Audition by Recording

Before you submit your recording, it’s important that you understand and prepare the necessary audition requirements for your instrumentThese are the same as if you were auditioning in person 

To help you create an audition you’re proud of, we’ve pulled together some frequently asked questions, but if you need further information please don’t hesitate to get in touch 

What should I include in my recorded audition? 

You must include the relevant requirements for your instrument and course, a five-minute spoken introduction, in English, and answers to a set of interview questions set by your School of Study.

The spoken introduction will allow the panel to get to know more about you as a person so make sure you introduce yourself and tell them where you’re from, and include things that you think they’d like to know about you. For example, you could talk about why you want to study at a conservatoire, how long you’ve been playing/singing/composing for, and whether you’re involved in other extracurricular activities, such as choirs and orchestras.

The specific interview questions will allow the panel to understand you more as a musician. For example, you might be asked:

What did you like about the way you played in your audition and what sort of things do you think you could do better?
Is there a particular style or era of music for which you have particular enthusiasm?
Tell us about a concert you have particularly enjoyed, either as a performer or as a member of the audience.

Each School has different interview questions, so please make sure you check the necessary audition requirements.

What quality of recording is required?

There is no formal requirement to submit a studio-quality audition. Applicants can record on personal devices at home, but it’s important that your audition is of sufficient quality to show off your abilities to the panel. If you’re using an accompanist, they must be of a suitable standard to support a conservatoire-ready performance.

Whatever device you use, it’s important that your recording is well presented, and the camera is static. Use a well-lit room where possible and don’t have a bright light source behind you leaving you in silhouette. You could also try using a focusable light source like a lamp and if necessary, perhaps closing curtains or blinds might improve things. Make sure the area around you is clear of distractions.

If using a computer/tablet/phone to record then bear in mind that the built-in microphone, while being of reasonable quality, isn’t optimised for the sorts of volume some musical instruments can produce. You might find that your built-in microphone is overloading and distorting. If you can get some distance between you and your device and/or play off-axis from the microphone, this can help. Additionally, you might also want to think about the acoustic of the room you’re in. If you’re located in a quite reverberant space then you could consider something as simple as closing curtains, hanging some heavy blankets or even a duvet to absorb some of the sound and reduce reflections in the room.

Listen back
Finally, you should listen through to check the recording is acceptable before submitting.

What file type should the video be?

The recording should be in MP4 format. It is not necessary to send a DVD. 

How should the video be framed?

The panel will expect to see you clearly as if they were watching you in concert. Don’t film from a distance because they’ll want to see your finger-work and facial expressions, and they need to be able to judge – depending on your instrument – posture, embouchure, hand shape, neck tension, suppleness of joints etc.

It must be 100% clear from the recording that you’re the person playing/singing.

If you’re required to perform from memory, it must be clear that no music/text is being used.

Do all audition components have to be recorded in one continuous take? 

It is preferable, but not required. However, the performance component of your audition recording must be recorded in one take and unedited, while the spoken components (introduction and answers to the interview questions) could be separate.

Your audition recording must be recent and recorded in the same venue and on the same day.

Do I need to add any descriptions/captions to the recording?

You can choose to add written captions (the title of piece and composer/band/artist) or include a short verbal introduction (i.e. one sentence) if you wish, but it’s not essential. If your audition requires you to include a piece of music of your own choice, you might consider including your reason for choosing this in your spoken introduction.

You will be asked to list the details of your repertoires on Acceptd when you submit it.

Is there a dress code for recorded auditions?

There’s no dress code as such, but presentation is important. Most people opt for smart/casual and Popular Music applicants choose clothing that represents them as artists. 

How do I submit my recording?

Your audition should be uploaded to Acceptd. For on-time applications, please make sure your recordings reach us by 15 November 2020 (excluding composition, conducting and GRNCM).