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Auditions

Auditions for Northamptonshire County Groups and Young Actors Company

Auditions for Northamptonshire County Music Groups, Choirs, Ensembles and Young Actors Company are open to young musicians, singers, and actors in full time education in Northamptonshire.  We also welcome applications from gap year students and from those living in nearby counties.

Our County Groups page has more information of the opportunities available, however auditions are for all the opportunities associated with your instrument or voice, rather than for a specific ensemble or group.

Before you apply, please check the requirements below, which outline the standards expected in each department, and how to prepare.  Members of county ensembles are expected to maintain regular instrumental or vocal tuition to enable continued personal improvement.

Auditions are free to attend. If you are offered and accept a place in one of our county groups, there is a membership subscription – please see the payments page for details.  For those in financial need there is a scheme to offer some assistance with membership subscriptions.

Audition process

In 2022, auditions for County Groups will take face to face once again, for instrumentalists and vocalists, with the full process outlined below.

Applicants for Young Actors Company will be invited to attend an audition workshop in July.

How it will work:

  • Online auditions application form will be available on this page from Tuesday 3rd May, to be completed by Friday 27th May
  • You will receive your audition appointment by email by mid June
  • Auditions take place at NMPAT between 12th – 14th July

We aim to make the audition process as simple and supportive as possible.  Each department will have specific criteria which you will find in the tabs below.  Audition results will be released in early August.  

Audition requirements

Current County Group members

  • The audition will consist of an own choice piece that reflects your current ability
    • Your piece should not exceed 10 minutes and will be unaccompanied
  • You will be asked to play extracts from your current County Group repertoire
  • There will also be a short piece of sight reading

New candidates

  • The audition will consist of an own choice piece that reflects your current ability
    • Your piece should not exceed 10 minutes and will be unaccompanied
  • There will also be a short piece of sight reading
  • Please check with your teacher if you are of an appropriate standard to audition.

Acoustic Classical Guitar (nylon strung ‘classical’ guitar)

Current County Group members

  • The audition will consist of two contrasting pieces that reflect your current ability
    • Your pieces should not exceed 10 minutes and will be unaccompanied
  • You will also be asked to play two scales
    • You can choose and prepare these in advance and you should play one major scale and one minor scale
    • You can choose to play one, two or three octaves

New candidates

  • You are advised to choose classical solo repertoire using standard notation, played on a nylon strung classical guitar
  • The audition will consist of two contrasting pieces that reflect your current ability
    • Your pieces should not exceed 10 minutes and will be unaccompanied
    • As a guide, your pieces should be ABRSM or Trinity grade 2 or above
  • You will also be asked to play two scales
    • You can choose and prepare these in advance and you should play one major scale and one minor scale
    • You can choose to play one, two or three octaves

All candidates

You will be auditioning for one of two guitar ensembles and will be placed according to your ability and suitability.

Some students may be offered the opportunity to work with John Draper, Head of Guitar, as the Tarrega Guitar Quartet. This invitation will come in September and the quartet members will have additional challenging pieces to learn, plus other concert commitments. There is an additional cost for being a member of a quartet.  The Tarrega Quartet is not offered as an alternative to the main guitar ensemble.

Electric and Bass Guitar

Electric guitarists interested in auditioning for jazz groups should see the jazz audition requirements below.  Alternatively, please contact us to apply for one of our NMPAT Contemporary Centres.

All candidates

  • The audition will consist of an own choice piece, which should not exceed 5 minutes in length, and a piece of sight reading
    • It is important that the own choice piece accurately reflects the playing ability of the candidate
  • In addition, candidates may be asked to do other simple exercises to help the panel build a full picture of a player’s ability
  • Places will be offered on the basis of performance at the audition

All candidates

  • The audition will consist of an own choice piece, which should not exceed 10 minutes in length
  • Please note that there are limited options available for piano players in County Groups

Current County Group members

  • The audition will consist of own choice pieces on snare drum, tuned percussion and timpani
    • You can choose to play your choice of drum kit piece if you would like, in addition to the above
    • It is important that all pieces chosen reflect your playing ability accurately
  • All candidates will be asked to sight read a piece on one or more instruments

New candidates

  • The audition will consist of own choice pieces on snare drum and drum kit
    • You may like to offer additional pieces on tuned percussion and/or timpani
  • It is important that the pieces chosen by the candidate accurately reflect their playing ability.
  • All candidates will be asked to sight read a piece on one or more instruments
  • The minimum standard for all new candidates is Trinity College London grade 2 in either orchestral percussion or drum kit, or grade 4 Rock School drum kit.

