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This chapter discusses George Grove’s success in his choice of staff and the quality of his leadership in knitting together the wide range of musical characters and personalities into a cohesive educational body. There are some vignettes of the early staff, illustrated by a photograph which vividly captures them at the laying of the foundation stone of the new building in 1890. Grove’s letters to his confidante, Edith Oldham, capture some of the personalities and the day-to-day strains of their working together, and these are quoted to give a more realistic sense of the College in its early days than has been given before. The second part of the chapter looks at why Parry was chosen as the College’s second Director and looks at his musical and strategic limitations. Parry’s bitter feuding with Stanford – a defining characteristic of his time as Director – is examined. The chapter shows that Stanford (not Parry) was the RCM’s musical director and explains how this greatly benefitted the College, and that the need for this dual leadership was recognized by the RCM Council.
This chapter places studentship at the College (1883–1913) within the national tertiary education context, and discusses the significant cost to individuals. It looks at the gender make-up of the student body in relation to the restrictions placed on what it was then considered appropriate for female students to learn. It considers issues of class that also helped determine student expectations. It explains that RCM scholarships were significant in bringing wind and brass students to the College (with a study profile of RCM scholars), and looks at some of the scholars who benefitted with more detailed discussion of Clara Butt, Charles Wood and George Dyson. The discussion of fee-paying students explains just why an RCM education represented a good investment in return for the fees paid. The fact that in this period there was no entry exam prompts the question of what the standard actually was, and a detailed analysis of a student sample argues that (with few exceptions) the student body was of an appropriate standard to benefit from professional training.
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