Helpful information / Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What happens once I have submitted my online application form and paid my deposit?
  • You should receive an email confirming safe receipt for both, please do check your spam email just in case it has fallen in there.
  1. I’m having trouble accessing my online account, what should I do?
  • Please email [email protected] explaining the issue you are encountering, along with details of the web browser and type of device you are using. It may also help to include screenshots.
  1. I have missed the closing date for applications – can I still apply?
  • Please contact us in the first instance. We may have spaces for certain instruments in each orchestra and therefore you may still be able to apply.
  1. If I decide to cancel my place will I get any money back?
  • If the course is cancelled for any reason, your deposit and any fees paid will be refunded in full.
  1. When is the final payment due?
  • All payments are due in full by 1 June 2021
  1. How do I make payments to NSSO?
  • All payments must be paid via your online account and we will notify you when your payment is due.
  1. When should I apply for a bursary?
  • Our bursary application form is available online and you can either complete this and submit with your application or wait until nearer the deadline. If you indicate that you will need to apply for a bursary when you apply, we can remind you to  complete and return this to us before the deadline – please refer to:
  • Our bursary application deadline is 1 April 2021.


  1. When will I hear about my audition date?
  • Due to COVID restrictions, we are not running live auditions for 2021. All auditions are to be videoed and submitted to [email protected] for review by the Artistic Director
  1. What do I need to prepare for my audition?
  • TWO contrasting pieces lasting no longer than 8 minutes and talking afterwards, for no more than 2 minutes, about your involvement in music and why you want to join the National Schools Symphony Orchestra.
  1. When will I find out if I have been successful?
  • We aim to let everybody know before the end of Easter term. At that point, you will be offered a place in the orchestra where we think you will contribute most effectively and happily to the success of the course and the final performances.
  1. Is my deposit refundable if I don’t pass the audition?
  • Yes, your deposit is refundable.
  1. If I pass my audition but decide not to attend do I get my deposit money back?
  • No, if we have offered you a place but you decide not to take this up then your deposit is not refundable.
  1. I was a member of NSSO in the past but did not attend the last course, does that mean I will need to re-audition.
  • As the 2020 residency did not go ahead any members from the 2019 course or anyone who took part in the Digital Celebration or Project Sunrise will not need to re-audition.  
  • If you attended before 2019 we will need to re-assess and you will need to submit a video audition 
  • All members of NSSO will re-audition in 2022 because of the disruptions caused in 2020/21 by Covid restrictions.


  1. Are there any special requirements to apply for a place on the course?
  • No, not with regard to conducting as such. You need an interest and enthusiasm to explore the role of the conductor and to acquire or develop conducting technique.
  • Previous conducting experience is useful but not essential.
  • You will be asked to audition in the same way that instrumentalists do, and the viva voce will be about conducting experiences and aspiration.
  1. Do I have to play an orchestral instrument?
  • No, we welcome all musical applications.
  1. Will I get to conduct the NSSO ensembles?
    • Yes, but not in public, though you will play in the final concert performances.
    • The course is delivered through opportunities to conduct piano and chamber ensembles along with one of the orchestras (as their schedule allows).

NSSO Course Fees 2021 Explained

Philharmonic / Sinfonia / Academy  Residential Only…………………£485.00

Big Band                                                   Residential Only ………………..£950.00

Conducting Course                                 Residential Only ………..……..£950.00


All new applicants to NSSO will need to through the audition process. This will be by a video audition and submitted to us – please review instructions and guidance here. Video auditions are free of charge.

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If you have an enquiry about any aspect of NSSO please feel free to get in touch:

NSSO, Malvern College, College Road, Malvern, WR14 3DF

T: 01684 581640 // 01684 581616

E: [email protected]

Latest News

Watch the Digital Celebration August 20, 2020

Monday 24th August – Friday 28th August NSSO’s three month Digital Celebration will reach its conclusion next week with daily virtual performances on the NSSO YouTube channel, starting at midday on Monday 24 August. Each performance will be part of a short programme featuring guest appearances from a range of eminent musicians, along with a selection of Non-Concert […]


Thanks, and congratulations to the members of NSSO who submitted almost 200 audio and video files to Project Sunrise. Their virtual performance of the opening of Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. Thanks, also to our partners who helped realise the project: Steve Bingham at PartPlay who created the final mix and GoodMusic Publishing who […]

Project Sunrise shines a little light April 8, 2020

For more than 25 years, the National Schools Symphony Orchestra has provided an intensive high-quality orchestral experience for young players aged 9-19. This year, in the face of extraordinary circumstances, we are expanding our activities online to offer all our members the chance to take part in a new experience. With help from our partners PartPlay and Goodmusic, […]