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?
  • Once paid, all fees are non-refundable save at the absolute discretion of Malvern College. All cancellations must be requested in writing and sent via email to [email protected].
  1. When is the final payment due?
  • All payments are due in full by 31 May 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 the 31 January 2021.


  1. When will I hear about my audition date?
  • We will be in touch to confirm audition arrangements in due course once your application has been accepted. All auditions will take place during the Autumn term.
  1. What do I need to prepare for my audition?
  • TWO contrasting pieces, of your own choice, lasting a maximum of 8 minutes. You may bring your own accompanist or use ours. Unaccompanied pieces are acceptable, but pieces which have an accompaniment must be played with accompaniment, as the composer intended.
  • There will also be sight reading, at an appropriate level, and a short viva voce about musical interests and experiences.
  • The audition will last about 20 minutes.
  1. When will I find out if I have been successful?
  • We aim to let everybody know by the end of the Autumn 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, however any audition fee paid is not 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.
  • Yes, we require you to re-audition


  1. Do I need to audition to join the NSSO Chorus?
  • No, we accept applications on the basis of recommendations from music teachers.
  1. Do I need to be having singing lessons to apply?
  • No, we are looking for young singers who enjoy choral singing.
  • Our experienced team of tutors will provide all coaching needed to meet the challenges of the repertoire.
  1. Is there a minimum age or standard to join the chorus?
  • Applications are welcomed from secondary school aged children, age 11-19
  • There is no minimum standard, but an enthusiasm for choral singing is vital.
  1. How does my music teacher submit a recommendation for me to attend the course?
  • Our Artistic Director will contact music teachers (Heads/Directors of Music and singing teachers, if you have one) directly, upon receipt of the application. Please ensure all their contact details are correct when applying, in particular their email address.


  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 applications from keyboard players and singers too.
  1. Do singers have to audition for this course?
  • Yes, as this gives us an understanding of your musical and technical skills so that the course is shaped in the most appropriate way for you.
  1. Will I get to conduct the NSSO ensembles?
  • Yes, but not in public, though you will play or sing 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) and the NSSO Chorus.

NSSO Course Fees 2021 Explained

Philharmonic / Sinfonia / Academy  Residential……………….. £875.00

Philharmonic / Sinfonia / Academy   Non-Residential…..…… £650.00

Chorus                                                    Residential.………….……. £625.00

Chorus                                                    Non-Residential…………. £425.00

Conducting Course                               Residential Only … ……..£950.00

Audition Fee (instrumentalists)                                         £80.00


£75.00 off the above Orchestra & Chorus fees

Only available on applications and deposits received by 31 September 2020.


All new applicants to NSSO will need to undergo an audition. This will be either by attending one of our hubs, via private audition (£80 additional cost) or by a video audition submitted to us. Hub and 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

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