Congratulations on being offered an audition/interview to study at The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM).

Your audition / interview will be an enjoyable experience so you should not feel at all nervous.

The candidates you are applying alongside are just like you and we are most certainly not looking for perfection. In fact, perfection, especially in the arts, is something that you are always on the road towards but will never achieve as your own standards grow with you, so don’t set yourself that impossible bar, now. Instead, rest assured that we are looking for those people with passion and potential.

We’re looking for diamonds in the rough. We’re looking for people who are ready to learn.

If you’re a musician who needs to brush up on your sight reading, that’s ok. We’ll give you support with that. Or maybe you’re a future business exec who gets nervous about presentations? That’s ok, too.

We’ll give you coaching to make it better. We’ll go above and beyond in our efforts to widen participation in every way possible, for as long as you show strength of character and commitment to your studies.

Through the process, you’ll meet current and prospective students, experience what learning in our unique environment is like with our world-class lecturers and, depending on your chosen study discipline, you will either be asked to perform a musical piece, play us some of your best work and/or speak to us about your career aspirations.  Remember, we want to know you, your historyand all of your ambitions for the future so that we can help join those dots between where you are now, and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

You’ll find more information as to what to prepare by choosing the relevant section, below, and this is now also your opportunity to come forward with any required adjustments to our admissions processes if you’ve got an accessibility or specific learning requirement.

We wish you all the very best with your preparation, but don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling 01483 500 841, using our web chat function or emailing enquiries@acm.ac.uk if you need us, in the meantime.

Audition Guides: 

Applying for a Diploma?
Diploma audition guides

Please select your course discipline.

Vocals – Musician Route

Welcome to the ACM Performance School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

THE AUDITION PIECE

As part of the audition process, you will be asked to perform a prepared piece of music of your choosing that will help us evaluate your level of musical skill. You are welcome to perform your audition to a backing track or with some instrumental accompaniment from either yourself or someone else. If you are auditioning for vocals you are welcome to audition acapella (no accompaniment) as well, if you like. Please ensure that the track you choose to perform showcases your abilities in the best possible way!  We will provide a standard headphone / audio jack to connect your playback device into.

As part of your audition, you will also be asked to perform a few short exercises that will allow us to assess you in the areas listed below.  We encourage you to prepare for this part of the process by brushing up on your technique and practicing all of your usual exercises.

TECHNIQUE / MELODY

On a comfortable starting key and in a tempo of your choice, sing a major scale (ascending and descending). You’ll be required to do this in 3 consecutive keys, ascending by semitones from where you began.  To demonstrate your technique, phrasing, tone and timing, you will be asked to perform a melodic piece of your choosing to a click (suggested 120 bpm, but tempo can be changed if needed).

HARMONY / CHORDS

Using a syllable and tempo of your choice, sing the notes of a major 7 chord, both ascending and descending. You’ll be asked to do this in 2 different keys which will be provided. If you have never done this before, and have learned to sing by ear, then you will be able to find examples of this exercise online.

GROOVE / TIMING

To identify your rhythmic understanding, a single 2 bar rhythm will be played or sung twice. You will be required to correctly clap or sing the rhythm back.

MUSIC THEORY 

You will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of music theory and theoretical concepts. Areas for demonstration and discussion will include intervals, scales and chords as well as broader rhythmic and harmonic content.

Do not worry if you have limited knowledge of music theory, our main aim is to nurture your talent and arm you with the right knowledge and skills to not only successfully complete your degree, but to go on to have a sustainable, fulfilling career. Those with degree standard skill, ability and technicality but identified limited understanding of music theory are either enrolled onto our very own music theory bootcamps, which is completed before you start your course. Or, if you just need a brush-up, a plan of how you will do this will be proposed and agreed upon between yourself and the tutor, then you will be invited to re-audition. We try our utmost to ensure you re-audition with the same tutor to secure a consistent enrolment journey for you.

