Developing Creative Careers
A Healthy Performer Case Study
The Royal College of Music’s Creative Careers Centre is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians in their occupational, financial, and social development and wellbeing, helping to pave the way to a successful lifelong career in music.
For performing artists, bridging the gap between student and professional life can represent a significant challenge. Developing the essential business skills needed to build and maintain a career in the sector can be daunting, especially when much of the focus of performing arts education is placed upon the development of a highly-specialised set of performance skills.
In order to build a successful lifelong career in the performing arts and nurture their occupational, financial, and social wellbeing, students also need to develop a range of entrepreneurial skills and to build a strong network of support in order to develop their careers and realise their aspirations.
The Creative Careers Centre (CCC) is the Royal College of Music’s flagship careers department. It offers bespoke career advice, guidance, referrals, resources, and a broad spectrum of professional opportunities to both students and alumni for up to five years after graduation. Services include weekly one-to-one career development sessions, job bulletins, and regular workshops led by industry specialists. Advice is offered on career planning and development, self-promotion, branding/identity, business and marketing, and funding support, with access provided to a wide variety of resources, professional opportunities, and industry contacts.
The CCC also gives RCM students opportunity to find paid work through its Teaching Service, which matches developing musicians with students of their own, and its Professional Engagement Service, which secures paid performance opportunities with external organisations and members of the public including high-profile events at Buckingham Palace and the Royal Opera House.
To help students build their professional skills and networks, the CCC provides opportunities for students to connect to the RCM’s extensive relationships with performance venues, both in London and beyond, to build their event programming skills. It has also established a career-focused mentoring scheme that connects students with graduate mentors, creating a social support network to help determine career goals and strategies.
The work of the CCC has also been integrated into the heart of the curriculum at the RCM, including the college’s Healthy Musician module for all incoming undergraduates and distinctive undergraduate and graduate modules addressing enterprise and innovation in which students develop potentially viable businesses. Students can also study music administration and project management as they prepare for the range of potential roles and responsibilities a musician might undertake as part of a portfolio career. In addition, students have access to podcasts, videos, and resources to support effective marketing, entrepreneurship, and developing careers outside of music.
The Creative Careers Centre helps pave the way for RCM students to develop a lifelong career in music. By placing a strong focus on the development of occupational, financial, and social wellbeing, this case study represents an example of how conservatoires are producing the next generation of creative professionals.