Principal’s welcome

Welcome by Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood CBE

I am regularly asked what is special about the Royal Academy of Music. Whilst one can reel off a number of internationally recognised qualities which have made it one of the world’s leading conservatoires, I often focus on the dynamic individuality which our exceptionally talented young musicians communicate advocacy and entrepreneurial purpose. From ‘period’ performance to many contemporary idioms — via an outstanding programme of solo, chamber, operatic and orchestral activity — Academy graduates have become a ‘known quantity’ for how they shape and influence the creative industries in which they work.

Yet however distinguished its past, students choose the Academy as a place to study for what’s on offer ‘here and now’ — the blend of practical, artistic, social and intellectual qualities which allow our graduates to make a durable impression on 21st-century life.

Tracking each Academy student’s ‘journey’ is extraordinarily exciting; it encourages those privileged to work here to question the quality and effectiveness of our work at every turn. We seek to realise the potential of each and every musician here, in what is a uniquely purposeful and inspiring community of musicians. We respect our significant traditions going back nearly 200 years, but we encourage students to ‘critique’ what’s already here and to challenge themselves, fellow students and staff, as each discovers the identity and skills to carry them into — and through — professional life.

There are no great secrets to how we achieve this. We constantly seek to employ the very best teachers. We plan our unrivalled Diary of Events to provide thrilling opportunities across the whole spectrum. Our study programmes ‘enfold’ the principal study in ways which provide an evolving menu of development skills — reflected in our strong careers’ profile and the special pride we take in witnessing students’ success in the very best professional circumstances. 

The atmosphere of any institution is always hard to pinpoint. But it’s generally accepted that the Academy is a wonderfully open, stimulating, supportive and friendly place — encouraging and pursuing the realisation of goals which instil confidence and allow its students both to ‘toughen up’ for the challenges ahead and ‘soften up’ to absorb the vast range of artistic influences which nurture an ever-more sympathetic and interesting musician.

The Academy does not offer one dogmatic ‘school’ of teaching. Finding the right teacher for you, and building appropriate opportunities around the focal point of great mentoring, is what makes the ethos of the Academy particularly appealing.

Do come and visit us at any time, whether at an Open Day, or dropping in on events to see a world-class roster of committed musician-teachers devoted to the Academy and its students. Talk to students and ask them what it’s really like here! You will always receive a warm welcome.