Big Band, Jazz 2, Jazz 3 and new entry Jazz drummers

  • You will be required to perform two short contrasting pieces on the drum kit that reflect an understanding of Big Band and Swing drumming
  • All candidates will be asked to sight read a “traditional” big band chart and to demonstrate their brushes technique

Current County Group members

  • The audition will consist of an own choice piece that reflects your current ability as well as a scale and arpeggio
    • The lists below provide a minimum expected standard for each age group – you do not have to play the level from your age bracket, but you should play a level that is at least of this standard
    • Your piece should not exceed 10 minutes and will be unaccompanied
  • You will be asked to play extracts from your current County Group repertoire
  • There will also be a short piece of sight reading

New candidates

  • The audition will consist of two pieces that reflect your current ability plus a scale and an arpeggio
    • It would be good if the two pieces were contrasting to show your range of playing but this is not essential
    • The lists below provide a minimum expected standard for each age group – you do not have to play a piece from the level for your age bracket, but you should play a piece that is at least of this standard
    • Your pieces should not exceed 10 minutes and will be unaccompanied
  • There will also be a short piece of sight reading
 
Violin requirements (all scales/arpeggios should be performed with separate bows)
  • Age 11 and under: minimum standard level 2 – any piece from the current Grade 2 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of A major (2 octaves), arpeggio of G minor (2 octaves)
  • Age 12: minimum standard level 3 – any piece from the current Grade 3 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of D major (2 octaves), arpeggio of A minor (2 octaves) 
  • Age 13 and 14: minimum standard level 4 – any piece from the current Grade 4 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of C Major (2 octaves), arpeggio of B minor (2 octaves)
  • Age 15 and 16: minimum standard level 5 – any piece from the current Grade 5 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of G major (3 octaves), arpeggio of C minor (2 octaves) 
  • Age 17 and over: minimum standard level 6 – any piece from the current Grade 6 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of A major (3 octaves), arpeggio of G minor (3 octaves)
  • Level 7: any piece from the current Grade 7 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of B flat major scale (3 octaves),  arpeggio of A minor (3 octaves)
  • Level 8: any piece from the current Grade 8 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of C major (3 octaves), arpeggio of B minor (3 octaves)
  • Level 9: any piece from the current  ABRSM or Trinity Diploma Syllabus, scale of D major (3 octaves), arpeggio of C minor (3 octaves) 
 
Viola requirements (all scales/arpeggios should be performed with separate bows)
  • Age 11 and under: minimum standard level 2 – any piece from the current Grade 2 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of D major (2 octaves), arpeggio of C minor (2 octaves)
  • Age 12: minimum standard level 3 – any piece from the current Grade 3 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of G major (2 octaves), arpeggio of D minor (2 octaves)
  • Age 13 and 14: minimum standard level 4 – any piece from the current Grade 4 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of F major (2 octaves), arpeggio of E minor (2 octaves)
  • Age 15 and 16: minimum standard level 5 – any piece from the current Grade 5 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of C major (3 octaves), arpeggio of A minor (2 octaves)
  • Age 17 and over: minimum standard level 6 – any piece from the current Grade 6 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of D flat major (3 octaves), arpeggio of  C minor (3 octaves)
  • Level 7: any piece from the current Grade 7 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of E flat major scale (3 octaves), arpeggio of D minor (3 octaves)
  • Level 8: any piece from the current Grade 8 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of E major (3 octaves), arpeggio of E flat minor (3 octaves)
  • Level 9: any piece from the current  ABRSM or Trinity Diploma Syllabus, scale of F major (3 octaves), arpeggio of  E minor (3 octaves) 
 
Cello requirements (all scales/arpeggios should be performed with separate bows)
  • Age 10 and under: minimum standard level 1 – any piece from the current Grade 1 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of G minor harmonic (1 octave), arpeggio of C major (2 octaves)
  • Age 11 and 12: minimum standard level 2 – any piece from the current Grade 2 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of G major (2 octaves), arpeggio of D minor (2 octaves)
  • Level 3: any piece from the current Grade 3 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of F major (2 octaves), arpeggio of C minor (2 octaves)
  • Age 13 and 14: minimum standard level 4 – any piece from the current Grade 4 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus: Scale of G minor harmonic (2 octaves), arpeggio of E flat major (2 octaves)
  • Age 15 and 16: minimum standard level 5 – any piece from the current Grade 5 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of C major (3 octaves), arpeggio of D minor (2 octaves)
  • Age 17 and over: minimum standard level 6 – any piece from the current Grade 6 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of D minor harmonic (3 octaves), arpeggio of D major (3 octaves)
  • Level 7: any piece from the current Grade 7 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of  F minor harmonic (3 octaves),  arpeggio of Eb major (3 octaves)
  • Level 8: any piece from the current Grade 8 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of  B major (3 octaves), arpeggio of  F# minor (3 octaves)
  • Level 9: any piece from the current  ABRSM or Trinity Diploma Syllabus, scale of Eb major in octaves (2 octaves), arpeggio of B minor (3 octaves)
 
