How to apply

Aldeburgh Young Musicians welcomes applications from any young musician aged 10-17, who would like to collaborate with like-minded young people and professional artists.

Applications for 2023-24 entry will open online on 9 January 2023 and close on 01 March 2023.

If you have any questions about AYM; the programme, application process, audition process, or would like us to work with you to remove any barriers to your application, we encourage you to contact for more information.


We pride ourselves on our distinctive audition process which reflects our open-minded ethos – it’s not an exam and we’re very friendly! Our two-stage audition process is led by AYM staff with support from professional musicians, expert accompanists and AYM Alumni, who have all been involved in auditions themselves and know what makes a positive experience.

Preliminary auditions

Preliminary auditions will last for approximately half an hour and are designed to give you time to showcase your potential. Successful applicants will be invited to Snape on either 1st or 2nd May to meet us.

Instrumentalists and vocalists should prepare:

• Two contrasting pieces of up to 5 minutes duration on their first study.

• A selection of scales or exercises appropriate to your instrument and standard. Please bring a list of those you have prepared with you (not applicable to vocalists).

We may also invite you to take part in a short exercise with our specialist in the room, which will involve elements of improvisation or sightreading.

You should expect an informal discussion with the panel to talk about your interests and experiences, what you think your strengths may be, and why you would like to become an Aldeburgh Young Musician.

There will also be an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Composers will be asked to submit a score, or a recording of some of their most recent works as a CD, DVD or MP3 file, before being invited to a preliminary audition. Composers should also be ready to play a prepared piece on their first study instrument, and undertake some sightreading and simple improvisation.

We will provide an accompanist at your audition unless you have specifically requested otherwise. You do not need to provide your own accompanist.

Final auditions

If you are successful in your preliminary audition, you will receive an invitation for a final audition which will take place on either 28th or 29th May 2022. Final auditions involve a whole day at Snape Maltings, Suffolk, working with other shortlisted candidates. You will take part in ensemble and improvisation activities, and you may also be asked to perform your preliminary audition piece again.

We always enjoy meeting new applicants and want this to be a positive experience for you. If you are not successful, we know it will be disappointing, but hope that the experience will have been constructive, and encourage you to take our feedback on board before applying again next year to show us how you have progressed. We always enjoy meeting young musicians who reapply, and many applicants who are unsuccessful the first-time round, are successful when they audition again.

What level do I need to be to apply?

You don’t need to have a certain grade or qualification; whilst we recognise that these give a great sense of musical ability, we don’t want to turn anyone away who has potential but may not have taken an exam. We are a Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) and our remit is to work with young musicians of potential, but we don’t expect anyone to be a musical maestro from day one, after all, we are an artist development programme and want to be part of your musical journey. What we do expect is for applicants to have a clear passion for music, an interest in benefitting from what we offer, and the motivation to develop and become the best they can be.

As a benchmark, we go by ‘a grade a year’, e.g., if you’ve been playing for 5 years, we expect you to be at approximately the grade 5 mark or progressing slightly faster than that. We’re also looking for attributes such as open-mindedness, curiosity, a passion for musical excellence, the drive to innovate with like-minded people, and the ability to question. We want to see an interest in collaborating with, and learning from others, as well as the motivation to practice and develop as a musician. You need to be comfortable with trying something new and to be able to live away from home for several days.