What are we looking for?

A number of awards are made to candidates who demonstrate exceptional musical potential in at least two instruments, one of which may be voice. Particular consideration will be given to candidates who will be able to contribute to our main ensembles.

As a guide, successful candidates at Third Year (13+) entry are typically between grade 6 and grade 8 distinction standard. For Sixth Form applications, candidates are likely to have been studying two musical instruments to a high level – at least the standard equivalent to grade 8 or diploma level of the ABRSM. They will also have gained experience at county or national level as musicians, whether instrumental or choral.

As well as demonstrating ability on an instrument, any other evidence of musicianship, such as composition, will be taken into account, and candidates will benefit if they have some choral experience.

The Director of Music welcomes informal pre-auditions to advise on suitability and these can be arranged by contacting [email protected].

Scholars’ Programme

Music scholarships at Abingdon enable enthusiastic and committed musicians to gain a high quality musical experience in a vibrant music department. It is expected that Music scholars will participate fully in the wide range of ensembles, concerts and recitals in the school, and play a leading role in the life of this active department. They will be invited to participate in the scholars programme of lectures and dinners, as well as a separate programme of events and trips focused particularly on music.

To support their development as a musician, they will be offered free tuition in up to two instruments by a teacher at the school. The benefit cannot be transferred to lessons taken outside the school’s Music Department.

Previous music scholars have successfully entered regional and national competitions, and played for national ensembles such as the National Youth Orchestra.

At Sixth Form, the department has a long record of successful preparation of candidates for organ and choral scholarships to university and for entry to music conservatoires to study at tertiary level. Recently these have included both organ and choral awards at St John’s College, Cambridge, at Balliol College and Magdalen College, Oxford, and for composition at the Royal Academy of Music.

The 13+ Assessment Process

Third Year (13+) applications are made via your son’s prep school. For internal students, the Master of Scholars and the Director of Music will propose suitable candidates to the Headmaster for consideration. Internal candidates will then follow the same assessment process as external applicants.

Candidates are encouraged to have an informal pre-audition with the Director of Music so that he can advise on suitability and give further guidance about the process. Typically this involves a visit to play informally to the Director of Music in the Michaelmas Term preceding the February audition – but visits at other times are also encouraged.

Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to an audition and be invited to play two contrasting pieces on their main instrument and play one or two pieces on their second instrument (or prepare a vocal solo if the candidate is an experienced chorister).

They will also have an interview with the Director of Music in which they will discuss the pieces they offered at the audition and their wider musical interests and enthusiasms.

The 16+ Assessment Process

For students not at a UK prep school, and for Sixth Form (16+) applications, please contact [email protected].