central ensembles

Membership of our Central Ensembles is via audition and remains free of charge for all students.

Please read the following information before applying for an audition:

  • Audition applications must be made by the parent or guardian of the child wishing to join.
  • Please note: if your child has been a member of certain Central Ensembles for two years then they will need to re-audition in order to keep their place. If you are unsure, please contact the conductor to check.
  • Auditions will take place next term.
  • Applications closed on 6th May. If you apply after this date, we cannot guarantee that you will get an audition.
  • Acceptance of the offer of a place will need to be completed by a parent during the school summer holidays; this will be mandatory for everyone joining an ensemble.
  • We will be in touch again later on in May to confirm the exact time/s and date/s of your audition/s.

Please check requirements using the tabs on this page, before applying for an audition.

Please make sure you follow the instructions on the homepage carefully.

Central ensembles are designed for intermediate through to advanced performers. Ensembles rehearse every week and members benefit from over 100 hours of specialist ensemble tuition.

Entry is via successful audition. Registration will open in April and audition requirements will be published soon. Please see our 2019 Ensembles Timeline below:

Monday 1st April to Monday 6th May – Apply for an audition. There will be a link on our website directing you to the registration page.

Week commencing 20th May – Details of your audition appointment will be emailed to parents (vocal will be earlier).

Sunday 19th May – Workshop audition for Birmingham Schools’ Singers. All day session.

Saturday 8th June – Workshop auditions for Training Wind Orchestra and Junior String Orchestra. Morning only.

Monday 10th June – Workshop audition for Brass Attack South. Evening.

Thursday 13th June – Workshop auditions for Brass Attack North and Training Guitar Ensemble. Evening.

Monday 24th June to Tuesday 2nd July – Auditions for all groups not listed above. These will be weekday auditions, lasting 10 minutes each and scheduled between 1630 and 2030.

Monday 29th July – An email will be sent to parents asking them to check the online portal to receive their results and accept/decline their child’s place in the ensemble.

Friday 16th August – Final deadline for parents to confirm their child’s ensemble place. After this date the place may be offered to a child on the waiting list.

Hover over and click the images to see what Central Ensembles are available.

Auditions start in the summer term. Applications open 1st April.

STRING REQUIREMENTS

Please prepare one contrasting piece appropriate to the entry level of the ensemble you are applying for. Repertoire should be prepared in conjunction with your instrumental teacher and preferably from the ABRSM or Trinity Syllabus.

You are also required to play an ensemble-specific piece, as detailed in the sections below. Click on the relevant link below to download the music.

Symphony Orchestra:

String Sinfonia:

Junior String Orchestra:

Concert Orchestra:

BRASS REQUIREMENTS

Please prepare one contrasting piece appropriate to the entry level of the ensemble you are applying for. Repertoire should be prepared in conjunction with your instrumental teacher and preferably from the ABRSM or Trinity Syllabus.

You are also required to play an ensemble-specific piece, as detailed in the sections below. Click on the relevant link below to download the music.

GUITAR REQUIREMENTS

Training Guitar Ensemble:
Please prepare one piece of approximately grade 2 standard and prepare Carnavalito.

Candidates should pay close attention clear tone production, projection, technical details and expressive details.

Guitar Sinfonia:
Please prepare two contrasting pieces of approximately grade 4 standard.

Where appropriate, candidates should demonstrate effective use of rest strokes and free strokes within the pieces. As well as demonstrating an understanding of form and phrasing, candidates should pay close attention clear tone production, projection, technical details and expressive details.

Candidates may be asked to demonstrate a selection of the following: basic techniques such as free strokes and rest strokes and a two octave C major scale including a position shift.

Guitar Ensemble:
Please prepare two contrasting pieces of approximately grade 6 standard.

Where appropriate, candidates should demonstrate effective use of rest strokes and free strokes within the pieces. As well as demonstrating an understanding of form and phrasing, candidates should pay close attention to clear tone production, projection, technical details and expressive details.

Candidates may be asked to demonstrate a selection of the following: basic techniques such as free strokes and rest strokes; a one octave scale (candidates choice) played legato, staccato and pizzicato; played with natural, ponticello and tasto tone; played in artificial harmonics.

PERCUSSION AND DRUM KIT REQUIREMENTS

All students attending a Central Ensemble audition should present 2 prepared pieces on any combination of percussion instruments (including drum kit).

This can be 2 pieces on the same instrument.

If auditioning for Symphony Orchestra, students must include a timpani piece. Pieces with backing track should be performed with the tracks in the audition.

A CD player/sound system will be provided.

Students will also be asked to play a duet with a member of the audition panel.

Download our duet pieces here.

VOCAL REQUIREMENTS

The audition starts with an introduction and information talk for parents and singers led by conductor Ruth Roberts.

This is followed by a short choral workshop for auditioning singers.

The singers will confirm their contact details before singing to one of the two audition panels in another room. This is less than 5 minutes long and consists of range & pitch tests plus their own choice of song, which has been prepared with their singing teacher.

We always strive to make it a friendly and inclusive experience.

Singers will need to bring music and/or backing tracks with them. Their choice of song can be either Pop/Contemporary/Music Theatre/Folk/Jazz and be well prepared so the panel can hear your vocal range and quality.

WOODWIND REQUIREMENTS

Training Wind Orchestra Workshop Morning:
In addition to the TWO workshop sessions (dates tbc.) please prepare one Grade 3 piece in conjunction with your teacher from the ABRSM or Trinity syllabus.

Concert Band, Concert Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Training Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble:
Please prepare two contrasting pieces appropriate to the entry level of the ensemble you are applying for.

Repertoire should be prepared in conjunction with your instrumental teacher and preferably from the ABRSM or Trinity Syllabus.

All of our ensemble members are nurtured and supported by our skilled professional tutors and conductors, developing their confidence and musical abilities.

Members will also take part in memorable performances on the stages of Birmingham’s most prestigious venues, celebrating their musical achievements to packed audiences.

This is a unique experience that our members cherish and are inspired by.

If you would like to discuss ensembles with us, then please contact us here.

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