Bass requirements (all scales/arpeggios should be performed with separate bows)
  • Age 10 and under: minimum standard level 1 – any piece from the current Grade 1 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of G major (1 octave), arpeggio of G minor (1 octave)
  • Age 11 and 12: minimum standard level 2 – any piece from the current Grade 2 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of Bb major (1 octave), arpeggio of Bb minor (1 octave)
  • Age 13 and 14: minimum standard level 3 – any piece from the current Grade 3 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of D major (1 octave), arpeggio of D minor (1 octave)
  • Age 15 and 16: minimum standard level 4 – any piece from the current Grade 4 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of G major to the 12th, arpeggio of G minor to the 12th
  • Age 17 and over: minimum standard level 5 – any piece from the current Grade 5 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of  Bb major to the 12th, arpeggio of Bb minor to the 12th
  • Level 6: any piece from the current Grade 6 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of A major (2 octaves), arpeggio of A major (2 octaves)
  • Level 7: any piece from the current Grade 7 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of C major (2 octaves), arpeggio of C minor (2 octaves)
  • Level 8: any piece from the current Grade 8 ABRSM or Trinity syllabus, scale of  Eb major (2 octaves), arpeggio of E minor (3 octaves)
  • Level 9: any piece from the current  ABRSM or Trinity Diploma Syllabus, scale of G major (3 octaves), arpeggio of  G minor (3 octaves) 

New applicants

Choose any song that you are comfortable singing, either from the list below or one of your own choice that best reflects your ability. 

Current County Choir members 

Choose a song that you feel confident and comfortable singing. This can be from any style but we do recommend looking at the list of suggested songs below, depending on your age and singing level. 

You can perform your audition with or without accompaniment and backing tracks can usually be found on YouTube to support your preparation.  Please contact Beth Hodgson, Head of Vocal Studies, if you need any support: BHodgson@nmpat.co.uk 

NMPAT Singers 

Grades 1 to 5 (more experienced singers may be invited to join the Senior Chamber Choir) 

County Youth Choir 

Grades 6 to 8.  We also run a chamber ensemble called ‘Guys & Dolls’ for those wanting to explore Musical Theatre repertoire. This is via invitation only so please let us know if you would like to be considered for this group. 

