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Applying to a Conservatoire - audition questions


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#1 annet

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 16:25

Our son will be applying to University / Conservatoire next academic year. As he plays the pipe organ and this is the instrument he wants to study, we don't have many choices. He meets the academic and music requirements and has been playing at church services / weddings / funerals etc since he was12 (so has the experience) but what we have no idea about is the type of questions he might be asked or how to prepare for an audition.  His school has never had anyone apply to a Conservatoire (it's more into Oxbridge and red brick universities) so we can expect little help there. He's tried looking on Conservatoire websites but (obviously, I suppose) they have little detail on what else to expect other than "prepare a suitable programme of 10-30 minutes". I am hoping that someone else will have more idea about what to expect (even if it's not for the organ).

 

Thanks.


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#2 Banjogirl

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 19:02

Does he have a teacher who could advise? There's nothing to stop you contacting the consevatoires and asking for a bit more information, given that the organ is a bit non-standard. My son has just been through the process and some conservatoires set a test as well as the audition, others don't. Some ask questions and some don't. He could go on Student Room and see if there are exisitng students who could help out too.

 

Fabulous to be doing the organ, by the way.


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#3 Yet another muso

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 19:04

Hopefully others will expand further, but I would say don't overly worry about the interview aspect. It isn't an academically testing interview in the manner of an Oxbridge interview, but instead they just like to take the chance to meet and chat to the candidates. Questions are generally along the lines of asking about your experiences, aspirations and ambitions. Just a way of getting to know you a bit. It does serve an important purpose for them - to get a feel for whether you are well suited to the conservatoire life and can cope with the pressures, and are ready to work and be intensively trained. A screening process that isn't always successful, given the percentage who drop out within a year of starting conservatoire realising it is not for them . . . So it is not an interview that requires real preparation, but candidates should be open, honest and friendly. If they can't imagine enjoying teaching you they are unlikely to accept the student!

 

RAM additionally have a written test on audition day, as do RNCM I believe, but it is only a minor part of the selection process, perhaps only occasionally consulted in a close tie break situation. Really, it all comes down to the playing. And for that my advice can only be very general. Pick a programme that really plays to your strengths, get plenty of performance practise. Also, a consultation lesson or two with different teachers (particularly teachers at the colleges or people who know them) can help hugely. Sometimes simply to get a fresh perspective, and sometimes so someone on the panel already knows you!


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#4 meadowblythe

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 08:15

Have you looked at Open Days?  Some are only once a year so you need to be organised!  But a great opportunity to ask questions about the audition process and get a "feel" for various places (although my daughter changed her mind completely at the last minute.)

 

Interviews tended to be a mix of what your aspirations were, musical interests and at some places feedback on how you had performed at audition.  But more a chance to get to know the candidates.

 

RAM did have a written test and also aural tests, but it was stressed that these were to set you once you were there rather than decide if you were offered a place.

 

Many places do have set works, and they will be on the website now.  Well worth a look.


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#5 annet

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 14:35

Thanks.  I'm just going to politely say that his organ teacher is not exactly encouraging.....(The sort of teacher who had to play all the carols at the Carol Service when he had at least 2 student organists who could have played one)

 

We're  hoping to arrange a consultation lesson with Birmingham Conservatoire (his preferred option) as we were unable to make the Open Day in January and the one in June is in the middle of his Biology Field trip....

 

I'm just hoping that there aren't hundreds of suitably qualified organists his age applying!

 

 


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#6 Banjogirl

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 15:05

My son is going to Birmingham in September, on the cello. He really liked it there and found it much less stuffy than the London colleges. Good luck with everything.


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#7 Saxwarbler

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 21:07

A young friend has just graduated from Birmingham. She's had a fabulous four years and it's been full-on from beginning to end. There never seems to have been a week gone by without she's posted on Facebook of some show, recital or the like that she's been involved with, either performing in her own right or helping out with other students' productions.

When she applied and went for interview she was a little concerned about her predicted A level grades. She and everyone who 'knew about these things' had fingers crossed that the admissions staff would be so astounded by her amazing singing voice that this would get her through. In the end the grades were just about up to scratch and the voice was the scale-tipper. That's all credit to her own determination and dedication and that seems to be the secret of her ongoing success.


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