Open Academy for our students

Learning and participation initiatives such as education workshops, interactive children’s concerts and collaborative music projects are now an essential part of the work carried out by all UK orchestras, opera companies, festivals and concert venues. Indeed they play a huge role in the very identity of many organisations, often with principal players and leading artists shaping and guiding the programmes of work.

Skills and experience in working in this field are highly valued by employers. A young, relatively unknown ensemble who are able to approach a festival with a good biography, an exciting evening programme, and an afternoon workshop to engage with a wider audience, are attractive to today’s promoters. Similarly, composers, singers and jazz musicians are finding increasing amounts of their work, and career satisfaction, in engaging with people creatively, away from the concert platform.

What We Do

Throughout the year, we offer our students numerous opportunities to join some of the world’s most experienced music leaders in projects designed to engage and inspire participants from all backgrounds. From (examples) helping a class of Year 4 students explore Handel’s Water Music to producing a new work using improvisation with students from the Orpheus Centre, the Open Academy connects you to creative opportunities outside normal conservatoire activity.

Participating in and leading creative workshops challenges you to use your musical abilities in new ways. As an Academy student, you can learn from the best and create rewarding and educational events for any occasion. Open Academy works in partnership with several of London’s music services, and through taking part in projects, you will also have the opportunity to meet and network with them.

Creative Music Leadership

All undergraduates are given the opportunity to gain skills and experience in the field of learning and participation by taking electives in Creative Music Leadership. Postgraduates can explore work in this area as part of their professional portfolio by choosing our ‘Creative learning and Participation’ pathway, which is overseen by the Open Academy teaching staff.

Working with an experienced leader and partner organisation, you will devise and deliver professional education projects whilst receiving training ‘on the job’. Sessions with music leaders, performers, composers and teachers cover such topics as collaborative composition, improvisation, project planning, performing for new audiences and evaluation. 

Project partners include Wigmore Hall, Spitalfields Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, English Touring Opera and Glyndebourne Opera. Projects often take the opportunity to draw on the skills of the many eminent musicians who visit the Academy, including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Edward Gardner, Sir Mark Elder and Yan Pascal Tortelier.

You can spend more time exploring the diverse skills needed to become a skilled workshop musician by taking a specialist, hands-on ‘Advanced Creative Music Leadership’ option as an elective. 

‘The Creative Music Leadership course at the Academy was a revelation for me. It showed me ways in which I could use my musical abilities to contribute to society...whilst still seeking performing opportunities of the highest standard. I have been made a more versatile and employable musician by these courses. I am really excited about the ways in which I have developed.’ Adam, Academy alumnus


‘I stumbled across this work a few years ago, through the Open Academy at the Royal Academy of Music, at a time when I was feeling quite disconnected from music and it helped me to find a purpose and a different way to share my passion. Since then my focus has been to gain as much experience, working with as many different people from as many different backgrounds as possible, in order to share, explore and create music with anyone, anywhere. It is very easy to underestimate the impact this type of work can have on people and their lives.’ Hermione, Academy alumna