Frequently Asked Questions

We've tried to answer as many frequently asked questions as possible. If we've missed something, let us know and we  will answer as quickly as we can.

About the Ensemble

About the Grant

Balancing the Ensemble and your Studies

About the Application and Audition

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About the Ensemble:

What is the Ensemble in Residence?

A small group of very talented musicians who play at many high profile events for the University.

Can any ensemble apply?

We welcome applications from all types of ensemble, although please consider whether your group is best suited to playing background music at high profile functions - for example, a heavy metal band is unlikely to be chosen for this reason.

Past ensembles include a saxophone trio, a cappella quintet, jazz sextet, and string quartet.

How good does the group have to be?

We expect a very high standard of our Ensemble in Residence. The overall standard of the group should be excellent; usually each member is at least Grade 8 or equivalent in at least one instrument however this is not a minimum requirement.

This is a professional engagement, and you will be playing at professional events. Many have high profile guests in attendance, such as the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, and other members of the University Executive Board, the President of Council, notable alumni and donors to the University, therefore we expect consistent high quality of performance.

It all sounds very serious, is it?

Not at all, here's what some previous members of our ensembles said about the experience:Small Mine P5

Emily , Perfect Fifth: Being in the ensemble in residence gave us the opportunity to sing in some extraordinary places, like the House of Lords, the Royal Academy of Arts and even our Vice Chancellor's house - not many people can say they've done that! 

Katie, Perfect Fifth: I had an awesome time, getting to perform 60 feet underground in a salt mine was a once in a lifetime experience. Make the most of it! 

I don't know if we are good enough to apply, can you help?

We are happy to meet with your group informally to hear you play and offer feedback. This does not give you any advantage or disadvantage, but will give you an idea of what you need to work on to have a better chance of being offered the position. Even if you follow through with the feedback given, this does not guarantee that the position will be offered to you.

What events does the group normally play at?

There are many different events throughout the year, with Spring term generally being the lightest commitment.

House of Lords Alumni Reception, Vice Chancellors Christmas Drinks for Senior Staff, Staff Summer Celebration, Open days, and many more.

Will the ensemble get paid?

There is a series of events run by the central events team that you are expected to play at throughout the year which you do not get paid for. Instead, the Ensemble receive a grant of £2000 to be spent across the year.

In the past, most ensembles have been hired for external or other departmental events throughout the year. These are not covered by the grant, and therefore most have chosen to charge for these. We can help negotiate a suitable fee for these events, and assist as a point of contact for hire enquiries.

How much assistance will we be given?

Each group is very different and requires different levels of assistance. We are happy to support with mentoring, tuition, studio booking, and as a point of contact for internal bookings. If you need more support or advice, feel free to come and have a chat.

What advice would previous Ensembles give to us before we apply?

Emily, Perfect Fifth: 'Give serious thought to the commitment of being chosen - don't enter the competition lightly.'

Rachel, Perfect Fifth: 'Choose your ensemble wisely - ensure you have full commitment from each member before starting your journey as an ensemble as this can cause problems later.'


About the Grant:

What is the grant?

The Ensemble is allocated a grant of £2000 in return for playing at a number of high profile events throughout the year. The grant can be spent across the year on the musical development of the group.

What can the grant be spent on?

The grant can be spent on anything covered under the term 'musical development of the group'. This is flexible and dependent on the needs of the group. Past ensembles have used the grant for music, tuition and mentoring, professional photography, website, travel expenses, performance outfits, and so on. It is very much dependent on the needs of the group, but we encourage the ensemble to make the most of the grant!


Balancing Ensemble in Residence with your Degree:

How much will this affect my degree?

This very much depends on your own planning and preparation. We expect a professional attitude to all aspects of the engagement, and there is an expectation of regular rehearsals, particularly in the run up to events. It is up to your group to schedule these at convenient times for all involved.

With regards to events, we will not expect you to perform at the same time as an exam. Ensembles in the past have not had insurmountable issues with clashing commitments. We try to give you as much notice as possible for potential performance dates, usually given at the beginning of each term.

Will this be recognised on my transcript?

At this stage, this is not recognised on your transcript, however we are looking into how we might include this in the future.

Ensemble in Residence can be recognised as part of the RED Award.


About the Application and Audition:

How can I apply?

Visit Apply Here and download the application form. Once you've filled it out and written your set lists, come back to that page and upload everything together.

There are examples of everything that you need to submit on that page. 

What happens in the audition?

We will give you a ten minute slot, which will be split into two parts. It's up to you which way around we do it, whatever is more comfortable for you.

A) Performance - Please prepare two pieces to fit the following briefs, and provide us with a score. This is a simulation of the different types of event that you could be asked to play at, so be creative. We want to see how you would perform in these high pressure situations, so be confident, think about stage presence, and concentrate on your technique and accuracy of playing.

Set list - Please prepare two set lists to fit the briefs detailed in the Application Form. Again, this is a simulation of the different types of event that you could be asked to play at, so be realistic about what you can achieve, how long you are able to perform for in one go, the mood of the event and most of all, be creative! We may refer to this in the Interview section, so think carefully about your choices. The Example Set List has a few helpful hints from Perfect Fifth to give you a few ideas.

B) Interview - We will ask you a few questions about the group's past, present, and where you see the group going in the future. Take a look at these Example Interview Questions for an idea of what we might ask you.

When are auditions?

Dates to remember for 2018 applications are:

April 16 2018 - Applications Open

May 11 - Applications Close  

Week Commencing 21 May - Audition Week

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