What to expect at audition

Walking onto the Britten Theatre stage
We understand that auditions are a significant milestone on every conservatoire applicant’s journey. 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. Follow the faculty links below to check the format of your audition and what repertoire you need to prepare for your instrument. 

Your audition

Most auditions last approximately 15-20 minutes, but some specialisms have longer audition processes, or may require you to attend a second panel usually on the same day.

The majority of your audition will be spent performing your repertoire. In some cases you may also be given a short sight-reading task and asked to perform scales, arpeggios or other technical exercises. The audition will finish with a short discussion with the panel. Typical questions you may be asked include:

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

Joint Principal Study audition

If you have applied for the BMus Joint Principal Study programme, you will be invited to audition on both specialisms. Wherever possible, we try and conduct these auditions on the same day, but this might not be possible due to the panel availability.

Audition warm-up

For most specialisms, you will be allocated a 15 or 20 minute warm-up prior to your audition. Please note that the time shown on your UCAS Conservatoires account is your audition time, so make sure you arrive in good time to allow for your warm-up.

Audition advice

Audition nerves are completely normal.  Our best advice is to make sure you have prepared your repertoire throroughly.  Leave enough time for your journey to the RCM to ensure you have plenty of time to get to your warm-up room.  It may also be useful to think of a few questions to ask the panel, as they will be happy to answer any queries you may have.  Most of all, try to relax, breathe and enjoy your experience of auditioning at the Royal College of Music. 

What should I bring to my audition?

Bring anything needed for your instrument. For example, spike grips for cellos, mutes for brass instruments and sticks for percussionists.

You should also bring any accompaniment parts, but you do not need to bring copies of the music you will be performing for the panel.

Who can attend with me?

A family member, or friend may attend with you, but we request they stay in the RCM’s communal areas, such as our café, whilst you have your warm-up and audition.

The RCM provides accompanists for candidates auditioning in London and New York, but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer. Candidates for our other overseas venues should bring their own accompanist.  You cannot bring a page-turner, your teacher or a translator into your audition. The only people in the room will be you, your accompanist/soloist (as applicable) and the audition panel.

Our courses are taught in English and we expect you to be able to communicate in English at your audition. You do not need to meet the RCM's English language requirements for the audition day(s). However, if you do not yet speak English confidently we advise you to work towards a more appropriate level of competence so you can communicate comfortably with your audition panel.

Audition requirements

After your audition

You will be informed of the result of your audition as soon as possible. If you are successful, you will be sent further information to help you prepare for your studies at the RCM.

Find out more about what happens after your audition

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