Assessment by individual audition can seem daunting, so we always aim to make the process friendly and helpful. Our panels want to test your current ability, but they are also looking to see evidence of potential and your readiness to learn.

We encourage all candidates to thoroughly read all of the information and guidance on this page.

Watch the NYCGB Auditions Guide

Have you watched our handy Auditions Guide? We created it to give you an overview of what to expect in your NYCGB audition and how to prepare - but do make sure to read all the information on this page too!


You will have time to warm up your voice and to rehearse with the official NYCGB accompanist before you audition.

Each audition lasts up to ten minutes and will include:


1) First Prepared Piece
2) Second Prepared Piece
3) Vocal Assessment
4) Musicianship Tests

First Prepared Piece (accompanied)

The first song that you perform in your audition is your own choice. It is best to select something that contrasts to the second piece to demonstrate a range of abilities. 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 the official NYCGB accompanist can help you select a suitable section when you rehearse before your audition.


Second Prepared Piece (unaccompanied)

Please note: from 2017, we will expect applicants to sing their Second Prepared Piece from memory (without a score/music).

For applicants in school years 5-8, the unaccompanied song must be one of the set pieces listed on the right.

Downloadable scores of each are provided at the bottom of the page and candidates may sing their selected song in a key of their choice.

Applicants in school years 9-13 up to the age of 22 may sing any unaccompanied song of their choice. We recommend choosing a folksong or an appropriate song specifically composed without accompaniment (this may include one of the set pieces listed).

A.  Scarborough Fair
B.  O Waly Waly
C.  She's Like The Swallow
D.  My Grandfather's Clock
E.  Manx Lullaby
F.  Early One Morning
G.  Greensleeves
H.  The Salley Gardens

Vocal Assessment

After you have performed your songs, you might be asked to do some vocal exercises to demonstrate your tone and range. You also may be asked to perform a section of your prepared pieces again after receiving coaching from one of the audition panel.


This will enable us to assess your responsiveness and vocal flexibility and may include rhythm, sight-reading, and/or musicianship tests.

Musicianship Tests

All candidates will be tested on their musical skills and understanding. The level of challenge will depend on the age and experience of the candidate. Please come prepared and don’t just tell the audition panel that you are not good at sightreading!

Candidates in school years 5-8 who demonstrate sufficient aptitude may be asked by the panel to take some of the tests for those in school year 9 and above.

School years 5-8          
1)  Clap a simple rhythm at sight
2)  Pitch any note within the C major scale from the tonic
3)  Identify common musical symbols and markings



School year 9 +
1) Sing a simple melody from sight (unaccompanied)
2) Identify key signatures up to five sharps or flats
3) Identify musical symbols and markings

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."


Sample Rhythm Reading Tests (years 5-8)



Sample Sight Reading Tests (year 9 +)



What Are We Looking For?

Above all, we're looking for singers with vocal and musical potential who demonstrate:


1) A naturally free and expressive voice / a voice with latent potential
2) Good communicaton skills in performance
3) Quick responses and learning ability
4) Musical skills and understanding of a suitable level



Unaccompanied songs to download

Youth Music