Back to top      

Study options & audition requirements

Trombonists in the Britten Theatre
We understand that auditions are a significant milestone on every applicant’s journey towards a career as a conservatoire musician. The guidance below will help you prepare to the best of your abilities and make you aware of what will happen at your Royal College of Music audition.

Your experience will depend on your specialism and your chosen audition location. Typical questions you may be asked during your audition include:

  • Why do you want to study at the RCM?
  • What are your musical interests?
  • What do you think you need to do most to improve your playing?

Most candidates audition at the RCM in London. We also offer auditions at a number of venues overseas. The audition process differs between venues. You are advised to read the information below carefully.

Principal studies

Every student undertakes principal study in their main specialism, which lies at the heart of their RCM experience. You can audition for the following principal studies.

Horn

Undergraduate & postgraduate

Applicants should prepare all of the following:

  • Müller Book 1 no 3
  • A contrasting piece of your own choice

What to expect at audition

Trumpet

Undergraduate & postgraduate

Applicants should prepare all of the following:

  • J Haydn Trumpet Concerto (first movement), preferably on B flat trumpet (cadenza optional)
  • A contrasting piece of your own choice

What to expect at audition

Tenor trombone

Undergraduate & postgraduate

Applicants should prepare all of the following:

  • Saint-Saëns Cavatine
  • A contrasting piece of your own choice

What to expect at audition

Bass trombone

Undergraduate & postgraduate

Applicants should prepare all of the following:

  • Lebedev Concerto in One Movement
  • A contrasting piece of your own choice

What to expect at audition

Tuba

Undergraduate & postgraduate

Applicants should prepare all of the following:

  • Vaughan Williams Tuba concerto (first movement)
  • A contrasting piece of your own choice

What to expect at audition

Related studies

Related study allows instrumentalists to receive tuition on an instrument closely associated with their principal study. Students can take one of our principal options as their related study, as long as a clear relationship exists. For example, a tenor trombonist can choose bass trombone.

The following instruments are also available as related study options:

  • Jazz trumpet
  • Lead trumpet
  • Jazz trombone
  • Lead trombone

Related studies are approved by the relevant Head of Faculty once a student has started their course. No audition is required and you do not need to let us know about your interest in related study before you arrive at the RCM.

Historical brass

It is possible to undertake studies in the following specialisms through our Historical Performance Faculty:

  • Natural horn
  • Natural trumpet and cornett (as related study only)
  • Sackbuts

Visit Historical Performance

Second study

Undergraduates on the BMus course and postgraduates studying for MPerf, MComp or MMus have the option of undertaking a second study specialism. Second study allows students to receive tuition in a second specialism, taught and assessed at a lower intensity than their principal study, in an area that does not qualify for related study.

Second study specialisms are subject to succesful audition and the agreement of the relevant Head of Faculty. If you are interested in undertaking a second study please indicate this on your UCAS Conservatoires application. Auditions will be held once you commence your programme in September.

What to expect at audition

What to bring

In most cases you only need to bring your instrument and music for you and your accompanist. Please remember to bring anything you need for your instrument (eg mutes).

What not to bring

You cannot bring a page-turner, your teacher or a translator into your audition. The only people in your audition room will be you, your accompanist and the audition panel. As our courses are taught in English we expect you to be able to communicate in English at your audition.

Scholarships

Any student who auditions in person for a place on one of the RCM's performance or composition courses will automatically be considered for a scholarship or study award. Composers who audition by video interview will also be considered.

There is no separate application process.

Scholarships are awarded purely on merit based on performance at audition or the strength of portfolio and interview for composers. Unfortunately, the following applicants cannot be considered for scholarships or study awards:

  • Performers who audition by recording.
  • Applicants for the Bachelor of Science in Physics and Music Performance.
  • Applicants for the Master of Science in Performance Science.
  • Applicants for the Master of Education
  • Applicants for any of our Experience Programmes.

If you are offered a scholarship or study award you will receive a letter confirming this and the conditions of your award.

In exceptional circumstances, an applicant may be offered a scholarship on the day of their audition.

