Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Rcm And Ram


Vox Humana
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have no doubt that either is still a great place to be, but which of these two has more kudos for organists these days? I'm way out of touch - I haven't been near either institution for decades - and I'm hoping that some of you can bring me up to date.

Way, way back in the late 60s virtually all the big-name organ professors were at the RCM. Judging from a glance at the current lists of organ staff I am wondering whether the boot might not now be on the other foot. Absolutely no disrespect intended to any of the RCM professors, who are undoubtedly nothing inferior to their colleagues in Marylebone, but if I were an innocent teenager contemplating my future career I think I might conclude that the RAM looks more attractive. (No doubt the better web design helps.)

The lists are here:
http://www.ram.ac.uk/organ-staff-listing
http://www.rcm.ac.uk/keyboard/professors/organ

On the other hand, how far can one trust a mere roll call of names? It's good for the image if you can quote long lists of famous people, but the more famous someone is the more likely they are to be continually away performing somewhere. In my day I certainly heard of professors who were hardly ever present. Of course it may be different today, but somehow I doubt it.

So what is the current scene actually like? How does it all operate in practice?

And what of Trinity and the Guildhall?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the RAM names look marginally 'bigger' in general the RCM staff, in their fields are as strong. Sometimes a 'big name' organist will not necessarily be a more effective teacher. If I were young again and decidedly more adept I would probably sign up for both but with specific repertoire/technical requirement aimed at each establishment!

 

AJJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A "big-name" performer (on any instrument, surely) who has got to the top because they find everything comparitively easy to achieve and has lots of natural talent won't necessarily be as good a teacher as one who has personally learned how to overcome the musical and technical hurdles of mere mortals like the rest of us. This, of course, is a generalisation. One also needs to take into account the personalities of the teacher and student and whether they are compatible; far more important an issue than some might imagine.

 

Malcolm Kemp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know much about the London scene, but things are pretty desperate at the RSAMD. Last year, they didn't have a single undergraduate first study organist.

 

The RCM department certainly seems to have shrunk over the years - inevitably, I suppose. In the late 60s it boasted Ralph Downes, Harold Darke, Nicholas Danby, John Birch, Douglas Guest, Sidney Campbell and Richard Latham (St Paul's, Knightsbridge) - and I expect I have forgotten one or two others.

 

A "big-name" performer (on any instrument, surely) who has got to the top because they find everything comparitively easy to achieve and has lots of natural talent won't necessarily be as good a teacher as one who has personally learned how to overcome the musical and technical hurdles of mere mortals like the rest of us. This, of course, is a generalisation. One also needs to take into account the personalities of the teacher and student and whether they are compatible; far more important an issue than some might imagine.

 

This is very true. I have no idea how many it might apply to, but not all conservatoire professors are necessarily interested in run-of-the-mill teaching at all and may only be doing it for the money while, hopefully, their performing career gathers enough momentum to enable them to give it up. If I had gone to the RAM I would have been placed with someone very well known (I know this because the interview panel offered me a place on the spot and we discussed it). This person, it turned out, was hardly ever present and formally resigned a year or two later - I suspect precisely for that reason. However, my impression as a student was that any such people were always outweighed by those who genuinely liked to impart their expertise, knowledge and guidance and I am sure that holds just as true today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
A "big-name" performer (on any instrument, surely) who has got to the top because they find everything comparitively easy to achieve and has lots of natural talent won't necessarily be as good a teacher as one who has personally learned how to overcome the musical and technical hurdles of mere mortals like the rest of us. This, of course, is a generalisation. One also needs to take into account the personalities of the teacher and student and whether they are compatible; far more important an issue than some might imagine.

 

Malcolm Kemp

 

Again, without wishing to generalise, I would agree with this.

 

In my first year at college, my organ tutor was Harry Gabb (who I had at least heard of, as a former Organist of Saint Paul's Cathedral). Whilst he was a very pleasant gentleman, he was not particularly strict or demanding. In my second year, I changed to Richard Stangroom (whom I did not know at the time) - and who turned out to be just what I needed: knowledgeable, strict, innovative and imaginative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...