Selection of pupils to the School is by a series of auditions, which seek to assess musical ability and identify outstanding potential. An invitation to a full audition at the school will follow a preliminary assessment by the Director of Music.
For the preliminary assessment applicants are usually asked to submit a DVD or CD recording of contrasting pieces of their own choice played on their first instrument. However, for those candidates who live reasonably close to the School, the Director of Music may be able to arrange to listen to a prospective candidate in person at the School.
At the full audition, which is always conducted at the School, applicants are asked to play two contrasting pieces of their own choice from different stylistic periods and undertake sight-reading and aural/oral tests. They will also be interviewed, with their parents, by various members of the School staff, including the Headmaster, Director of Studies, Houseparents and Senior School Nurse.
For the final stage of the selection process, candidates are invited to the School for a three-day stay during which they take part in the life of the School and have instrumental and academic lessons before a final decision is made. Candidates who have travelled from outside of Europe may be invited to stay for three days at the full audition stage.
No formal academic assessment takes place, although applicants are inevitably assessed informally during the academic lessons which they attend. However, the decision whether or not to offer a place is based purely on the School's assessment of musical potential and the candidate's desire and suitability to undertake a specialized course.
During the interview with the Headmaster, the matter of funding will be discussed. The Headmaster will let parents know what funding might be available and try to gain some indication of parents of how much they are able to contribute. Parents should note that help towards the fees comes in the form of a means-tested bursaries based on financial need rather than scholarships based on any kind of ranking of ability.