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Applying to RCMJD

RCMJD students singing in choir
Entry to the RCMJD is competitive by audition in February, March and April for entry in September the same year. This is our only audition period, though we may offer auditions outside this period in exceptional circumstances.

Before making your application, please make sure you have read all the information in this section, including the age requirements, expected standard and audition requirements. You will also need to refer to the PDF below, which contains important information and details of specific audition dates.

Applications for September 2020 entry have closed

The application deadline for entry in September 2020 was Sunday 1 March 2020 and our application process is now closed. Details for 2021 entry will be available soon.

Age requirements

Students are admitted from the age of eight upwards and normally remain in the RCMJD until the end of secondary schooling (aged 17 or 18), provided that they continue to merit their place.

Students are normally admitted for a minimum of two years’ study. If you are interested in studying for one year only, please contact the RCMJD office before applying. Please note that we do not normally admit Gap Year students, and that if you want to apply as a first study singer, you should be at least 14 years old for reasons of vocal maturity.

Too old?

If you have finished school or are over 18, the RCM has an exciting undergraduate programme, full of opportunity. You can browse a full catalogue of our post-18 courses right through to postgraduate level.

Too young?

Our learning and participation team offers a range of activities for all ages and abilities, including activities for families and schools. If you're not yet old enough to apply to RCMJD be sure to explore what RCM Sparks has to offer. Their learning pathways allow young children to undertake a journey of musical learning from early years, onto RCMJD and then to undergraduate study at the RCM.

Expected standard

This is our most frequently asked question, and it’s quite a tricky one to answer, particularly for our younger applicants as we’re looking for potential as well as achievement.

There are always going to be some exceptions but as a general rule, if you’re 11 or younger your first study will need to be at least Grade 5 level when you join JD. This will allow you to take full advantage of the ensemble opportunities that form part of our programme. If you’re older than 11 then we expect you to be more advanced (our sixth formers are almost always at or beyond Grade 8 standard).

On instruments often started at a later age, particularly viola, bassoon, horn, trombone, tuba, harp, organ and double bass, a lower level of attainment may be acceptable. On our most popular instruments (currently violin and piano) the students that we usually offer places to are often working at a significantly more advanced level. Your current teacher, or a professional musician who has seen and heard you perform, is the best person to advise you as without having heard you we will be unable to comment.

Present attainment, the number of places available for each instrument and suitability for the course are all also taken into consideration. Entry is competitive by audition, but we try to keep these as friendly as possible. We currently try to schedule an audition for every person that applies to us within the correct time frame though cannot guarantee to do so.

Not quite there yet?

If you're interested in music but don't think you're really ready for the intensive programme we offer, the RCM Sparks team have a wide range of music making you can take part in. Read all about RCM Sparks.

Your county music service or hub should also be able to help you find ways to explore your musical talent. A list of hubs is available to download from Arts Council England.

Application deadlines

Our application deadlines relate to our two groups of auditions. An overview of these is given below. For more detailed information, including precise dates and who can apply for Early Bird Auditions, please refer to the RCMJD auditions information for applicants above.

Early bird auditions

If you are a pianist or violinist and would like to be considered for an early bird audition in February, please indicate this on your application form.

Deadline: we must receive your completed application by Friday 24 January 2020.

Main session auditions

All other auditions will take place in March and April.

Deadline: we must receive your completed application by Sunday 1 March 2020.

Late applications

We will only be able to accept late applications in exceptional circumstances. If you would like to enquire about submitting a late application, please email and give as much information about the applicant as possible.

How to apply

Guidance for completing the online application form

In order to complete the online application form, which you will be taken to when clicking 'Apply now' below, you will need to have the following information available:

  • A recent passport-style, head and shoulders photo of the applicant in JPEG format
  • Most recent practical exam grade, mark and date for first and second study instruments if applicable, or approximate standard if no exams have been taken
  • If taken, most recent theory exam grade, mark and date
  • September 2021 school name, postcode, Headteacher, Head of Music and music department email address (if applicable)
  • Names of current ensembles and/or choirs with which the applicant performs

Please note:

  • You do not need to send us references
  • Please do not send copies of exam or festival mark sheets or certificates at this stage – we will ask for them if they are required

Apply for Junior Department

Clicking the button below will take you to our online application form. Please ensure you have read all of our guidance above before proceeding.

If you have any problems completing the application form, please contact us.

Apply now


If you have any enquiries about the application process or you are experiencing difficulty submitting an application, please contact our friendly team, who will be happy to help.

RCM Junior Department

General enquiries

+44(0)20 7591 4334 (11am-3pm Tues to Fri)