Uppingham School’s music and drama Heads Andrew Kennedy and Clare Hayes discuss how to help young children succeed with music and theatre scholarship auditions

It is natural for parents to want to nurture and encourage the talents and passions of their child as they progress to senior schools. Scholarships can be part of this journey and there are a number of key steps which can be taken to help guide a child through the music or drama audition process so that they feel prepared and able to flourish in a new environment.

For many parents, the scholarship process is not only an excellent way for their child to gain recognition for their abilities, but also to identify the support schools offer by way of nurturing, encouraging, and growing a child’s talents as part of their wider educational experience.

Understanding the criteria that the adjudicating panel will be using to make their scholarship decisions is essential in giving your child the best chance of success. For example, alongside requirements such as a grade level on their instrument of choice, the panel may also be looking for a good working knowledge of historical aspects of the pieces your child will be performing. Knowing such details in advance of the audition will help you to prepare your son or daughter effectively.

“Uppingham School advice is to set positive, yet realistic expectations for your child – many scholarship auditions will consist of several different stages throughout the day”

Schools, such as Uppingham, that offer music and drama scholarships will often have an accompanying booklet or information pack which will detail the eligibility criteria for candidates, alongside key information such as what the panel will be looking for and the expectations of a Scholar at the school. It is a good idea to read this in detail so that both you and your child feel you have all the necessary information required to have the best experience possible.

Scholarship auditions can be very daunting for a child. However, as a performer the scholarship process can be an excellent opportunity for children to learn coping methods for nerves and empower them to thrive in an audition environment, as well as providing more live performance experience to support their portfolio. Practice relaxation methods with them such as deep breathing or how to take a quiet moment to collect themselves before entering the audition so that they feel calm and ready to do their best, but also remind them that it is perfectly natural to be nervous. Set positive, yet realistic expectations for your child – many scholarship auditions will consist of several different stages throughout the day, and if your child knows what to expect from each of these stages they will feel more at ease.

Most auditions for musicians and actors will require the child to bring one or two pieces to recite or play in front of a small panel, so selecting pieces in which they are fluent – and pieces they have performed in public before – usually gives children confidence to do their very best on the audition day. Many scholarship auditions also include an interview, and it may help your child to consider how they may answer key questions. However, as parents, it is important to remember that schools will greatly value the child who is able to show flexibility and independence of thought in their responses in an interview.

While scholarship auditions can be an intimidating and nerve-wracking process for pupils and parents alike, it is important to remember that the school seeking talented Scholars through this process is there to support your child every step of the way and help them to succeed.

Uppingham School; uppingham.co.uk

Further reading: How to get your child into a top performing arts school