The Royal College of Organists has introduced a number of initiatives to support all organists through the Covid-19 pandemic, including free and improved access to educational resources, online tuition, and regular information and updates.
You can find details of, and links to, these initiatives on this page, and please remember to sign up for RCO e-Diary (instructions below) and follow us on social media to keep up to date with our latest news and services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the start of the UK lockdown in March, the College opened its iRCO virtual campus and content hub to all organists for a three-month period. This meant that until 30 June 2020, guest users as well as College members could access for free the hundreds of videos, audio files, papers, articles and other content covering everything from technique to repertoire, performance to professional skills.
During that period we have also published specially curated learning suggestions in the form of our Learning During Lockdown series. These have been published in iRCO StopPress magazine, and publicised via RCO e-Diary (see below).
When the usual iRCO access arrangements resumed from 1 July 2020 the College announced a series of transition arrangements to ensure that all organists can continue to access free learning opportunities throughout the unfolding pandemic situation. Visit our News page announcement for details of the new arrangements.
All RCO courses, classes and events have been cancelled or postponed. All of those booked to attend should now have heard from the RCO concerning arrangements for credits or refunds.
The College team has been working hard to move the material from these courses online, in the form of webinars and tailored online events. You can find details of the latest webinars and online events on our Events Listings page.
As well as providing full access to the wealth of learning content in iRCO, and setting up new online tuition, we have also sought to provide regular information, learning suggestions and practical advice which organists might find useful during this difficult time.
RCO e-Diary, an email bulletin which normally carries a monthly digest of events news from the College and its partners, has been repurposed throughout the pandemic and is currently sent to everyone on our mailing list (members and non-members alike).
If you do not currently receive RCO e-Diary, we would encourage you to sign up for free at www.rco.org.uk/email_preferences.php
We also continue to publish updates on both our Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Covid-19 pandemic means that we have been unable to run the Summer 2020 examination session in the usual way. Candidates have been contacted directly with the latest details, but for general updates visit our news pages here.
Meanwhile, it remains business as usual for the Certificate of Accredited Membership (CAM), with assessments available through audio-visual submission at all three stages. Some 30 members have been accredited in this way in the last three years, and now could be the time to devote attention to this important strand of the College's accreditation programme.
Take a look at the requirements and suggested repertoire at www.rco.org.uk/examinations_qualifications.php. The next deadline for receipt of applications and AV material is 1 April, and after that 1 July. Digital instruments at home are welcomed and have featured in a number of assessments in recent sessions.
Throughout the pandemic situation the College has been working with its partners to encourage the Government and other bodies to recognise and respond to the unique challenges facing organists and choral directors, including the loss of livelihood, restrictions on their access to instruments in churches and public buildings, continued restrictions on singing and public performance, and the wider devastating impact that Covid-19 is having on church, choral and live music throughout the UK and indeed the world.
The latest developments in this work are published on our News page.