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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. Please note that research degrees have their own set of requirements.

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). Pieces selected from the popular music repertoire would not be considered for the purpose of this audition.

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.

Vocal auditions in London

The time shown on UCAS Conservatoires is your audition time. You should plan to arrive at the RCM at least 30 minutes before this, to allow time to check in and warm up. 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 team on +44 (0)20 7591 4362 immediately so that, wherever possible, alternative arrangements can be made.

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 , there is a two-phase audition process for vocal applicants auditioning in London during the main Novermber - December audition period. 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.  Second panel auditions take place on the same day, normally within an hour or two of the first audition, although you may have to wait a little longer if there is a high number of referrals.

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

You are welcome to bring your own accompanist. Alternatively, the RCM will have accompanists available on the day of your audition. We usually have several accompanists working on each audition day. We are unable to provide the name or contact details of our accompanists in advance.

If you require an RCM accompanist you do not need to tell us in advance; just inform the steward for your audition panel when you arrive.  

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.  Our accompanists are very experienced and are familiar with most standard repertoire.

Vocal auditions overseas

Please note that we are unable to audition candidates for the Artist Diploma in 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 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 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

Wherever possible, we recommend that candidates attend a live audition. However, candidates who are resident outside Europe and who are unable to attend one of our live venues may choose to audition by video recording. This option is only available to instrumentalists and vocalists.

Applications for entry in September 2019 are now open. The application deadline for applications by recording is 1 October 2018.

Late applications may be considered for some courses and principal studies. Please contact our Admissions team to check before submitting a late application. 

Restrictions

Auditioning by recording is only available to candidates resident outside Europe.

Candidates for the following principal studies cannot audition by recording:

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

Candidates for the following performance courses cannot audition by recording:

  • Bachelor of Science in Physics and Music Performance
  • Artist Diploma in Opera

Different application processes apply for the following courses (please see the relevant course information page for details):

  • Master of Science in Performance Science
  • Master of Education
  • Doctoral of Music
  • Doctor of Philosophy

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.

Candidates should prepare the same repertoire as candidates auditioning in person. Please refer to the audition requirements stipulated by the relevant faculty.

You should submit your recording online via the RCM submission portal by the application deadline for your course. The information you upload to the portal 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.

The online portal will be open shortly. A link will be available here when it opens. Please check back soon.

Scholarships

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

There is no separate application process.

Eligibility for scholarships is based on merit, which is determined by 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

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.

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