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All applications should be sent by email to Alice Herbert. A complete application should include the following:

1. The application form: this should be signed by the applicant’s current Headteacher. If not signed, we would ask for an email acknowledgment from the Headteacher to be forwarded to us, confirming his/her awareness of the application. It is our usual practice to request a reference and school reports from the applicant’s current school, and it is in everyone’s interests if that request does not come as a surprise!

2. Copies of any relevant exam certificates, festival awards etc..

3. References from instrumental tutors, which should provide background information about the suitability of the application as well as the applicant’s attitude to, and aptitude for, learning and practice.

4. YouTube links to video recordings of at least 2 pieces on the applicant’s principal study instrument and at least one piece on any other instrument/s if applicable *, as well as scales/arpeggios on the principal study that reflect the level of repertoire presented. We would also ask the applicants to begin the video/s with a short, spoken introduction of themselves and the pieces they are going to present.
If you are applying to study composition, your application should include at least two written examples of your work. These may be handwritten or produced with Sibelius or similar programmes, but must be submitted as pdf files.
*NB. a second study instrument is NOT a requirement for entry, particularly for pianists. When the principal instrumental study is not piano, and no second study instrument is offered on application, we would normally include piano lessons as a second study when we offer a place, as keyboard skills are essential to building a strong foundation for our students’ musical development.

5. Payment. We are all too aware of the difficulties that many people are facing during the pandemic and so we have reduced the registration fee to £60 (usually £90) for the time being. If the reduced fee is still a barrier to your being able to complete your application, please let us know as soon as possible and we will do our best to help.

Chetham's Big Band performing

Things to watch out for

Some things to consider when recording your applications are:

Set up your space – This means making enough room for you and your instrument. Try not to stand directly under or behind your light source behind you, whether this is a window, ceiling light or lamp. We advise recording in the daylight, and you may also want to increase the brightness of your room with lamps and other light sources. Low light can blur the video. Please make sure that we can see you clearly in the video recording as this helps us to understand and assess the technical aspects of your performance. For example, as well as your posture when playing or singing, it is helpful to see a pianist’s hands on the keyboard, a string player’s left and right hands when playing, a wind or brass player’s arm positions and embouchure.

Sound and video check – Record a short part of the piece you will perform, then review its quality. Continue this, adjusting any microphones and camera until you get the best possible capture with them. Make sure that what you are recording is at the highest possible quality.

Make a backup – When you’ve finished recording your piece or film, take the file and make a copy of it in another device or back it up to the cloud.

Chetham's Big Band performing

Application timetable

Completed applications for September 2021 entry received by:
31st October 2020 will be informed of the outcome of the application by 20th December 2020.
1st January 2021 will be informed of the outcome of the application by 1st March 2021.
1st March 2021 will be informed of the outcome of the application by 30th April 2021.

As the application progresses we may contact you to request an additional video recording, to arrange a 1:1 online instrumental session with the candidate or to interview the candidate. We may also wish to arrange to have a conversation with parents/guardians as part of this process.

Please note that places available to offer to new students are always limited. Any applications completed and received after the 1st January deadline may find that, even if successful, they have to be placed on the waiting list until a place becomes available.

The outcome may be any of the following:
1. An offer of a place.
2. A place on the reserve list*
3. Feedback and an invitation to re-audition again in 1-2 years.
4. An email to inform you that the application has been unsuccessful.

*The list of reserve applicants will be reviewed by 30th April. If we still have places available, these applicants may have their application reviewed and may subsequently be offered a place or invited to submit further audition videos or to update their application for re-consideration.


Once you have been offered a place, you’ll receive an acceptance pack where we’ll collect key information from you, making sure we’re ready for you to join us the following year. You’ll also receive term dates, full terms and conditions, and other details to help you plan your first days at the school. With your acceptance, you’ll be asked to pay an acceptance fee of £145.