We are accepting applications for boarding and day places for Autumn 2020 entry. 

If you would like to find out more, including information about the Aided Places Scheme, please email admissions@st-marys-music-school.co.uk




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Application Process for Instrumentalists, Composers and Singers - age 9 to 19 

Entry to St Mary’s Music School is the same for all years and age-groups, UK based candidates and International candidates and is based on musical ability and potential. We will consider instrumentalists, singers and composers. 

We accept pupils from Primary 5 (age 9 to 10) through to the Sixth Form (up to age 18).  New pupils can enter the school in all years. 

If you wish to apply you should propose two instruments or specialisms for your first and second study. We accept applications from those who only have one instrument, however, if this is the case then once you are at school here, a second study will be identified in consultation with you, the Director of Music and your parents/guardians.  

For those interested in singing, there are two possible routes into the school, either as a 9 year old day pupil (chorister pathway) or as an instrumentalist (day or boarding) aged typically 13 and above. 

Boarding and Day Places  

We offer boarding and day places. Boarding places are usually open to applicants in S1 (age 11/12) and above. 

Steps to Apply

Stage 1 – Application Enquiry (Digital) 

All applicants must provide a video recording of a performance of one piece on each instrument that is studied.  This piece should be chosen by you and your teacher and represent your best work.   

Once ready, please submit via the Stage 1 Enquiry form on an unlisted YouTube channel. Please ensure that pieces recorded are of performance standard – practice recordings will not be considered. For applicants looking to study Composition, please contact the Admissions Team for application criteria.   

 Our Headteacher and Director of Music will provide advice as to the next best step for your child, including whether they would recommend progressing to the audition process. You will be advised whether you have been selected for the audition process within 10 days of submission of recordings.  

Stage 2 - Advisory Audition (Preferably in person)

Once you have been selected to apply to the School, please submit the full application forms that will be sent to you following the successful enquiry stage. Contact our admissions team for advisory audition dates. You may select between a Digital Advisory Audition, or an in-person Advisory Audition.  Ideally we prefer to meet all candidates, however we are aware that some candidates may not be able to attend in person at this stage.  

For an Advisory Audition, we would ask your child to prepare two short contrasting pieces on their first study instrument, and if they have a second instrument, then a piece on this as well. They are welcome to provide any further recordings/information that demonstrates their musical ability, whether it be a third instrument, a composition, etc. There will be an interview and some simple aural tests.  Feedback will be in person with both the candidate and parents present.   

You will be advised during the audition if the Panel feel that a full audition would be appropriate.  

Stage 3 - Full Audition (In - Person)

This is a full audition stage, where a panel will be present, including the Headteacher, the Director of Music, the Artistic Advisor and a Faculty Specialist. Your child will perform two contrasting pieces on their first study and one on their second. Part of the audition will be working with a School accompanist. There will be a short interview with the panel. The panel will meet following the audition day and you will be informed in writing of the result within one week of your audition. 

Stage 4 - Two Day Stay (In - Person)

A specialist music education is not for everyone, and therefore Stage 4 of the audition process is a two-way process.  If your child is successful at Full Audition, they will be invited in for two days to take part in everyday life at the school.  During this time, they will receive two assessment lessons on their first study, an assessment lesson on their second instrument and an academic assessment. They will likely take part in ensembles, choirs and academic lessons. You will be informed in writing as soon as all lesson feedback has been received and results collated as to whether a place has been offered. We aim for this to be within two days of the end of a Two-Day Stay.    

Consultation Lesson

Following your advisory audition, we might invite you for an online 45-minute Consultation Lesson on your first study instrument with one of our instrumental teachers. This will help give us further insight into your musical ability. 

  • Consultation lessons are a good way to gain valuable advice and feedback on your playing. 
  • The lesson is assessed, following which you will be advised on whether or not a formal audition would be appropriate at this time. 

International Applicants

St Mary’s Music School welcomes instrumentalists, composers and singers from around the world who are passionate about music and wish to study at a specialist music school.  

We accept pupils age 9 to 18 and welcome them as part of our friendly, supportive and inclusive community.  

Boarding and Day Places

Boarding and day places are available. Boarding places are open to applicants age 12 and above. Our boarding house is a comfortable and friendly environment and is in the main building. You will be one of 25-30 boarding pupils and will share a twin room, ensuite. 

Criteria for Entry

Applications are based solely on musical ability and potential but we will also assess your English language level and ask to see current school reports. We may ask candidates to sit a general academic paper to assess knowledge and ability. 

English as a Second Language

We provide lessons in English as a second language (ESOL) as part of our curriculum. There is usually no additional charge for this although we reserve the right to charge additional fees if needed. This will be discussed with you.   

What Instruments do you accept?

Currently pupils study a full range of orchestral instruments along with voice, organ, clarsach, accordion, recorder, bagpipes and composition, but we are happy to accept applications for any instrument.  

If you wish to apply you should propose two instruments, or specialisms, for your first and second study; any instrument will be considered.  For instance, a first and second study might be trombone and composition; piano and flute. If you wish to audition on more than one instrument; one of the studies should be a harmony instrument. 

Points of Entry

We accept applications for any year group dependent on availability, however the usual entry points for international pupils are:  

S1/S2/S3 (Year 8/9/10)  

S5 (Year 12) for two or three years 

S6 (Year 13) for two years.  


Further Information

If you would like to know more about the audition process, or would like to discuss a particular application, please get in touch 


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St Mary’s Music School is one of the nine specialist Music and Dance Schools the UK (and the only one in Scotland)  funded by the UK Government and providing the finest training in Britain. It is a co-educational, non-denominational specialist music school, offering a world class standard of music and academic education to musically gifted children aged 9-19 years. It is also the Choir School of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh. It attracts day and boarding pupils from across Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe and internationally. 

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