Your Audition FAQs
Auditioning for conservatoire study is an important moment in a young musician’s life and we want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible.
Alongside the audition requirements for your chosen discipline, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions which we hope will help your preparation.
If your question isn’t here, just send an email to [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.
Your Application and Audition
How much does it cost to apply?
Your initial application will cost £27.00. This fee is paid direct to UCAS Conservatoires and includes up to six course choices.
How much does it cost to audition?
The cost of an RNCM audition for Single Principal Study is £75 and £110 for Joint Principal Study.
This fee covers our entire admissions service, including full assessment of your application.
Is there any funding support available?
It’s possible to request for your audition fees to be waived if you’re in receipt of financial support.
Please contact [email protected] if you’d like to find out more about this.
Stage 1 Audition
What should I include in my Stage 1 recorded audition?
You must include the relevant requirements for your instrument and course and a two-minute spoken introduction, in English.
The 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.
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.
What quality of Stage 1 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.
Finally, you should listen through to check the recording is acceptable before submitting.
What file type should the Stage 1 recording be?
The recording should be in MP4 format. It is not necessary to send a DVD.
How should the Stage 1 recording 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 Stage 1 audition components have to be recorded in one continuous take?
The performance component of your audition must be recorded in one take, unedited, and in a single video file. The spoken introduction can be recorded and uploaded separately.
Your whole audition recording must be recent and recorded in the same venue and on the same day.
If you envisage any difficulties recordings your audition as above, please contact [email protected].
Percussion is an exception to this, applicants should record their audition on the three disciplines outlined in the audition requirements. These can be done as three separate unedited videos or in one continuous take.
Do I need to add any descriptions/captions to the Stage 1 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 applicants, please make sure your recordings reach us no later than Friday 28 October (excluding composition, conducting and GRNCM).
Stage 2 Audition
Do I have to come to the RNCM for my Stage 2 audition?
As we are unable to conduct live auditions overseas and with travel still difficult for some applicants, Stage 2 provides the option of an in-person or online live audition.
You will be asked to state your Stage 2 audition preference when you submit your Stage 1 recording. If successful at reaching Stage 2, our Admissions Team will be in touch with information about the next steps.
Do I have to choose different repertoire at Stage 2?
Auditions requirements are different for each School of Study. Please visit this page to learn more about what’s needed for your specific discipline.
Do you have any advice for Stage 2 auditions via Zoom?
In a similar way to your Stage 1 recorded audition, it’s very important that the equipment you use and the room you’re auditioning in is fit for purpose, with a strong internet connection and good sound quality.
- Use a well-lit room where possible and don’t have a bright light 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.
- Ensure that the camera on your device is still and able to capture you and your performance fully and clearly.
- Build-in microphones on devices such as laptops and tablets, while being of reasonable quality, aren’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.
- On Zoom, make sure that your audio setting is set to ‘Original Sound: On’, which is at the top left of the screen. If you’re using a device with poor microphone quality, such as an iPad, please test your equipment beforehand as an additional microphone may be needed.
What questions will I be asked during the Stage 2 interview?
The panel will use this time to get to know more about you and your future aspirations, as well as answer any questions you might have about studying with us.
Ahead of the audition, you might want to think about questions like like:
Why you want to study at the RNCM?
What attracted you to your chosen programme of study?
The ensemble experience you’ve had?
How you think your live audition went – what you think went well and what you would like to improve?
Your wider interests?
Your ultimate goal and future ambitions?