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Learning and Support

Students benefit from a wide range of tutorial support and mentorship throughout the course.

One-to-one composition lessons with specialist principal study tutors forms the central focus for tutorial support of each student’s individual development as a musician.

RWCMD’s impressive list of tutors includes renowned soloists and chamber musicians, distinguished coaches, prominent composers and conductors, creative artists in a variety of genres, plus principal players in major orchestras and ensembles. Our world-class tutors offer students not only first-rate teaching, but also mentorship and networking opportunities.

In addition to this, students have termly tutorials with their Head of Study, who provides support in a pastoral capacity and ensures that wellbeing and engagement is maintained across all aspects of their studies.

This is supplemented by individual tutorials with a year tutor who will support students in the development of a personal, reflective e-portfolio to chart their progress and artistic development across the course. Students will use these meetings to reflect on specific aspects of their personal and artistic development, to inform individual creative trajectories. The e-portfolio forms an assessed element of the Principal Study 1, 2 and 3 modules.

The BMus Course Leader also offers individual tutorial opportunities to deal with issues or questions relating to specific aspects of academic work.

In the final year of study, many of the elective modules also include tutorial support and guidance from a module supervisor or specialist mentor. Final year students also have access to regular tutorial-style sessions with the Director of Music and Head of Music Performance, which provide a forum for discussion and advice in areas of particular interest as they consider their aspirations for professional development and future employment.

The BMus programme is delivered by an experienced teaching team, whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the course modules. The team includes senior academics, experienced professional practitioners, technical support staff and experts in learning support, with regular input from visiting artists of international reputation across all disciplines.

The training is modelled on patterns of professional practice and requires consistent levels of professional energy, motivation and contribution to the group processes, as well as sensitivity to the work of others. Attendance and punctuality are required to be in keeping with professional standards and expectations.

Individual tuition is extended and enhanced through a variety of teaching and learning methods, including group tuition, plenaries, practical classes, workshops, studio sessions, lectures, seminars, group projects and work experience.

Outside of teaching hours, students are expected to establish an intensive daily creative practice regime. The College’s composition rooms are available to book online and you will receive individual support from your tutors in the development and maintenance of healthy and sustainable strategies aimed at maximising the effectiveness of your independent creative practice.

Independent study will also include self-directed research, listening and written work as well as preparation for presentations, projects and assessments.

As a guide, students should expect a total workload of at least 40 hours per week including individual tuition, departmental classes, seminars and lectures, individual creative practice, ensemble rehearsals, performance projects, independent study and attendance at concerts and events.

First Year Induction Programme

In addition to the formal registration procedures (including sessions which highlight key services, learning resources and signpost to help available from relevant staff), induction activities include an extended period of cross-College, departmental and year-group orientation and initial meetings with music staff, senior management, current students and support staff.

During this period, students will normally be introduced to their Head of Study, principal study tutor and department and an intensive performance project in the first few weeks introduces opportunities for students to make connections and work collaboratively.

Students will also attend an initial series of talks providing insights into the professional nature of their studies covering working ethos and expectations, safety, respect and consent. This will be supported by further sessions covering mental health, wellbeing and the transition to college life and studies.

Additional Support and Learning Resources

The College has a dedicated Student Support Manager, who leads a team of staff providing specialist, confidential and professional advice to support students with health conditions, disabilities and a full range of additional learning needs. The Student Services team can co-ordinate a range of practical support to ensure that students are able to successfully commence studies at RWCMD, progress through their course, and graduate successfully. This includes assistance in applying for Disabled Students Allowance, arranging needs assessments, and developing Individual Support Plans, which may include additional specialist tutorial support for students with specific learning difficulties. In addition, the team provides a support and referral service in all areas relating to the well-being of students including access to a free, confidential Counselling Service.

The Library’s collections hold more than 50,000 items including books, journals, newspapers, play scripts, scores, orchestral sets and audio-visual material. It is also the home of the UK’s largest lending collection of play sets. The Library also provides access to online resources, including databases of thousands of audio and video recordings of classical and jazz music, and leading contemporary theatre productions.

Feedback and Assessment

Extensive and ongoing formative assessment lies at the heart of learning within the course, and we see it as a fundamental and integral part of developing specialist skills in the pursuit of excellence in all areas of development. There are very many points at which formative verbal and/or written feedback is given within all practical modules as well as opportunities for formative feedback embedded within professional studies modules. This is integrated into the learning processes and students quickly become accustomed to this form of ongoing ‘dialogue’ as a central part of their development.

The criteria for formal, summative assessments are module specific. Core modules in years one to three are assessed as follows:


  • Portfolio of compositions

  • Personal e-portfolio

  • Technical assessment


  • Harmony exercises, aural perception, ear tests

  • Attendance and participation in choral training and movement-based classes


  • Essays

  • Individual/group presentations


  • E-portfolios: including recordings of musical performances/workshops/teaching practice with supporting materials and critical commentary/evaluations


Depending on Principal Study area, students will undertake a range of assessments from:

  • Original orchestration/recording

  • Original collaborative project output

  • Critical reflective work

  • Tutor report

Year three elective module options are assessed using a variety of module-specific methods aligned closely to real-world outcomes for each module focus including essays, portfolios, research outputs, presentations, researched performances, blogs, project pitches, peer review vivas, recordings, practical assessments, continuous assessments, reflective journals and critiques.

In the final year, between 40 and 80 of the 120 credits must be made up of Principal Pathway modules including a Major Portfolio of Compositions (40 credits) or Portfolio of Compositions (20 credits). Marks for these modules are assessed based on practical work, original compositions, recordings, written critical analyses and formal discussion of creative process and aesthetics.

The Professional Pathway modules are assessed using a variety of module-specific methods including essays, presentations, project portfolios, creative portfolios, professional application portfolios, recordings, public presentations, reflective accounts, project proposals and written and digital media.

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