Popular Music – Audition Requirements

Undergraduate

There are around 150-200 undergraduate applications for the Popular Music programme each year. The following student numbers are normally admitted to the undergraduate programme:

Bass Guitar: 5-6
Drum Kit: 5-6
Guitar: 5-6
Keyboards: 5-6
Vocals: 10-12

Audition Criteria

  • A high level of technical proficiency
  • Stylistic understanding
  • Energy and presence
  • Confidence and communication
  • Musicianship – scales, modes, technical exercises, rudiments
  • Preparation – equipment, scores/charts, backing tracks

Audition Equipment

The RNCM will provide the following:

  • Fender Blues Junior III Guitar Amp
  • Aguilar Tone Hammer Bass Amp
  • Roland RD700-NX Stage Piano
  • Yamaha Stagepas 400i PA System (with phono to mini-jack for MP3 players)
  • Gretch Catalina Maple 6-piece Drum Kit

Candidates are required to provide the following:

  • Guitars, Bass Guitars and additional Keyboards (as appropriate)
  • Leads and pedals (as appropriate)
  • MP3 player
  • Backing tracks for own choice pieces
  • Drummers are advised to bring their own breakables

Note: Vocalists will perform without a microphone

Audition Process

Round 1 (morning): Maximum 15 minutes with up to 15 minutes warm up time

  • Performance – candidates are required to perform 1 piece of their own choosing preferably to a MP3 backing track (provided by the candidate)
  • Musicianship test – the panel will test technical skills based on those demonstrated in the performance

Note: Candidates should not perform graded examination pieces

Candidates chosen to play in round 2 will be notified at lunchtime. Candidates are advised that auditions are highly competitive and that, on average, only half of the candidates heard in the morning will be selected for round 2.

Round 2 (afternoon): Maximum 20 minutes with up to 20 minutes warm up time

Performance – candidates are required to perform 1 piece from the following:

  • Bass Guitar: Canned Heat – Jamiroquai
  • Drum Kit: Stand Up – The PB Underground
  • Electric Guitar: Love Ain’t a Love Song – Joe Bonamassa
  • Keyboards: Rock with You – Michael Jackson
  • Voice (female): New York – Paloma Faith
  • Voice (male): All of Me – John Legend

Interview – the panel will assess the suitability of candidates through the following:

  • Clear understanding for choosing this programme
  • Ability to self-reflect and articulate own strengths and areas for development
  • Understanding of the popular music industry and employment potential within it
  • Confident, articulate, intelligent responses

Auditions by Recording

International candidates who are unable to attend a live audition should submit a recording online via Acceptd. The video should follow the same format as the live auditions and should contain:

Performance

1 own-choice piece preferably to a MP3 backing track
1 piece from the following:

  • Bass Guitar: Canned Heat – Jamiroquai
  • Drum Kit: Stand Up – The PB Underground
  • Electric Guitar: Love Ain’t a Love Song – Joe Bonamassa
  • Keyboards: Rock with You – Michael Jackson
  • Voice (female): New York – Paloma Faith
  • Voice (male): All of Me – John Legend

Interview

Candidates should discuss the following points and give confident, articulate, intelligent responses:

  • Clear understanding for choosing this programme
  • Ability to self-reflect and articulate own strengths and areas for development
  • Understanding of the popular music industry and employment potential within it

Postgraduate 

MMus Popular Music applicants (all instruments/vocals) should prepare 3 contrasting pieces/songs that demonstrate a range of technical and musical challenges appropriate to postgraduate-level study.

The audition will be followed by a 30 minute interview.

International applicants should submit a recording online via Acceptd with 3 contrasting pieces/songs that demonstrate a range of technical and musical challenges appropriate to postgraduate-level study. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by Skype.



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