Lydia Bruton is currently studying BMus (Hons) Music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. She reflects back to when she was a prospective student and gives us the top tips that helped her during her audition and application stages when she applied for her undergraduate course here.
Aah! The scary bit! Well, not as scary as you may think! Preparation is key when it comes to the auditions. The better you know your music the more confident you will feel! Your audition isn’t necessarily about bringing the most intricate piece with monkeys flying out of your trombone or singing the Queen of the Night aria, it is about showing the panel the kind of musician you could be! Perform something you know you do well, especially with your nerves at play. It may also help to bring a friend or parent with you to your audition, for moral support. Make sure you’ve had enough to eat and drink before your audition (bananas are great for calming nerves due to their potassium content!) Look the panel in the eye and shake their hand… remember they are only human beings like you!
What to include in your application
The main thing an application should show us is WHY you want to study at your chosen Conservatoire. It’s your first chance to demonstrate your skills, ambitions, experience, and a little taster of you before being in person with a panel. Tell the panel what interests you about the particular course and why you think it is right for you. What makes YOU suitable for the course? What are your experiences or achievements relating to music? Make sure you include your relevant qualifications, summer school experiences, etc. Even with your application, you want to appear the best you can before your audition. Be prepared, a panel may talk to you about your application during your audition so be ready to show them how great you are!
How to prepare: a 10 Step Guide
- Know your music well for your audition
- Do a practice audition in front of a family member or close friend
- Present yourself in the best way, i.e. a nice dress, suit, or whatever you feel comfortable in that looks smart
- Talk to your music teachers, working professionals, and even get in touch with people at your chosen Conservatoire
- Watch your favourite musicians, remember why you are applying to study music
- Make sure you check your application, even the boring stuff! Your spellings and grammar need to be correct. You want to be taken seriously and show that you’ve put effort into your application
- Visit your chosen Conservatoire on their Open Days to get a feel for your potential environment
- Talk to students at the Conservatoire
- Request for a consultation lesson if you’d like to (I didn’t personally, but I know people have done)
- SMILE AND BE YOURSELF
What personally helped me when applying to the Conservatoire?
As outlined above, being prepared was the best thing that helped me! I read up about the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on their website and attended three Open Days to get a feel for the department I was looking to be in. It’s great to talk to students who study where you’re applying as they will give you different information than websites and so do the teachers! I have had regular singing lessons for many years before applying to the Conservatoire but had more lessons closer to audition time to feel more ready. Think carefully about what you perform and if you enjoy the piece you’re presenting, a panel will see that in your face! Proofread your applications thoroughly and have other people read them too including teachers and family members, to gain their opinion or maybe things you hadn’t thought of saying. Visit the city as well as the Conservatoire to see if you in fact like the place you could potentially be studying at! Finally, enjoy the process! You have worked hard to even get to application-level for the Conservatoire and no matter what the outcome, present yourself the best you can and enjoy the audition performance!
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