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Bass – Musician Route

Welcome to the ACM Performance School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

The Audition Piece

As part of the audition process, you will be asked to perform a prepared piece of music of your choosing that will help us evaluate your level of musical skill. You are welcome to perform this with a backing track or with some instrumental accompaniment, from either yourself or someone else. Please ensure that the track you choose to perform will allow you to showcase your abilities in the best possible way!  We will provide a standard headphone / audio jack to connect your playback device into.

As part of your audition, you will also be asked to perform a few short exercises that will allow us to assess you in the areas listed below.  We encourage you to prepare for this part of the process by brushing up on your technique and practicing all of your usual exercises.

Technique & Melody

To demonstrate your technique, phrasing, tone and timing, you will be asked to perform a melodic piece of your choosing to a click (suggested 120 bpm, but tempo can be changed if needed).  This melodic passage can either be derived from scales, a portion of a prepared tune or an improvised passage. What you choose to play must highlight your left-hand and right-hand technique and demonstrate command of your instrument, whilst exploring a good range of your instrument’s register and expressive capabilities. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

Harmony & Chords

You will be asked to perform a chordal passage of your choosing to a click (suggested 120 bpm, but tempo can be changed if needed).  Applicants should outline chordal structures through the use of arpeggios, using passing tones if necessary. This chordal passage can either be derived from chord exercises, a portion of a prepared tune, or an improvised passage. What you choose to play must highlight your knowledge of chord structures and your ability to articulate these with good performance technique. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

Groove & Timing

You will be asked to lay down a groove and time feel of your choosing at a tempo you decide. Your performance should establish a good time feel and groove and must showcase your ability to lock down the time feel with a click. You can choose to perform an exercise, a portion of a prepared tune, or an improvised passage. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

Music Theory

You will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of music theory and theoretical concepts. Areas for demonstration and discussion will include intervals, scales and chords as well as broader rhythmic and harmonic content.

Do not worry if you have limited knowledge of music theory, our main aim is to nurture your talent and arm you with the right knowledge and skills to not only successfully complete your degree, but to go on to have a sustainable, fulfilling career. Those with degree standard skill, ability and technicality but identified limited understanding of music theory are either enrolled onto our very own music theory bootcamps, which is completed before you start your course. Or, if you just need a brush-up, a plan of how you will do this will be proposed and agreed upon between yourself and the tutor, then you will be invited to re-audition. We try our utmost to ensure you re-audition with the same tutor to secure a consistent enrolment journey for you.

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Guitar – Musician Route

Welcome to the ACM Performance School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

THE AUDITION PIECE

As part of the audition process, you will be asked to perform a prepared piece of music of your choosing that will help us evaluate your level of musical skill.  You are welcome to perform your audition to a backing track or with some instrumental accompaniment from either yourself or someone else. Please ensure that the backing track you choose to perform to will allow you to showcase your abilities in the best possible way!  We will provide a standard headphone / audio jack to connect your playback device into.

As part of your audition, you will also be asked to perform a few short exercises that will allow us to assess you in the areas listed below.  We encourage you to prepare for this part of the process by brushing up on your technique and practicing all of your usual exercises.

TECHNIQUE / MELODY

To demonstrate your technique, phrasing, tone and timing, you will be asked to perform a melodic piece of your choosing to a click (suggested 120 bpm, but tempo can be changed if needed).  This melodic passage can either be derived from scales, a portion of a prepared tune or an improvised passage. What you choose to play must highlight your left-hand and right-hand technique and demonstrate command of your instrument, whilst exploring a good range of your instrument’s register and expressive capabilities. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

HARMONY / CHORDS

You will be asked to perform a chordal passage of your choosing to a click (suggested 120 bpm, but tempo can be changed if needed).  This chordal passage can either be derived from chord exercises, a portion of a prepared tune, or an improvised passage. You may lay down some rhythm guitar or outline chordal structures through the use of arpeggios. This chordal passage can either be derived from chord exercises, a portion of a prepared tune, or an improvised passage. You may add riffs, but be sure to include chords as well. What you choose to play must highlight your knowledge of chord structures and your ability to articulate these with good performance technique. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

