer directly to the full BMus, joining the full undergraduate programme at year 2.
The RCM regrets that it is unable to offer the Gap Year Experience programme to students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.
Undergraduate study at the Royal College of Music balances high-level training in solo, chamber and ensemble performance with critical enquiry into music past and present. Students investigate music in context and how it operates in contemporary cultures. The RCM also provides a range of options for developing practical and applied skills.
The nature of your undergraduate experience at the RCM depends on your principal study specialism. In essence, it includes individual lessons with distinguished musicians; core units in historical, technical, practical, and vocational subjects delivered in small groups; and a variety of performances.
Our undergraduate programme is designed to be flexible, especially in years 3 and 4, ensuring you can undertake study directly relevant to your needs and aspirations. A variety of options helps every student develop their interests during their time at the RCM.
From the very beginning of the course you will be able to draw on exceptional resources and opportunities, such as the RCM Library, the Centre for Performance Science, Creative Careers Centre and RCM Sparks – our outreach and education programme.
Each module in the RCM's undergraduate programmes is assigned a level within the National Qualifications Framework.
Assessment for undergraduate students is grouped into subject, general and key skills. The assessment tasks within the RCM's undergraduate courses are varied, including technical assessments, performance exams, take-away assignments and practical assessments in performance or practical modules; unseen written exams, essays, individual and group presentations in academic or theoretical modules; and reflective diaries, workshops, and vivas in skills-based modules.
One-to-one lessons are at the very heart of every RCM student’s learning experience. The RCM’s impressive list of professors includes renowned instrumental and vocal soloists, distinguished repertoire and operatic coaches, prominent composers and conductors, plus principal players in major London orchestras such as the LSO, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Opera House Orchestra. Our world-class professors offer students, not only first-rate teaching, but also mentorship and networking opportunities.
All principal studies are delivered through a combination of one-to-one tuition complemented by performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, lessons from visiting professors, ensemble activities, seminars and lecture series as appropriate.
RCM students enjoy a wide variety of performance opportunities including orchestral and choral projects, chamber music and solo opportunities, performance in jazz and historical instrument ensembles. The RCM runs a busy events calendar more than 500 events every year, the vast majority of which feature RCM students.
Faculty-based performance activities include chamber music and duo performance coaching, orchestral training, performance classes, acting and language classes (for singers), music technology (for composers), reed making (for double reed players) and improvisation (for organists).
Composition at the RCM fosters partnerships with the College's large body of gifted instrumentalists. Composers will hear performances of their own works in a variety of contexts and have the opportunity to benefit from a range of collaborations, which we host regularly with artistic organisations in London and beyond.
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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.
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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Please see the list of international qualifications below for details of qualifications that are commonly accepted by the RCM as equivalent to our UK entry requirements. This list is not exhaustive and other qualifications will be considered.
The RCM will verify the level of your qualification using the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC).
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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How to apply
You can submit your application for entry in 2018 to UCAS Conservatoires from mid-July 2017. Through 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.
All application fees are paid online through UCAS conservatoires.
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.
The Royal College of Music holds auditions in London, Asia and the USA. Auditions for all courses and all principal studies can be undertaken in London. Auditions for most courses and principal studies can also be undertaken in Asia and the USA. In some cases, candidates may be able to apply by recording instead.
Application deadlines, application fees, audition dates and the availability of RCM accompanists varies between locations.
Choosing where to audition
Most auditions last approximately 20 minutes, but there are exceptions for some specialisms and at some venues. You can find out how long your audition will be by reading the full set of requirements for your chosen discipline(s).
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.