Audition Information

Due to COVID restrictions and to make it easier for those wishing to apply to NSSO, all 2021 auditions will be by video submission.

This page outlines the requirements and guidance for recording and submitting your audition video.

Audition Requirements

To audition for The National School Symphony Orchestra 2021, we need you to send us a continuous, unedited video, up to 10 minutes duration. Please include the following:

  • First 8 minutes: You playing two contrasting pieces.
  • Final 2 minutes: You talking afterwards about your involvement in music and why you want to join the National Schools Symphony Orchestra.


There is no deadline for 2021 applications as auditions are being conducted on a rolling basis. However, the deadline for Bursary applications is 31st March.  If your recording demonstrates that you meet the entrance standard for one of our ensembles you will be offered a place, if any are still available.

The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to be successful.



That all seems simple enough!  But, here are a few guidelines to help you make the best possible recording, in order to do justice to your application.

  • Most smartphones, tablets and laptops will be suitable for making the recording.
  • You can film in landscape or portrait format, but make sure that you are central to the picture – avoid very wide shots with lots of background and you as a small dot in the middle! Take care, too, not to film yourself close to a bright light source.
  • Make sure that you tune your instrument properly before you start recording.
  • Once you start the recording you should not stop it until the end of the audition. The video must not be edited in any way before you submit it.
Music Play:
  • If the composer wrote an accompaniment (e.g. piano) you should perform with it; you can use a backing track if you have one.
  • Announce the name of the composer and the title of the work before each of the two pieces.
  • For a Big Band audition please include at least one piece with swung rhythm.
Talking About Yourself:

After the second piece, tell us something about yourself and your music-making. There is no right way to do this!

You might talk about why you took up your particular instrument; what musical experiences you have enjoyed (or not enjoyed); how you practise; why you chose these pieces; your ensemble experiences; or why you want to come to the UK for the course.

You have two minutes to tell us anything you think is interesting about you as a musician – and you can either read something you have written already or just talk to the camera.

Your talk must not be longer than two minutes.

Checking You’re Happy:
  • When you have finished everything, check that you are happy with your performance and the quality of the recording before submitting it for the audition.
  • In assessing your recording we are looking for your personal musical qualities – technical achievement and expressive understanding – not the production values of the recording.

Technical Criteria

Before submitting your audition video, please check your video complies with the information below:

  • Ensure the file is no bigger than 2GB in size.
  • The file format should be one of the following: .MP4, .MOV, .WMV or .MPG.
  • The video file name should contain the first and last name of the player auditioning and the instrument. E.g. John-Smith-Violin.MP4

Submit Your Audition

When you have recorded your audition and checked you comply with the guidelines and technical criteria on this page, please submit your application using the button below.



If you have any queries or questions about your audition, please contact us via email:


Support Uploading Your Audition

1. After you’ve clicked the ‘SUBMIT MY AUDITION’ button above, click ‘Select files’ on the popup.

3. Wait until your file has been uploaded. A message will appear confirming your submission when it has completed successfully.

2. Choose your audition file, ensure you’ve named it according to the guidelines above and click the ‘Upload’ button.

Congratulations, you have submitted your online audition for NSSO 2021!

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If you have an enquiry about any aspect of NSSO please feel free to get in touch:

NSSO, Malvern College, College Road, Malvern, WR14 3DF

T: 01684 581640 // 01684 581616


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