GROOVE / TIMING

You will be asked to lay down a groove and time feel of your choosing at a tempo you decide. Your performance should establish a good time feel and groove and must showcase your ability to lock down the time feel with a click. You can choose to perform an exercise, a portion of a prepared tune, or an improvised passage. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

MUSIC THEORY 

You will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of music theory and theoretical concepts. Areas for demonstration and discussion will include intervals, scales and chords as well as broader rhythmic and harmonic content.

Do not worry if you have limited knowledge of music theory, our main aim is to nurture your talent and arm you with the right knowledge and skills to not only successfully complete your degree, but to go on to have a sustainable, fulfilling career. Those with degree standard skill, ability and technicality but identified limited understanding of music theory are either enrolled onto our very own music theory bootcamps, which is completed before you start your course. Or, if you just need a brush-up, a plan of how you will do this will be proposed and agreed upon between yourself and the tutor, then you will be invited to re-audition. We try our utmost to ensure you re-audition with the same tutor to secure a consistent enrolment journey for you.

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Drums – Musician Route

Welcome to the ACM Performance School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

THE AUDITION PIECE

As part of the audition process, you will be asked to perform a prepared piece of music of your choosing that will help us evaluate your level of musical skill.  You are welcome to perform this to a backing track or with some instrumental accompaniment. Please ensure that the track you choose to perform to will allow you to showcase your abilities in the best possible way!  We will provide a standard headphone / audio jack to connect your playback device into.

As part of your audition, you will also be asked to perform a few short exercises that will allow us to assess you in the areas listed below.  We encourage you to prepare for this part of the process by brushing up on your technique and practicing all of your usual exercises.

TECHNIQUE / MELODY

To gauge the level of your hand technique, you will be asked to demonstrate Paradiddles, a Double Stroke Roll and some basic Flam and Double-Stroke rudiments across a range of tempos.

GROOVE / TIMING

You will be asked to lay down a groove at 90 bpm. You should aim to establish a good time feel and lock down the groove in time with the click track. You will be asked to play some fills in the form of 3-bars time followed by a 1-bar fill.

STYLES

In order to gauge your level of stylistic ability and understanding, we will ask you to play in a variety of different styles and feels.  Styles you may be asked to demonstrate might include Jazz, Blues Shuffle, Motown, Latin and Funk. Don’t worry if you’re not fully conversant in all of these styles, we just want to establish your current level of ability.

MUSIC THEORY 

You will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of music theory and theoretical concepts. Areas for demonstration and discussion will include intervals, scales and chords as well as broader rhythmic and harmonic content.

Do not worry if you have limited knowledge of music theory, our main aim is to nurture your talent and arm you with the right knowledge and skills to not only successfully complete your degree, but to go on to have a sustainable, fulfilling career. Those with degree standard skill, ability and technicality but identified limited understanding of music theory are either enrolled onto our very own music theory bootcamps, which is completed before you start your course. Or, if you just need a brush-up, a plan of how you will do this will be proposed and agreed upon between yourself and the tutor, then you will be invited to re-audition. We try our utmost to ensure you re-audition with the same tutor to secure a consistent enrolment journey for you.

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Keys – Musician Route

Welcome to the ACM Performance School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

THE AUDITION PIECE

As part of the audition process, you will be asked to perform a prepared piece of music of your choosing that will help us evaluate your level of musical skill.  You are welcome to perform your audition to a backing track or with some instrumental accompaniment from either yourself or someone else. Please ensure that the backing track you choose to perform to will allow you to showcase your abilities in the best possible way!  We will provide a standard headphone / audio jack to connect your playback device into.

