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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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 35 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.


The fees for international boarding pupils for 2021/22 are: 

  • Junior Instrumental - age 9 to 12  - £38,358 per annum 
  • Senior Instrumental - age 12 to 19 - £41,557 per annum

Fees include tuition, board, accommodation and English as an additional language. (We reserve the right to charge for additional English language lessons if deemed necessary). 

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. 

16 Plus

Advanced Programme 

If you are age 16 to 18 it is possible to join St Mary’s Music School for our two or three year Advanced Programme. We do not encourage applications for one year only. 

When to Apply 

Places at St Mary's Music School are limited and we encourage applications by March of the year of entry. Instrumentalists should offer a first and second study instrument. Composition and/or Singing can be taken as either first or second studies.  

The Application Process – International Applicants

1. Complete our Enquiry Form 

In the first instance you should complete ou Enquiry Form. This allows us to capture the main information about you, including what instruments you wish to study and how we can contact you. 

 2. Visit Us in Edinburgh (Optional)   

Although we know it may not be possible to visit the school before applying we always encourage you to do so. It is a good way to speak to current pupils, parents and of course staff. 

You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Attend an Informal Open Evening– come and find out more about the school through a short presentation and meet current pupils and staff with the opportunity to ask any questions over tea and coffee. 
  • Come to an Open Day – Join us for an afternoon. Take a tour of the school, see classes in action and meet pupils, parents and staff. 
  • Independent Visit – If you can’t make an Open Evening or Day then it is possible to visit on a Monday afternoon, meet our Admissions team, take a tour of the school and have any of your questions answered. 
  • Attend a Concert - Come and see our pupils in a public performance. Register to receive our enews to find out what’s on or visit the What’s On pages of the website. 

And of course your family is welcome too. 

3. Meet Us in Your Country (Optional)

Every year we visit a number of countries to meet with interested pupils and their families and to conduct Advisory Auditions. 

If you are interested in an audition in your country, please get in touch. 

Contact: Fiona Duncan, fduncan@st-marys-music-school.co.uk

4. Complete the Application Form

If you would like to progress your application then the next step is to complete the full Application Form. It asks for more detailed information which we can keep on our system and helps us make sure we send you the correct information at the right time. You should send your completed Application Form to Admissions.

5.  Attend an Advisory Audition or Submit Your Video Recording 

Once we have your Application Form you can request to attend an Advisory Audition in person or, if you live too far away, you can ask to submit a video recording for review online.  Your recording should contain two contrasting pieces on your  first study instrument and one piece on your second study, along with any further items which demonstrate your musical personality. 

These will be reviewed by our senior staff who will provide you with constructive feedback on your playing and will normally propose one of these three outcomes: 

  • recommend you advance to the next stage of a Formal Audition
  • advise that you study and practise further and return for a second Advisory Audition at a later date
  • recommend you consider alternative options to pursue your music.

There is no fee for an Advisory Audition. 

6. Attend a Two Day Stay and Formal Audition 

Choosing to attend a specialist music school is a big decision and we want to make sure that it is the right one for you.  Experiencing life as a pupil and having the time to meet with your teachers and other musicians is a really good way to decide whether this is the right environment for you, and for us to see if you have the commitment, passion and musical potential to flourish. 

If you are successful at the Advisory Audition stage we will ask you to supply references from your school and music teacher and we will invite you to come to St Mary’s Music School for a Two Day Stay. During your stay we will connect you with a ‘buddy’ who will show you around and help you with anything you might need and you will sample life as if you were already a pupil. 

During your stay you will: 

  • have an individual lesson in your first and second study 
  • sit a general academic assessment and an English language assessment
  • take part in a Formal Audition
  • attend lessons
  • meet our pupils and teachers – both academic and music
  • stay in boarding accommodation.

For the Formal Audition you will be asked to prepare a selection of pieces. During the audition the panel will assess your musical ability and potential as well as explore the passion you have to study music.  

At the end of the Two Day Stay the panel will normally propose one of these three outcomes:

  • we offer you a place
  • we advise that you study and practise your music further and apply again at a later date 
  • we recommend you consider alternative options.

There is no charge to attend a Two Day Stay but there is a small fee for the Formal Audition. You will need to cover the cost of travel.  

 Further Questions  

If you have any questions about the admissions process please contact Admissions  tel: (0) (44) 131 5387766 or admissions@st-marys-music-school.co.uk

Online Applications 

If you would like to complete your application online please do so here.
If you would like to make an admissions equiry please do so here.

Download Application Forms

Application forms may be downloaded below or requested from the school. These can be printed off, filled in and returned as hard copies, or completed and returned by email.

Forms should be returned to:

St Mary's Music School
Coates Hall
25 Grosvenor Crescent
Edinburgh EH12 5EL


Application Form (pdf)

Application Form (word)

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Instrumental Learning

Choir School

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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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St Mary's Music School Trust Ltd, Registered No: 54504
St Mary's Music School Trust Limited is a charity No. SC014611
Registered Office: Coates Hall, 25 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 5EL.