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About RCM Sparks

Child playing flute at a Sparks Ignite event
RCM Sparks is the Royal College of Music's exciting learning and participation programme. We provide accessible learning pathways in music, engaging children from their early years to age 18, both at the RCM and in the wider community.

Strong partnerships with schools, communities and local institutions are key to our success. Music education can boost a child’s confidence and learning skills as well as their musical talent. RCM Sparks is committed to providing these opportunities to young people from all backgrounds, hosting public events for all and providing a targeted community programme in the local area.

We also train Royal College of Music students in the field of music education, developing a vibrant new generation of educators with relevant and meaningful practical experience.

71 live workshops

in person & online

In the 2019/20 academic year

Where we work and who we work with

We deliver a varied, engaging programme in schools and community settings in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the City of Westminster, as well as running a series of public events at the Royal College of Music. We work in strategic partnership with the Tri-borough Music Hub to recruit participants who may otherwise not engage, in particular:

  • Children, young people and families from low income-households/low socio-economic groups
  • Children and young people from underrepresented groups in higher education
  • Children and young people with disabilities

Based on self-reported data, approximately 55% of young people and families engaged in our community programme were from these groups in the 2017/18 academic year, increased from 49% in 2015/16 and 46% in 2016/17.

Free places and tickets

RCM Sparks wants to break down barriers that prevent people from accessing music education. We make a number of places and event tickets available for free to the following groups:

  • Children over the age of seven who are eligible for free school meals (whether claimed or not) and their families
  • 'Looked-after' children (ie children looked after by the local authority or in foster care) and their families
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic children/young people and families*
  • Participants who have Special Education Needs*
  • Families who live in social housing
  • Families who are eligible for housing benefit
  • Families who are eligible for family tax credit
  • Families/individuals who are eligible for disability benefit
  • Service families*
  • Families from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities*
  • Young carers and their families*
  • Refugee families/families with migrant status

*with a household income of less than £31,139.

If you any of these criteria apply to you please make sure to tell us at the point of booking. You may be asked to provide documentary evidence.