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Study options & audition requirements

Singer in Britten Theatre
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. 

Most candidates audition at the RCM in London. We also offer auditions at a number of venues overseas. The audition process differs between venues. If you are unable to attend in person, you have the option to audition by video. 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. 

Video auditions for 2022 entry

We are planning to audition in London for 2022 entry but applicants who would prefer not to travel due to coronavirus may submit a video audition instead. This option is open to all Principal Study specialisms, with the exception of Conducting, for which we hope to hold final round auditions live in London in Spring 2022.

We are planning on holding auditions for most principal studies at our New York audition venue but the RCM will not be auditioning at any of our other overseas venues for 2022 entry, due to the current situation. The safety of our audition candidates is paramount and the RCM has made this decision in response to the latest guidance from the UK Government and the authorities in the audition locations. Applicants who would have auditioned at our overseas venues are invited to submit a video audition.

Further information on deadlines and submission requirements for video auditions can be found here

All candidates will automatically be considered for scholarships on the basis of their audition, including those who audition by video. 

Video auditions are assessed on the basis of the video submission and UCAS Conservatoires application. Some applicants may be asked to participate in a short video interview after their audition recording is assessed.

Find out more 

Singing

Bachelor of Music and Graduate Diploma

Singers should prepare three contrasting pieces including one in English and one in Italian. One piece must be an operatic or oratorio aria (with recitative if possible). Whilst we train singers for the classical repertoire we will accept a maximum of one piece of musical theatre should this offer a particular insight into their potential as performers. Pieces selected from 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.

Masters

Singers should prepare three contrasting pieces including one in English and one in Italian. One piece must be an operatic or oratorio aria (with recitative if possible). Pieces selected from musical theatre and 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.

ArtDip in Performance - Répétiteur

Candidates should prepare to play and sing the orchestral and vocal parts of three substantial operatic excerpts in French, German and Italian. Candidates may choose to play from either a vocal or a full orchestral score. Candidates auditioning live in London will only have to perform two excerpts, with the first being the candidate’s own choice and the second being chosen by the audition panel. Candidates submitting by video audition will be required to submit all three excerpts.

Sight-reading will consist of playing the piano part of a vocal score, without the vocal line. Candidates will also be expected to read aloud unprepared Italian, French and German texts. For video audition candidates sight-reading will not be required, but shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a video interview, which will incorporate the language reading exercise.

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

Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, any applicant will be allowed to submit a video audition for courses due to commence in 2022. All candidates will automatically be considered for scholarships on the basis of their audition, including those who audition by video.

Find out more

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. There will be a short interview. 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?

Due to the volume of applicants, there is a two-phase audition process for vocal applicants auditioning in London during the main November - 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 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

Overseas auditions for 2022 entry

We are planning on holding auditions for most principal studies at our New York audition venue but the RCM will not be auditioning at any of our other overseas venues for 2022 entry, due to the current situation. The safety of our audition candidates is paramount and the RCM has made this decision in response to the latest guidance from the UK Government and the authorities in the audition locations. Applicants who would have auditioned at our overseas venues are invited to submit a video audition.

Find out more

Please note that we are unable to audition candidates for the Artist Diploma in Opera at any of our overseas audition venues.

Audition by video

Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, any applicant will be allowed to submit a video audition for courses due to commence in 2022. Candidates auditioning by video will automatically be considered for scholarship. This applies to all Principal Study specialisms, excluding final round conducting auditions, which we hope will still take place in person in the spring if government guidance allows.

Applications for 2022 entry will open on 15 July 2021. The UCAS Conservatoires application deadline for video auditions is 1 October 2021 and videos must be submitted to the RCM by 29 October 2021. Late applications may be accepted where places remain. Contact admissions@rcm.ac.uk to check availability before submitting a late application.

More information about auditioning by video

Scholarships

Every student who applies for a place on one of the RCM's performance or composition courses commencing in 2022 will be considered for 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

Admissions and general audition enquiries

admissions@rcm.ac.uk