Suggested repertoire

  • Grade 1 
    • The second star to the right – Peter Pan 
    • My favourite things – The Sound of Music        
    • My bonnie lies over the ocean – Traditional 
    • Where is Love – Oliver! 
    • The Crocodile – Jenkyns 
    • The Grandfather Clock – Rowley 
  • Grade 2 
    • Who will buy? – Oliver! 
    • A whole New World – Aladdin 
    • Doh-Re-Mi – The Sound of Music       
    • Cockles and Mussels – Traditional 
    • Consider Yourself – Oliver! 
    • Part of your world – The Little Mermaid 
    • Bobby Shafto – traditional 
    • Dalmation Cradle song – traditional 
    • Go tell it on the mountain – traditional 
    • A dream is a wish your heart makes – Cinderella 
  • Grade 3 
    • The Bare Necessities – The Jungle Book 
    • Castle on a cloud – Les Miserables 
    • Maybe – Annie 
    • An Eriskay Love Lilt – Traditional 
    • Greensleeves – Traditional (3 verses) 
    • Santa Lucia – traditional 
    • Any dream will do – Joseph and his technicolour dreamcoat 
    • Wouldn’t it be loverly – My Fair Lady 
    • Moon River – Breakfast at Tiffany’s 
    • The path to the moon – Thiman 
  • Grade 4 
    • Can you feel the love tonight? – The Lion King 
    • The Sound of Music – The Sound of Music 
    • Feed the Birds – Mary Poppins     
    • My love is like a red, red rose – Traditional 
    • Scarborough Fair – Traditional 
    • Colours of the Wind – Pocohontas 
    • Amazing Grace – Traditional 
    • The lark in the clear air – Traditional 
    • Whistle down the wind – Whistle down the wind 
    • Electricity – Billy Elliot 
    • When she loved me – Toy Story 2 
  • Grade 5 
    • Over the Rainbow – The Wizard of Oz 
    • Home – Beauty and the beast 
    • Once upon a dream – Jekyll and Hyde 
    • I dreamed a dream – Les Miserables 
    • Far from the home I love – Fiddler on the roof 
    • I’m not saying a word – Blood Brothers (MALE) 
    • Pilate’s dream – Jesus Christ Superstar (MALE) 
    • Panis Angelicus – C. Franck 
    • Sonntag – Brahms 
    • Sebben Crudele – Caldara     
    •  The Salley Gardens – (Britten arr.) Traditional 
    • How should I your true love know – Quilter 
    • Linden Lea – Vaughan Williams 
    • My House – Matilda 
    • Cold enough to snow – Menken 
  • Grade 6 – Soprano/mezzo 
    • Summertime – Porgy and Bess 
    • Voi che sapete – Mozart 
    • Alma del Core – Caldara 
    • O Holy Night – Adam 
    • Can’t help lovin’ dat man – Showboat 
    • Someone to watch over me – Oh Kay 
    • Wishing you were somehow here again – The Phantom of the Opera     
    • A Blackbird Singing – Michael Head 
    • Don’t cry for me Argentina – Evita 
    • The Willow song – Sullivan 
  • Grade 6 – Alto 
    • Voi che sapete – Mozart 
    • Verdi Prati – Handel 
    • Someone else’s story – Chess 
    • I’m not that girl – Wicked 
    • Dein blaues auge – Brahms 
    • Vittoria mio core – Carissimi 
    • Can’t help lovin’ dat man – Showboat 
    • A Blackbird Singing – Michael Head 
    • Anything Goes – Anything Goes 
    • With one look – Sunset Boulevard 
  • Grade 6 – Tenor 
    • Me – Beauty and the Beast 
    • Where’er you walk – Handel 
    • I got plenty o’ nuttin’ – Porgy and Bess 
    • Not while I’m around – Sweeney Todd 
    • The Sailor’s song – Purcell 
    • Luck be a lady – Guys and Dolls     
    • O mistress mine – Quilter 
  • Grade 6 – Bass 
    • This Nearly was mine – South Pacific 
    • Lost in the Darkness – Jekyll and Hyde 
    • I got plenty o’ nuttin’ – Porgy and Bess 
    • The Impossible dream – Man of La Mancha 
  • Grade 7 and 8 please ask your vocal teacher or Choir Director 

Current County Group Members

The audition will consist of:

  • One own choice piece (up to 6 minutes in length) that best reflects your ability
    • If required, players can make cuts, miss out repeats or choose to play certain sections of their piece;
    • Please note accompaniments or backing tracks are not available
  • Players will be given a short piece of sight-reading
  • Players will be asked to play some extracts from their current County Group repertoire

Players should make sure to choose a piece that they are comfortable with, as they will give a much better impression by choosing a piece at their current level rather than trying to attempt a harder piece. 

New candidates

The audition will consist of:

  • Two own choice pieces (up to 8 minutes in total length) that best reflect your ability
    • If required, players can make cuts, miss out repeats or choose to play certain sections of their pieces
  • Please note accompaniments or backing tracks are not available
  • Players will be given a short piece of sight-reading

Additional information for Jazz Saxophone students: 

In addition to the above requirements, any saxophone student (new or existing) wishing to be considered for a jazz group will be asked to perform a short improvisation. 

Beginner & intermediate players:

Improvise a 12-bar blues in Concert F: 

  • Alto/Baritone:           D – F – G – G# – A  – C – D 
  • Soprano/Tenor:        G – Bb – C – C# – D – F – G   

Advanced players:

  • Prepare and perform two choruses of Autumn Leaves (in Concert G) 

All candidates

  • All applicants should be over 13 years of age on 31 August 2022
  • All applicants, including current members of Young Actors Company and NMPAT Youth Theatre, are invited to take part in a workshop audition on Saturday 9th July
    • The workshop will include a drama warm-up, improvisation workshop followed by an individual audition
  • All applicants will be expected to prepare and perform a scripted piece from a recognised writer – either a dramatic monologue, or a duologue
    • Please note that there is a time limit of 2 minutes

All instrumentalists and vocalists are invited to audition for the World Music Group Zingaresque. Members are usually also members of other County ensembles.

The audition will consist of an opportunity to perform on your principal instrument and demonstrate your interest in the collaborative process of building music from diverse musical influences.

If you wish to be considered for a Zingaresque audition please indicate where required on the audition application form.

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