Study options & audition requirements

A student using a keyboard attached to a computer to compose, looking at the computer screen
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.

Composers audition by submitting a portfolio of work to the RCM for consideration. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview. 

Composition interviews take place at the RCM in London and are not available at our overseas audition venues. However, candidates unable to travel to London can choose to have a live video interview instead.

Applications to the Composition Faculty are reviewed during the first few weeks of October. Therefore, please make sure that your references reach the RCM by the application deadline to ensure that they are considered along with your portfolio.  

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.

Expand the options below to find out the audition requirements for each principal study. 

Interviews for composers

We are planning to hold live interviews in London in 2023, although applicants who cannot travel may submit a video audition instead. You will still be considered for a scholarship using this method.

This applies to candidates for Composition and Composition for Screen who have been selected for the second stage of the audition process.

Composition requirements

Undergraduate & taught postgraduate

All applicants must submit a portfolio of at least three, but not more than five, contrasting examples of their compositions. 

A score of each piece should be submitted unless the work is purely acousmatic, in which case a description of the piece should be submitted alongside a recording. 

In addition to the scores, recordings of works may be submitted if they have been performed, however we understand that many applicants may not have had the opportunity to have their works played so we don't expect recordings as an essential part of the submission.

Playback files from software programmes such as Sibelius should not be submitted.

We are looking for evidence of a talent for composition, an enthusiasm for new music and, depending on the level at which you wish to study, the ability to realise effectively, or to start to realise, your ideas in a variety of forms and media.

Candidates whose portfolios demonstrate potential will be invited to interview. The interview will include a series of simple aural tests. 

Typical questions you may be asked during your interview include:

  • Why do you want to study at the RCM?
  • What are your musical interests?
  • What composers and pieces are particularly important to you?
  • What do you think you need to do most to improve your writing?

Composition for Screen requirements

Taught postgraduate only

All applicants must submit a portfolio of at least two, but not more than five, examples of their compositions, if possible, contrasting. At least half of the compositions submitted should be synced to picture, such as videogames, adverts, rescoring, trailer music or any other type of picture.  You may submit scores for the pieces that are not synced to picture.

The music should be mixed by you only, except if the tracks submitted are part of a project where you had the possibility of mixing professionally. In these cases, please specify this in the file title of the composition. 

Playback files from software programmes such as Sibelius should not be submitted. 

In addition to the normal academic and musical standards expected for entry to the RCM's MComp or MMus course, Composition for Screen applicants will be required to demonstrate: 

  • A command of musical gesture and expression. 
  • Basic instrumentation and orchestral skills. 
  • Proficiency in music technology in order to produce good quality midi mock-ups.
  • Intermediate knowledge in using DAW software (such as Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools etc); and notation programs (Sibelius, Finale, Dorico)  
  • Experience in using DAW such as Logic, Cubase etc. 
  • A keen awareness of music's narrative and dramatic functions within and beyond film, television and multimedia. 
We welcome applications from any heritage and any kind of musical background so long as you show talent and aptitude in scoring to picture.
Candidates whose portfolios demonstrate potential will be invited to interview. Prior to interview Composition for Screen candidates will be sent a short vocational task to complete (such as composing a short excerpt to accompany an image or scenario).

Second study

Most undergraduates on the BMus course and postgraduates studying for MPerf, MComp, MMus(Perf) or MMus(Comp) 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 successful audition and the agreement of the relevant Head of Faculty. Auditions take place during the first few weeks of the course, and students will have the opportunity to register for these auditions shortly before the start of the academic year. There is no need to inform the RCM at the point of application.

Submitting your portfolio

Composition and Composition for Screen portfolios should be submitted via the RCM submission portal below.

Submit your portfolio

What to expect at interview

What to bring

You do not need to bring anything to your interview with you.

What not to bring

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

Composition & Composition for Screen interviews in London

You should plan to arrive at the RCM at least 15 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 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 interview will take place.

Composition and Composition for Screen interviews last approximately 20 minutes.

Composition & Composition for Screen video interviews

Candidates can choose to have a video interview instead of an interview in-person at the RCM. Please select this option in your application on UCAS Conservatoires.

Composition and Composition for Screen interviews last approximately 20 minutes.


Every student who applies for a place on one of the RCM's performance or composition courses commencing in 2025 will be considered for a scholarship, whether you have applied by video or attended an audition or interview in person.

There is no separate application process.

Eligibility for scholarships is based on merit, which is determined by performance at audition (or by submission of video) or the strength of portfolio and interview for composers.

If you are offered a scholarship or study award you will receive a letter, normally sent by email, 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 and general audition enquiries

+44 (0)20 7591 4362

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