Here's what you can expect at your NYCGB audition.

Aim to arrive at the audition venue around 30 minutes ahead of your booked audition time. You'll be met and registered by our friendly audition administrator and shown to a waiting area.

The NYCGB audition accompanist will collect you and take you to a warm-up room. You'll be able to get your voice going and run through your prepared pieces, and then the accompanist will take you to the audition room to meet the panel.

The panel will always include an NYCGB conductor and an NYCGB singing teacher. They'll lead you through the audition so you'll always know what to do next. The panel want you to feel confident and at ease, and they will always be polite and friendly to you.

Your audition will last around 10 minutes in total, and include the following four stages:

1. First prepared piece (Accompanied)
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The first song that you perform is your own choice. It is best to select something that contrasts to the second piece to demonstrate a range of abilities. Your own choice song doesn’t have to be 'classical', but if you choose a music theatre or pop song, you need to demonstrate a strong vocal technique, or potential of one. However, this should be something that you know well and that offers a suitable level of musical challenge, rather than something overly ambitious.

You will only need to perform around a minute of the piece in total and our NYCGB accompanist can help you select the most appropriate minute-long section when you warm-up before your audition.

2. Second prepared piece (Unaccompanied)
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You will sing your unaccompanied song from memory (without a score/music) and we recommend choosing a folksong or an appropriate song specifically composed without accompaniment. Applicants in School Years 9 and above can select a song of their choice. For applicants in School Years 5-8, this must be one of the set pieces listed below (older applicants should feel free to sing one of these too if they wish).

Downloadable scores are provided below and you may sing in a key of your choice.


Scarborough Fair


O Waly Waly


She's Like The Swallow


My Grandfather's Clock


Manx Lullaby


Early One Morning




 The Salley Gardens

3. Vocal Assessment
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After you have performed your two prepared pieces, you may be led through some vocal exercises to demonstrate your tone and range. You may also be asked to perform a section of one of your prepared pieces again after receiving coaching from a member of the audition panel. This will allow us to assess your responsiveness and vocal flexibility.

4. Musicianship tests
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You'll also be asked to demonstrate your musical skills and understanding so ask your school music teacher, choir master or singing teacher to help with your sight reading. The level of challenge will depend on your age and experience. You'll find some helpful examples of previous tests below.

School Years 5-8          



Clap a simple rhythm at sight (see sample tests below)


Ability to sing or name a pitch within the C major scale from a C being played by the examiner


Identify musical symbols and markings such as dynamics, accidentals, key signatures and clefs


School Year 9 and above



Sing a simple melody from sight (unaccompanied)


Identify key signatures up to five sharps or flats


Identify musical symbols and markings. 

Examples of Common Musical Symbols


Accidentals (sharps, flats)

Dynamics (e.g. loud, soft, crescendo)


Articulation (e.g. staccato, accent)

Pitches on the stave


Sing a named note from a given named note e.g.: "This is an F, please sing a Bb above."

Sing a named interval from a given unamed note e.g.: "Please sing a major third down from this note."

Click on the examples of previous tests below so you know what to expect.

2017 Rhythm Reading Test for candidates in School Years 5-8

2016 Rhythm Reading Test for candidates in School Years 5-8

2015 Rhythm Reading Test for candidates in School Years 5-8

2017 Sight Reading Tests for candidates in School Years 9 and above

2016 Sight Reading Tests for candidates in School Years 9 and above

2015 Sight Reading Tests for candidates in School Years 9 and above

Please note: candidates in School Years 5-8 who demonstrate sufficient aptitude may be asked by the panel to sight-sing some notated pitches in a C major scale. Candidates in School Year 9 and above who demonstrate sufficient aptitude may be asked by the panel to sight-sing a reading test in a higher school year. 

Read the most common Auditions questions and answers

NYCGB Auditions Programme Principal Supporter

We are proud that the Royal Albert Hall is the Principal Supporter of NYCGB's Auditions Programme.