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What we are about

The Children’s Band is the place to create music, spark imagination and create life-long musical memories. We accept players aged 8 to 13 who are of a Grade 5 standard or equivalent. The 2024 fee for the residential course, which includes all tuition, accommodation and food is £570 (bursaries and leadership grants are also available).

Applying to be a part of this incredible musical experience cannot be easier!

Spark your imagination

The Children’s Band is for children aged 8-14 who play to at least a Grade 5 standard. The band spends a week-long summer residential course studying a wide range of brass band music suitable for our advanced young players. Every year a brand-new piece is written especially for the band. Members receive tuition from the best brass and percussion tutors and perform alongside an exceptional guest soloist at our end of course concert. Whilst not rehearsing, the children are well looked after by a dedicated team of pastoral staff and there are fun and relaxing activities away from rehearsals to help forge new friendships.

Audition for the Children’s Band

Applicants should be 8 – 13 years on the 1st April following the audition and approximately of Grade 5 standard (you are not required to have passed the exam just play to the standard).

Audition requirements

Two short contrasting pieces (one fast and technical, the other slow and lyrical)

To perform two contrasting pieces of approximatelyGrade 5 standard. Percussionists are asked to perform one piece on tuned percussion and one on either snare drum, drum kit or timpani.


To prepare and play from memory, three major, two minor, and one chromatic scale. Which scales are prepared is the candidate’s choice. You may not be asked to play all the scales prepared.

Sight Reading

The assessor will give you a short piece of music to sight-read.

Auditions will normally be in person 

You will be sent a time to arrive at the venue which gives you plenty of time to warm up for your audition. You will be met by a member of the NYBBGB team and shown where to go to get ready for the audition.

Your audition will be with two people (one male, one female) – a specialist brass (or percussion) examiner and an invigilator. At the allotted time you will be asked to play for those carrying out the audition. The examiner and invigilator will likely be one of the many section tutors that we use for our courses, and they will be able to assess if you are ready to be a member of the band. When you have played both your pieces, you will be asked to play some scales of your choice and then asked to play a short piece of music that you will have not seen before. This is called sight-reading and will be of a relevant standard and not too difficult.

After playing you will have a chance to ask the examiner and invigilator questions about the Children’s Band. They will not be able to tell you if you have been successful or not but may give you some tips about your playing.

After your audition is finished you can also chat with a member of the NYBBGB team who met you at the start to ask for more details about the Children’s Band.

As part of the audition, you will be asked to stay for a workshop that will be led by one of the tutors carrying out the auditions. This workshop will be a chance for you to play your instrument again with the other young people who have auditioned that day and will give you more valuable tips about your playing.

After the audition you will receive an email that will let you know how you did. This email will tell you whether you passed, passed with merit or passed with distinction and include feedback on how you performed together with helpful tips on your playing. You will be informed if you have met the overall standard required to be in the band. If you meet the standard, then hopefully you will automatically be offered a place in the band, sometimes however there are no vacancies for your particular instrument and you may be put on the ‘waiting-list’, but we do try and offer everyone a place if we can. Sometimes, (especially if you are quite young) we will ask you to re-audition the following year to try and improve your position on the ‘waiting-list’.

Online auditions

In certain circumstances, for example if you live a long way from our audition centres or if you have mobility issues, we can offer an online audition. You will be asked to provide, in advance, video recordings of your two pieces, so that they can be assessed as if you were in the room. You will then be asked to sign up for an online meeting which will consist of you the scales and the sight-reading element of the audition.

Audition FAQs

We’ve pulled together a list of common audition questions about the audition process.
When and where are auditions held?

Auditions are free. You may apply for an audition through our website anytime between 1st May and 31st July.

Auditions are held at several centres across the UK during the Autumn term.

We will agree the exact time, date and location of your audition with you by the end of August. We prefer auditions to be face to face, however we can offer an online audition to anyone who finds getting to an audition centre difficult because of distance or mobility issues (please contact us to discuss this further).

We will let you know the outcome of your audition by the third week of December.

What pieces should I play?

There is no set list of pieces but we ask that you choose contrasting music that can show off your skills both technically and musically. If you are working on grade exams some of the music for these may be a good place to start. Always ask your teacher for some advice too.

What should I wear?

You are not expected to be in full concert dress for the audition but a smart look always give a good impression. Above all make sure you are comfortable.

What’s the role of the invigilator?

he invigilator’s primary purpose is to ensure that the audition is conducted in an appropriate manner in line with the set criteria. Key responsibilities of the invigilator are:
1. To ensure that there is no malpractice during the audition.
2. To ensure that the audition is carried out in line with the specified criteria. 3. To ensure any reasonable adjustments to the audition room to meet the requirements of the candidate.
4. To provide support to the candidate where necessary should an emergency arise e.g. sickness, fire evacuation.
5. To answer any queries that a candidate may have about the audition process and to explain what the examiner may be doing whilst they are playing e.g. looking at their phone or laptop for the purposes of marking and note taking, and to generally put the candidate at ease.
6. To ensure the safety and well being of the candidate throughout the audition.

Do you have any tips for online auditions?

When you are recording your pieces try and go for them in one take. If you make a mistake carry on until the end and then decide if you would like to record the whole piece again. Please do not edit together small sections to make it look like you have played the piece perfectly as this does not give a full reflection of your playing and we can spot the join! For the audio it is better not to stand too close to the device you are using to video and do not point your bell directly at the microphone as this can cause some distortion.

What if I don’t get in?

If you are not successful in getting a place in the band please do not be disheartened. The feedback you receive from the tutors on the day and in the email will give you some idea of what you need to work on. You will always be able to audition again as long as you are still in the age range for the band. If you are unhappy with the audition process you may appeal, you can find out how to do this in the information pack.

What if I’m not happy with the outcome of my audition?

To ensure fairness and consistency our auditions are undertaken by an independent specialist brass examiner and an invigilator (one male and one female). If you feel that the outcome of the audition is wrong or unjust you should appeal in writing, stating your full grounds of appeal, to the Director of Artistic Planning, Dr. Robert Childs, within one week of the date on which you were informed of the decision. Once the Director of Artistic Planning has considered your appeal, he will contact you to arrange a time to discuss his findings and decision. This will normally be within seven days after we receive the written notice. If you raise any new matters, we may need to carry out further investigation. On completion of any investigation the Director of Artistic Planning will contact you to arrange a time to discuss his findings. This will normally be within seven days. The Director of Artistic Planning will either

● confirm the original decision of the assessors;

● confirm the original decision of the assessors with qualification;

● revoke the original decision of the assessors;

His decision is final and will, together with his reasons, be sent to you (and the Chief Executive Officer for information).

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