Arthur Butterworth, composer, trumpeter and student of the Royal Manchester College of Music, remembers what being a student was like at the RNCM.
Arthur: But when I began in September, I imagined as I suppose most students who didn’t know what it was all about imagined, that coming to college would be again like going to school; that you would come every day about 9 o’clock to 4; but oh no it wasn’t like that at all! You came in only when you had a specific lesson; now, my specific lesson was composition, this is how I’d been admitted by R.J. Forbes, the then principal, and I had nominally, 1 hour’s composition with Richard Hall, one hour trumpet with Arthur [pause] oh, what was he called now, Arthur Lockwood, who was principal trumpet of the Halle, and I had lessons in harmony from Norman Andrew, Dr Norman Andrew, we all had class lessons in music appreciation and history, and 2 hour’s rehearsal with the college orchestra. So this was a bit of a surprise because I thought we would be involved all day long but oh no that wasn’t the case, so really one’s time taken up was maybe no more than 5 hours a week and the rest of the time, you were supposed to spend your own time practising your instrument, or working away at harmony exercises, or a composition or whatever; so frankly, there seemed to be a lot of time wasted because we sat around just talking as students do in the common room about nothing in particular, but learning from each other. Uh, the old college itself was only about one-twentieth the size of this present building; there was a big concert hall, on which there’s a stage, and on the stage was a then quite new electronic Hammond Organ, which was used for organ students, and they practised all day long so there was never any silence in that room. So if you had any harmony homework to do, sitting at one of the many tables, you had to do it even with this sound of Rheinberger’s organ sonatas going on, all day long!