School of Wind, Brass and Percussion – Audition Requirements
There are around 200 students in the School of Wind, Brass and Percussion, with the equivalent of a symphonic wind, brass and percussion section being admitted each year.
In each instrumental discipline approximately four students are normally accepted annually, and admission standards are correspondingly high.
A balance of:
- Technical accomplishment
- Musicality and communication
- Potential to contribute to the School of Wind, Brass and Percussion
Audition Process (Undergraduate and Postgraduate)
All woodwind and brass players
Candidates should prepare two contrasting own choice pieces, at least one of which must be accompanied. The total duration of the two pieces should not exceed 15 minutes. An accompanist will be provided for the audition.
Oboe, cor anglais (postgraduate only), bassoon, French horn, tuba, cornet, tenor horn, baritone horn & euphonium
The audition will normally consist of one round lasting approximately 20 minutes including a brief interview. Both pieces will need to be presented and you will have up to 20 minutes to warm up before your audition. The panel will ask you to undertake a short test in sight reading, and may ask you to demonstrate proficiency in scales and arpeggios up to ABRSM Grade 8 level.
Flute, clarinet, bass clarinet (postgraduate only), trumpet & trombone
Unless specified in the audition comments on UCAS Conservatoires when your audition time is allocated, the audition will have two rounds. All candidates take part in round one, after which selected candidates go through to round two.
Round 1 (morning) – Maximum 10 minutes with 10 minutes warm up time
The panel will ask you to perform one piece, plus undertake a short test in sight reading. Candidates selected to play in round two 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 may be selected for round two.
Round 2 (afternoon) – Maximum 15 minutes with up to 15 minutes warm up time
The panel will hear the second piece which will be followed by a brief interview.
Please note that for all undergraduate applicants, the panel may choose to work with you in round two (or in your second piece in a one round audition) as if in a lesson. You may also be asked to demonstrate proficiency in scales and arpeggios up to ABRSM Grade 8 level.
In certain circumstances, including late auditions outside the dedicated audition period, an audition will consist of one round only when both pieces of repertoire should be presented. In such cases, the auditions will last approximately 20 minutes and candidates will have 20 minutes warm up time. If this is the case, this will be clearly noted on UCAS Conservatoires when your audition time is allocated.
In choosing your pieces, the first movement of a classical concerto (Mozart, Haydn etc.) can be appropriate, with a second piece showing different skills or styles. The Grade 8 lists of ABRSM or Trinity College London give good examples and indications of standard for undergraduate level, but note that brass and wind entrance auditions at RNCM are free choice repertoire.
Saxophone (normally two rounds)
Unless specified in the audition comments on UCAS Conservatoires when your audition time is allocated, the audition will be in two rounds, as above. You will need to prepare two contrasting pieces, one of which must be accompanied. As an indication of the required standard, candidates should consult the following list:
- Paul Creston – Sonata
- Phil Woods – Sonata
- Paule Maurice – Tableaux de Provence
- Jean Absil – Fantaisie Caprice
- Jolivet – Fantaisie Impromptu
- Gotkovsky – Brillance
- Milhaud – Scaramouche
This list is only an indication of the standard of repertoire suitable for audition at the RNCM, and candidates should feel free to offer any other equivalent repertoire that they are studying for their audition with us. It is also advisable to offer complete works in the first round, allowing the panel to choose a selection of contrasting material to fill the 10 minute audition.
The RNCM Saxophone programme actively encourages students to develop a broad base of skills in all genres, from classical to jazz and improvised music, and so does not have a specific jazz or classical course. Rather, we allow successful applicants to create a bespoke programme of study with our team of saxophone tutors across their course of study. Candidates should offer at least one classical work as outlined above in the first round, as the core of the course involves study of classical technique. They may then offer a jazz-based piece as a contrast, although this will usually only be heard in the 2nd round. Candidates are advised that performance of two jazz-based pieces is not acceptable.
There may be exceptional circumstances, for example late auditions outside of the dedicated audition period, when an audition will consist of one round only. In such cases, both pieces of repertoire should be presented, the auditions will last approximately 20 minutes and candidates will have 20 minutes warm up time. If your audition is one round only, it will be clearly noted on UCAS Conservatoires when your audition time is allocated.
Recorder (one round only)
- Scales as set for ABRSM grade 8
- Sight reading test
- One study (not no. 4) From ‘Five Studies for Finger Control’ by Frans Brüggen
- One movement from a sonata, suite, partita etc., or concerto from the period 1550 – 1770
- One work composed in the 20th or 21st centuries
- One of the above pieces must be accompanied. Total length of music including study should not be more than 15 minutes.
The candidate should prepare a programme of up to 20 minutes of music, including if desired improvisation (not longer than 5 minutes of the total programme), demonstrating either a broad range of styles, or if preferred, the specialism which that candidate wishes to pursue at postgraduate level. Extremes need not be avoided, however the set up of electronic equipment may not be possible within the timeframe of the audition. Further questions about programming can be addressed in the first instance to firstname.lastname@example.org
DVD applications from overseas candidates are accepted, and should follow the requirements above.
Percussion (one round only, approximately 30 minutes, with up to 30 minutes warm up)
Tuned: own choice piece, at least Grade 8 level
Timpani: choose and prepare one of the following pieces from ABRSM Grade 8 list:
Snare Drum: choose and prepare one of the following pieces from the ABRSM Grade 8 list:
The panel may choose to work with you on some of your repertoire as if in a lesson; and may request a short additional test e.g. providing a musical response to a phrase.
You will be given two short tests on sight-reading, one of which will normally be on xylophone.
GRNCM/MusB (‘Joint Course’) applicants:
GRNCM/MusB (‘Joint Course’) applicants should submit a recording via Acceptd – this should include one piece on tuned percussion and one on either snare drum, timpani or multi percussion.
Candidates will be asked to play one piece of their own choice on each of the following instruments:
The level of difficulty should be comparable to that of the pieces played in a final undergraduate degree recital.
The following orchestral repertoire excerpts should also be prepared:
Dukas: Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Gershwin: Porgy & Bess
Kabalevsky: Colas Breugnon
Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kijé
Suppé: Pique Dame
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 (mvts. 1 and 4)
Stravinsky: Rite of Spring (Danse Sacrale)
Instruments provided for percussionists
Timpani: four Adams Symphonic Timpani (32″, 29″, 26″, 23″) with Renaissance heads. These drums have Premier-type pedals and the tuning gauges on the drums may be disabled for the audition. Candidates may tune from a tuning fork or take an A from the marimba.
Snare Drum: a snare drum will be provided, but candidates may bring their own drum if preferred.
Tuned: the instruments normally available will be a 4.3 octave Concorde marimba (fixed height), a 5-octave Yamaha marimba (fixed height) and a 4-octave Adams xylophone (adjustable height). A piano will not be available for accompaniment. A Yamaha vibraphone will be an option for postgraduate auditions.
International auditions by video recording
International students who are unable to attend an audition in person can submit an audition by video recording online via Acceptd.
In all cases the recording must include a 3 minute mission statement or introduction, spoken by the applicant in English.
For all instruments except percussion, submit a programme around 15-20 minutes. This must include either two or three pieces demonstrating a range of styles. At least one piece must have an accompaniment of piano, organ or an ensemble.
For percussion, please submit a programme around 15-20 minutes. This must include pieces on tuned percussion, snare drum (or multi percussion) and timpani.
At least two (and preferably three) different disciplines / instruments must be demonstrated.