Study options & audition requirements

Singer in 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 singing?

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.

Singing

Undergraduate, Graduate Diploma & Masters

Applicants should prepare

  • Three items in contrasting styles and moods, one of which must be an operatic or oratorio aria (with recitative if possible).

The audition panel reserves the right to select only two of the three prepared works.

Opera

Artist Diploma in Opera only

Applicants should prepare:

  • Four contrasting operatic arias in a variety of languages, one of which must be sung in English or English translation.

The audition panel reserves the right to select only two of the four prepared works.

What to expect at audition

What to bring

In most cases you only need to bring yourself and music for you and your accompanist.

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 at the RCM 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 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.

Vocal 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.

Vocal auditions 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 be required to take a sight-reading test and there will be a short interview.

Due to the volume of applicants in London there is a two-phase audition process for vocal applicants. The audition panel will inform you whether you need to perform again for a second panel. Unfortunately, if you are not referred to the second panel, it is less likely you will be offered a place.  

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. 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.

Vocal auditions overseas

Please note that we are unable to audition candidates for opera at any of our overseas audition venues.

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.

Vocal auditions 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 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

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