Royal College of Music

Degree level: Postgraduate
UCAS Conservatoires

Master of Performance (Conducting) (Taught)

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

The Royal College of Music offers a diverse two-year Masters programme with multiple study routes, which allow students to work towards the qualification most suited to their needs. Normally taken over two years, the Master of Performance (MPerf) develops performers’ practical skills, complemented by options which reflect current vocational and professional needs. Such skills are particularly relevant for those who aim to enter the profession as practitioners at the highest level and who need to meet the current practical demands of the music industry. The Royal College of Music’s two-year postgraduate course in orchestral conducting is designed to support students as they develop their own individual conducting style. From contemporary compositions to large symphony orchestra repertoire, recording sessions to rehearsals and concerts, you will be involved in all aspects of musical life at the RCM. A detailed programme of technical and repertoire study compliments a wealth of quality podium time, including public performances with full orchestra plus orchestral and sectional preparation for visiting international conductors. Conductors at the RCM have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, gaining an all-round understanding of the artistic, psychological, practical and business issues involved in making a career as an orchestral conductor. The RCM normally accepts just one or two students onto this course each year, ensuring that each student receives a highly bespoke programme of tuition. Professional engagement will be a key component of your experience as a conductor at the RCM. Industry professionals periodically meet with our students, providing valuable insights and career advice. In addition, visiting conductors of the highest calibre often work with RCM conducting students on preparing performances of key repertoire. Conducting students regularly rehearse and perform with our in-house ensembles, including the RCM Philharmonic, RCM Symphony Orchestra, and various new music ensembles. They often premiere new works by RCM composers working with the RCM New Perspectives ensemble or as part of our cutting-edge From the Soundhouse series. All of these public conducting opportunities are an integral part of the RCM’s annual programme of events. In addition, our students have directed RCM orchestras in external venues, including London’s Royal Festival Hall. Due to its specialist nature, this course is available on a full-time basis only and secondary specialisms are not available.

Course details

Principal study options

During the application and audition process, you must select which instrument(s) you wish to specialise in for the duration of your course. On this course, you can choose from the following options:

Single specialism

Only one instrument is studied. It may be possible to study a further instrument formatively, but this will not contribute towards the qualification.


For all courses, you must select at least one specialism from the 'primary' list. For those studying primary/secondary pathways, two instruments may be selected – one from the 'primary' list and one from the 'secondary' list. Joint pathway students may select any two instruments from either list.

Primary instrument/specialism

  • Conducting (Orchestral)


The RCM's conducting course is run by two conducting professors, each able to bring different but compatible approaches to teaching. From them, you will gain an all-round understanding of the artistic and practical issues involved in conducting. This, coupled with a detailed programme of repertoire study, will enable you to develop as a free-thinking individual equipped with the practical and theoretical skills necessary to progress in this complex and demanding discipline. In addition to podium time with the RCM Philharmonic, RCM Symphony Orchestra and various new music ensembles, students are encouraged to organise their own concerts and work with ensembles from across the RCM. Conducting students can lead orchestral and sectional preparations for visiting international conductors.

How to apply

This course is closed for the 2023 academic cycle. Please contact the provider or view the 2024 courses.

*If you are an international applicant, or you are applying for a postgraduate course, or are choosing certain assessment locations, the 'on time' deadline may be later in the year - please contact the conservatoire directly.

Application codes

Course code:
Institution code:
Campus name:
Main Site
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

The Royal College of Music has a long tradition of welcoming international students from all over the world. Our broad community of staff and students makes the RCM an exciting and diverse hub of musical activity. Almost half of our students are from outside the UK, studying at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Entry requirements

An undergraduate degree or an equivalent international qualification, usually in music.

Additional entry requirements


Details of audition requirements are available at


English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)5.5Score above refers to overall score. Additionally, a score of 5.5 is required in all components. Results must be within 2 years of course start date in order to be valid.
PTE Academic51Score above refers to overall score. Additionally, a score of 51 is required in all components. Results must be within 2 years of course start date in order to be valid.
Cambridge English AdvancedLevel B2Overall score of 160-179 and no less than 160 in any component.
Trinity ISEPassTrinity ISE II certificate. Must include a pass in all components.

Nationals of majority English speaking countries (as defined by the UK Home Office) are not required to provide proof of their level of English. Some other exceptions apply - please consult our website for details.

The RCM's English Language Requirements are available in full at this link:

Assessment locations

In the event of a successful assessment, applicants may be invited for a further interview prior to being made an offer.

Remote assessment recordings may be accepted in the event that you cannot attend an assessment in person.

Single specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee

Joint principal specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
LondonNot available at this location

Additional information

Conducting applications are assessed through a three-stage process. All applicants must submit an original video recording of a rehearsal or performance they have conducted in the last 12 months. For further details and to access the submission portal, please see Those applicants who are put through to the second stage will be invited to an online audition. A second shortlisting process will take place and selected candidates will be invited to participate in a further audition in London.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

Our tuition fees are still to be confirmed for 2022. More information can be found at

Sponsorship information

The RCM is able to support many students with scholarships thanks to the generosity of charitable trusts, companies, businesses, individual members of the public and legacies. Any student who auditions will automatically be considered for a scholarship or study award. There is no separate application process. Scholarships are awarded on merit based on performance at audition.

Master of Performance (Conducting) at Royal College of Music - UCAS