Studying in the Historical Performance department will enable you to further your individual musicianship, instrumental technique, knowledge of historical performance practice and artistic creativity.


Due to COVID-19, if your application requires an audition, the first round will now be by video. For further details please see the video audition section.

These requirements are for students auditioning to start their studies at the Academy in September 2022. Until specified otherwise, these requirements also apply for auditions in future years. Some audition requirements may change: please check back here regularly.

You are welcome to contact the Admissions Team or the department administrator if you have any queries

This year, all studies are initially assessed by video recording.

29 October, 4pm UK time: deadline to upload audition recordings (including the spoken item) into the Acceptd portal, details are on our video auditions page. Also see the deadline information on Your Application.

Following the first round submission, applicants may be invited to attend online Programme Assessments where they can discuss their suitability for their course with Academy staff. Heads of Department may also invite applicants to discuss their application further, either live or online, and to have the opportunity to perform live should they wish to travel to the Academy. All applicants will be considered for a scholarship award, irrespective of whether or not they are invited to an interview or live audition.

Historical Performance audition

In most cases auditions will last around 20 minutes. As time is limited for some auditions, you may be interrupted before you have performed a complete piece.

You may be given sight reading or quick study tests.

Historical Performance requirements

Please prepare two or three contrasting pieces of your own choice, the total time should be between eight and ten minutes of music. The pieces can be recorded as separate videos.

In your spoken item, please tell us about your choice of audition repertoire, what is special about the music, how does it suit your playing and musical taste, and what are some of the decisions you have made in arriving at the performance. Please also upload a written statement with details of about your musical background and the training you’ve had, your musical ambitions and your reasons for applying for your chosen course at the Academy.

The Historical Performance auditions in London have a harpsichord tuned to A=415. We also have a fortepiano at A=430 which can be made available; please contact at least two weeks before the audition if you will need the fortepiano, or a piano at A=440.

For 2023 entry only
If you choose an audition centre in East Asia or Australia, we regret we cannot guarantee that a harpsichord or fortepiano will be available so please contact the local coordinator.

Our New York audition centre does not have a harpsichord or fortepiano, and we cannot guarantee that either instrument will be available at our Chicago centre.

Written work

If you are applying for the MMus, we need one piece of academic written work and a Project Proposal, as described below. Please write in English, even if this is not your first language, we do not accept translations.

Academic work

The academic written work must be on a musical subject and should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length. If you already have a longer piece of work, for example a thesis, please choose a representative extract.

In both the interview and the written work, we will be looking for evidence of your responsiveness and creativity as well as critical engagement, artistic maturity, and basic research and writing skills.

Project proposal

In addition to the written work you should provide a Project Proposal in which you describe your plans and aims for a potential research project. Research projects can be variable in format: common models are a concert with an accompanying written commentary, or a written dissertation.

Your Proposal should address the following questions:

  • What is the subject area (repertoire, perspective) you wish to explore?
  • What sort of structure do you envisage? Would the main project outcome take the form of a concert, or a written piece of work, or something else?
  • How does this relate to your performance or composition interests?
  • How does your proposed project relate to existing work in the field (including concert and performance practices that interest you, and/or published texts)?

At the application stage, the proposal is primarily a way for us to gauge your readiness to undertake a research project. If accepted, you will be not required to keep to your original plan, and in any case we would expect the plan to change significantly as your project develops.

Please bring your written work with you to your audition and hand it to your panel steward. If you are a performer applying by video, you should upload the written work to Acceptd with your recordings.

The decision about whether to offer a place is made primarily on the basis of your performance at the entrance audition

All Master of Music candidates are automatically considered for Master of Arts, so if you are also interested in MA study you should only apply for MMus because there will only be one audition.

If you do not provide the written work and project proposal, or if the assessment at your entrance audition interview is that the work/proposal is not strong enough for MMus entry, or if you simply decide you only wish to pursue MA studies, your application will be transferred to the MA programme.

You are not tied to the programme choice in your application, the programme length and pathway can be discussed and adjusted as appropriate.

Open Days

Our Virtual Open Days are back again in September. Check out all our content on the Open Days Hub.