Ken Goodwin

RCM Best Friend Ken Goodwin is a familiar face to many around the RCM. Since discovering the College in 2011, he’s attended more than 350 events! His continuing support and friendly nature have touched many students and staff over the years, and here he explains why he chooses to support the RCM.

How did you first hear about the RCM?

I was dancing down at Kensington Palace and there was some baroque dancing going on but I didn’t know what it was – to be quite honest I couldn’t say ‘baroque’ until a student told me how! I said ‘Where does the musician come from?’ and the dance leader said ‘He teaches’ at the Royal College of Music.’

A couple of weeks after, I came for a tour round the Royal Albert Hall and I looked over the road and thought ‘Oh, that’s the Royal College of Music. I wonder if they’ll let me go in.’ So, I came in and asked ‘Do you do tours?’ This gentleman showed me round. Well, I heard some singing, I can’t think what they were singing now but I thought ‘This is music.’ And that is how I found the Royal College of Music. That was February 2011.

And when did you become an RCM Friend?

I joined a few months later when Chinese pianist Lang Lang visited the RCM. I joined just in time to get in and see him. I was an RCM Friend for two years and then I became a Best Friend.

Have you always been interestedin music?

I used to love singing at school. WhenI was at one school, I played truant for three days because I wanted to sing. When my mother found out she nearly had a fit!

I never used to like violins. But one day I turned on the television and they said there’s Andre Rieu coming on, and of course he came on playing a violin! That was what made me fall in love with the violin.

What events do you like coming to?

I do love the masterclasses. I’ll be quite honest, I’m completed exhausted by the end of the afternoon, because I take it all in. I enjoy all the vocal events too – I’ve got all of them booked for this season. I think the percussion students are particularly marvellous too.

And you attend the RCM Friends’ events as well, what do you like about them?

I think they’re great. I’m getting in with people, I’m speaking to them and they’re speaking to me. To be quite honest, I feel proud walking through that door.

When my wife died I wanted to go to all the colleges to have a look to see what I missed when I was a youngster. You win scholarships now, but in our day you had to be really up in the world to pay.

Do you support the RCM inother ways?

I like giving a little bit to the [RCM Hardship Fund] because I think there are things I wanted to do when I was a youngster and I couldn’t do them. I’d hate to think someone had got up so far and then couldn’t afford to continue studying anymore. If a little bit of money helps, I’m happy to support them.

Do you get the chance to speak to the students?

Oh yes, lots of students come to speak to me. You don’t realise that they’re pleased to see you there, too [when they perform]. It’s like a family because everybody greets you. Maxine [on reception] greets me as I walk in, and Jo [in the canteen], she’s got my coffee ready for me and when I go down there she always gets me my dinner. I just love the students and it makes you feel young again.

Do you feel that being an RCM Friend has opened up a world of music to you?

I do. When I tell people where I live they say ‘well I wouldn’t come all that way’ but I don’t mind. It’s worth it. It pulls me here because I just love it. This is my life now, coming here.

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Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS. Tel: +44(0)20 7591 4300 Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS.
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