As part of your audition, you will also be asked to perform a few short exercises that will allow us to assess you in the areas listed below.  We encourage you to prepare for this part of the process by brushing up on your technique and practicing all of your usual exercises.

TECHNIQUE / MELODY

To demonstrate your technique, phrasing, tone and timing, you will be asked to perform a melodic piece of your choosing to a click (suggested 120 bpm, but tempo can be changed if needed).  This melodic passage can either be derived from scales, a portion of a prepared tune or an improvised passage. What you choose to play must highlight your left-hand and right-hand technique and demonstrate command of your instrument, whilst exploring a good range of your instrument’s register and expressive capabilities. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

HARMONY / CHORDS

You will be asked to perform a chordal / arpeggio passage of your choosing to a click (suggested 120 bpm, but tempo can be changed if needed).  This chordal passage can either be derived from chord exercises, a portion of a prepared tune, or an improvised passage. What you choose to play must highlight your knowledge of chord structures and your ability to articulate these with good performance technique. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

GROOVE / TIMING

You will be asked to lay down a groove and time feel of your choosing at a tempo you decide. Your performance should establish a good time feel and groove and must showcase your ability to lock down the time feel with a click. You can choose to perform an exercise, a portion of a prepared tune, or an improvised passage. No more than 1 minute of music is required.

MUSIC THEORY 

You will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of music theory and theoretical concepts. Areas for demonstration and discussion will include intervals, scales and chords as well as broader rhythmic and harmonic content.

Do not worry if you have limited knowledge of music theory, our main aim is to nurture your talent and arm you with the right knowledge and skills to not only successfully complete your degree, but to go on to have a sustainable, fulfilling career. Those with degree standard skill, ability and technicality but identified limited understanding of music theory are either enrolled onto our very own music theory bootcamps, which is completed before you start your course. Or, if you just need a brush-up, a plan of how you will do this will be proposed and agreed upon between yourself and the tutor, then you will be invited to re-audition. We try our utmost to ensure you re-audition with the same tutor to secure a consistent enrolment journey for you.

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Producer Route

Welcome to the ACM Production School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

What you’ll need to prepare:

You are required to bring to your audition / interview three pieces of audio that clearly demonstrate your abilities as a producer or engineer. These pieces should convey contrasting techniques and may be computer or studio based. If you also have examples of work where you have set audio to video, you may submit such pieces as an alternative to the audio files requested above.

You should bring your audio recordings as an .mp3 / .wav / .aiff filetype and video files as .mov / .mp4 / .m4v on a USB

In your interview we will also assess you on your knowledge of software, studio hardware and common audio production techniques, so arrive fresh and ready to let us know what you know!

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Rap/MC Route

Welcome to the ACM Songwriting and Artistry School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

In your audition:

You will be asked to perform an original piece (of your own writing) over a backing track. Bring something to play the backing track on (like a phone, laptop or digital audio player). A standard 3.5mm headphone/audio plug will be provided to connect your equipment to our amps, but you may need to bring an adaptor if your chosen digital device doesn’t have a standard 3.5mm socket.

After your performance, we will ask you a few questions about how the track came to be written and about your career/music goals.

In addition, we also require you to bring a pre-recorded version of the track for us to listen to. We’re assessing your creativity in this case, rather than your technical production skills, so please don’t worry if you have recorded your track using Garageband or some other generally available software. You can supply this pre-recorded track either on a memory stick or as a link (to be sent to enquiries@acm.ac.uk).

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Creative Artist Route

Welcome to the ACM Songwriting and Artistry School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

In your audition:

You will be asked to perform an original song of your own composition either acoustically, accompanied by an instrument (played by yourself or someone else) or to backing track (preferably self-produced, but not compulsory). Keyboard, headphone/audio jack and amps will be provided.

After your performance, we will ask you a few questions about how the song came to be written and about your career/music goals.