Brass auditions in London

You should plan to arrive at the RCM at least 30 minutes before your scheduled audition time. We advise allowing plenty of extra time for travelling into or across London. If you are caught in an unavoidable delay, please telephone the Admissions Officer immediately so that, wherever possible, alternative arrangements can be made.

Lizzie Norton-Henry

Admissions Officer

+44 (0)20 7591 4362

lizzie.norton-henry@rcm.ac.uk

When you arrive at the RCM, you should find out from the steward in the entrance hall where your audition will take place.

Brass auditions in London last approximately 15 minutes. Candidates will be directed by the panel to perform their audition pieces or particular extracts. We cannot say in advance which extracts you might be asked to perform, so you should prepare all of the materials in full. You will also be required to take a sight-reading test and there will be a short interview.

Candidates are also required to participate in an hour long group workshop later that same day. The workshop will be run by the audition panellists and each candidate will be asked to revisit the works they prepared for their audition. 

You will have 15 minutes of warm-up time with your accompanist. We are not able to provide practice rooms for you to use before this.

We recommend bringing your own accompanist and that you work closely with them in preparation for your audition. The RCM can provide an accompanist for you on the day of your audition, but not beforehand.

If you require an RCM accompanist you do not need to tell us in advance.

You do not need to tell us what you are performing in your audition and please do not send copies of the music in advance.

Brass auditions overseas

You should plan to arrive at the audition venue at least 30 minutes before your scheduled audition time.

We advise allowing plenty of extra time for travelling into or across the city where your audition is being held.

You will be sent detailed instructions about what to do at your chosen venue in your invitation email. When you arrive at the audition venue check for signage. Please note that there will not be a front desk run by an RCM steward, although some venues have a public reception desk manned by their own staff.

Brass auditions overseas last approximately 20 minutes. Candidates will be directed by the panel to perform their audition pieces or particular extracts. We cannot say in advance which extracts you might be asked to perform, so you should prepare all of the materials in full. You will also be required to take a sight-reading test and there will be a short interview.

You will have 20 minutes of warm-up time with your accompanist. We are not able to provide practice rooms for you to use before this.

We recommend bringing your own accompanist and that you work closely with them in preparation for your audition.

  

Please note that we are only able to provide RCM accompanists in London and New York.

Where the RCM can provide an accompanist for you, this will only be on the day of your audition, not beforehand. If you require an RCM accompanist please remember to bring copies of the music for them.

You do not need to tell us what you are performing in your audition and please do not send copies of the music in advance.

Overseas audition venues

Audition by recording

Candidates auditioning by recording only will not receive an in-person audition. This option is only available to instrumentalists and vocalists.

Applications for 2018 will open in mid-July. The deadline for submitting applications through UCAS Conservatoires is 2 October 2017.

Restrictions

Auditioning by recording is only available to non-EU candidates.

Candidates for the following principal studies cannot audition by recording:

  • Composition
  • Composition for Screen
  • Conducting
  • Harpsichord
  • Organ
  • Lute
  • Percussion

Candidates for the following courses cannot audition by recording:

  • Masters in Science in Performance Science
  • Artist Diploma in Opera
  • Any course that does not use UCAS Conservatoires for applications, including the Bachelor of Science in Physics and Music Performance

Application fees for auditions by recording

  • Single study instrumentalists or vocalists with or without a second study: £100

Consideration for scholarships when auditioning by recording

You will not be eligible for consideration for scholarships using this application method.

How to audition by recording

Your recorded audition should consist of a video recording lasting approximately 20 minutes. Audio only recordings will not be accepted.

For details of what to prepare, please refer to the audition requirements stipulated by the relevant faculty.

You should submit your recording online using the DecisionDesk platform. The information you upload to DecisionDesk does not constitute your entire application, but does form an integral part of it. You should ensure you have provided everything that is required. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

Submit your recording through DecisionDesk

After your audition

You will be informed of the result of your audition as soon as possible. The RCM cannot enter into correspondence over the results of auditions. 

Find out more

Audition queries

Please double-check that you are available at the time and date of your audition. If there are any special circumstances the RCM needs to be aware of before your audition, please let us know in advance.

Find out more

If you have any questions about auditions or the application process please contact our Admissions team.

Admissions team

Admissions and general audition enquiries

admissions@rcm.ac.uk