The Royal College of Music has used the symbolic start of building works for its improvements to facilities, to highlight reaching 60% of its £40 million fundraising target.
The RCM’s More Music is searching for an additional £16 million from private donors which, when combined with the college’s investment of £40m, will see a tidy total of £80m used for scholarships and bursaries, improved teaching and digital innovation, and – most tangibly – for enhanced buildings and facilities.
The architect’s 3D-modelling appears to transform a building which is at present quite pokey into something more befitting a world-renowned learning centre.
Yesterday’s announcement reveals a future plan which strikes me as so sensible I’m amazed no-one has thought of it before now: ‘acoustically treated bedrooms’.
Why fork out money to create additional practise rooms to meet demand of the college’s 840-strong student population, when a more valuable investment might be transforming some of the student’s living accommodation to make it multi-purpose?
I also really like the introduction of two additional performance spaces at the RCM, giving the public access to a greater number of concerts, recitals, masterclasses and rehearsals. As a classical music consumer the prospect of having greater access is something that really entices me – the opportunity to observe more talent-creation up-close.
The reality of music education is underlined by a fact printed in the RCM’s fundraising pack. “Over 50% of students benefit from financial support from an array of scholarships”. That surprises me a bit. It saddens me too, reminding me of the extent to which the higher music education (and music education as a whole) has been squeezed by austerity.
That the RCM are fundraising to support its investment in bursaries and scholarships demonstrates how difficult it is for future young UK talent to have their potential protected.
Read more about the Royal College of Music More Music Campaign.