You will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of music theory and aural awareness skills. Areas for demonstration and discussion will include basic intervals, scales and chords as well as basic rhythm and harmony.

In addition, we also require you to bring a pre-recorded version of the track for us to listen to. We’re assessing your creativity in this case, rather than your technical production skills, so please don’t worry if you have recorded your track using Garageband or some other generally available software. You can supply this pre-recorded track either on a memory stick or as a link (to be sent to enquiries@acm.ac.uk).

Our approach is the very opposite of a “one size fits all” philosophy, and our core objective is to help each student find – and express – the very best of who they are as a songwriter, musician and performing artist. We are therefore open to songs in any genre, and would encourage you to choose a song from your repertoire that you feel truly represents who you are.

Do not worry if you have limited knowledge of music theory, our main aim is to nurture your talent and arm you with the right knowledge and skills to not only successfully complete your degree, but to go on to have a sustainable, fulfilling career. Those with degree standard skill, ability and technicality but identified limited understanding of music theory are either enrolled onto our very own music theory bootcamps, which is completed before you start your course. Or, if you just need a brush-up, a plan of how you will do this will be proposed and agreed upon between yourself and the tutor, then you will be invited to re-audition. We try our utmost to ensure you re-audition with the same tutor to secure a consistent enrolment journey for you.

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Technical Services Route

Welcome to the ACM Performance School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

Technical Services applicants will have an interview with an ACM tutor.

In your interview, you’ll talk about your experience working in the following:

  • Backline setup – setting up and tuning drums, setting up guitars and amps etc
  • Audio Setup – working with small PA systems, digital desks, microphones
  • Recording – live and in the studio.
  • Tour Management – organising and planning
  • Live Event management – putting on shows, promoting shows
  • Lighting – design, rigging, desk
  • Crew work – pushing boxes
  • Evidence – do you have any photos or sketchbooks of things you’ve done?

You’ll also be asked about your work ethic and other questions:

  • Can you work long, unsociable hours?
  • Are you organised and punctual?
  • Do you enjoy travel?
  • Do you enjoy live music or theatre productions?
  • Do you have musical/listening skills?
  • What’s been your favourite gig, and why?
  • Do you like the idea of being the new breed of ACM style roadie, that is competent, technically skilled, business savvy, organised and charming?
Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Business & Innovation Route

Welcome to the ACM Music Business School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless world-class musicians who have chosen to train here.

Business & Innovation route applicants will have an interview with an ACM tutor.

Ahead of the interview, we’d like you to submit a 1000 word written overview about your predictions for the live music industry in 2021. Please submit the work at least 24 hours ahead of your interview booking.

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.

Game Development

Welcome to the ACM Game Development School! We are very pleased that you are considering studying with us. In doing so, you are following in the steps of countless creatives who have chosen to train here.

Applicants will have a 1-to-1 interview with an ACM Game Development tutor. Your interview will allow the chance to demo any relevant examples.

Audio; Please bring three examples of audio work – this can be musical or sound effects that you have created.

Programming;  In your interview, get ready to talk about any experience you have of programming, but please note that we do not expect prior experience from our applicants in this area. If you are not already versed in programming, you might want to talk to us about your passion and interest in this area, instead.

Design; In your interview, get ready to talk about any prior design experience you have, but please note that we do not expect prior experience from our applicants in this area. If you are not already versed in design (of any creative or technical media), you might like to talk to us about your passion and interest in this area, instead.

Art; We ask you to bring your portfolio of art work if you have one.

Business; In your interview, get ready to talk about any prior experience you have in the gaming industry, but please note that we do not expect prior experience from our applicants in this area. If you are not already versed in the gaming industry, you might like to talk to us about you passion and interest in this area, instead.

Tell us all about YOU!

More than anything, we want to know about you. We want to know about your history, your ambitions for the future, and we want to work out together how ACM might be able to help you join those dots between where you are now and where you one day want to be, out there in industry.