To give you a better idea of what could be in store for you at an audition, Nicola Peacock from the Royal College of Music shares her top tips.
Auditions are a busy time for conservatoire staff, but also exciting, as we get to meet the talented new students who will be joining us next year. We are very aware that auditioning at a conservatoire can seem a daunting prospect, but we really want applicants to have a positive experience and a lot of effort goes into ensuring we look after you on the day.
How to prepare
Each conservatoire will have information on its website about what you need to prepare and any particular requirements, so check these carefully when you know your audition date. If you are not sure or don’t understand something, please don’t be afraid to contact us to ask.
Our top tip would be to allow plenty of time for your journey, so that you arrive on time feeling calm and prepared. There is no need to wear concert dress – we would recommend smart casual clothes that you feel comfortable in. Don’t forget to bring along the music for both you and your accompanist (people really do forget!) and anything you may need for your instrument, like spare reeds, strings, or a mute.
When you arrive, there will be people on hand to direct you to your audition room and answer any last minute questions. Audition stewards are often current students, so take the opportunity to ask them what student life is like!
For performers auditioning in the UK, the conservatoire can usually provide an accompanist for you, and you will have time to warm up together before the audition.
The exact structure of your audition will depend on the conservatoire and your specialism, but for most instrumental and vocal performers, your audition will probably last around 15-20 minutes. There will normally be two or three panellists, who will be experts in your specialism. They may choose which of your pieces they want to hear, and don’t worry if they don’t ask you to play all the way to the end of what you prepared. There will probably also be a sight-reading test and some auditions may include some scales or aural work. It is possible you may also get asked to perform for a second panel or in a group workshop. For composers, your portfolio will have already been assessed, so the panel will want to talk to you about your ideas in more detail. There may be some different assessments too for students of dance and drama, such as dance classes or a group interview.
Most auditions will include a conversation about your experience and interests. Don’t forget that this is a chance for you to get a feel for the conservatoire and ask us some questions! You might want to ask about performance opportunities on the programme, or which professors you could end up working with.
Good luck with your auditions!
If you have any questions about your conservatoire application, check out our website or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.