Secondary School Music Scholarship Repertoire

Musical Aptitude Test - Specimen test paper (answer sheet)
MAT – Specimen paper answer sheet

We have created a target set of training materials for the Music Aptitude Test in conjunction with music technology experts. These sample tests are created in line with the MAT syllabus and will help you prepare for the test. Our test materials  Blank test sheets and answers are available to download on our dedicated Music Aptitude Test web site.

It’s the time to be thinking about pieces to learn for October auditions to Southwark secondary schools such as Kingsdale and Haberdasher’s. Here’s a collection of pieces that my students have played for various auditions over the past few years. I always try to pick pieces that are slightly off the beaten path so that you will not be playing something from a current exam list. The worst thing to do at an audition is to turn up clutching a graded exam book. It doesn’t show that you have thought creatively and come up with a special piece to present. Chances are loads of other candidates will play the same piece too and that won’t make you stand out. Feel free to bow before and after your performance and always make eye contact with the people in the room. Enter the room confidently and with a big smile on your face, even if you are so nervous that you feel a bit queasy! These are all entirely normal feelings to have when faced with an audition, interview or public speaking. All of these things are what you go through on the audition day!

Debussy’s The Snow is Dancing:
I was a massive Debussy fan when I was about age 10. A lthough I have long since grown out of his music, I return to it time and time again for my students as it is a very popular choice with ages 10+. My interest first started with Children’s Corner, from which this lovely little piece is taken. The sheet music is here.

John Field’s Nocturne no.5
An achingly beautiful piano piece. Make sure you choose a contrasting piece that is uplifting and lively if you play a softer piece such as this.

Shostakovich’s Lyrical Waltz (Dance of the Dolls)
A pretty waltz around Grade 5 in difficulty.

Debussy’s Le Petit Negre:
A jolly little cake-walk. Don’t be deceived by the childish melody, it’s fiendish to play! This comes recommended by a teacher from a Junior Conservatoire as a brilliant audition piece for 10/11 year olds. The sheet music is here.

Karen Tanaka’s Wild Water Buffalo:
This beautiful contemporary piece will be a great discussion point as it’s written by a female Japanese composer who is still alive. Approximately Grade 4 in skill. The sheet music is here.

Debussy’s Passepied:
The final movement from the Suite Bergamasque, a Passepied, opens with a staccato left hand thats bounces along below a colourful melody line. The demands of the leaping left hand and the 3 against 4 will provide much food for thought for any pianist! This is the most challenging piece that we are preparing for the audition. The sheet music is here.

Bartok’s Rumanian Folk Dances:
Bartok wrote so much piano music that is accessible for intermediate level pianists. His folk music is highly evocative and perfect for young pianists to demonstrate their range of musical interpretation. The sheet music is here.

Ginastera’s Sadness
Ginastera is one of my all-time favourite composers, so whenever a student wants to learn his music, I am over the moon! This is one of his more easiest pieces in terms of the notes, although the expression requires a lot of skill. The sheet music is here.

Christopher Norton Rock Prelude
Norton is a British composer. His rock preludes are a fantastic collection of pieces from Grades 5 to 8 level approximately. Here’s two of the easier preludes. These are softer ones, but some of them are very fast and ferocious! The sheet music is here.

Laura’s Theme by Craig Armstrong
An easy piece from contemporary Scottish composer, Craig Armstrong. Check out his collection of pieces entitled Piano Works – the whole book is very beautiful and unusual. Lots of pieces are taken from films.

Liszt’s In festo transfigurationis domini nostri Jesu Christi
Liszt is known for his showmanship and writing some of the most difficult piano music in existence. However, not all of his music is hard to approach. This beautiful 2 minute piece was written in the later years of his life and has a deeply contemplative mood to it. It’s really not too difficult to play as long as an octave hand span and a light touch comes easily to you. The sheet music is hard to find so leave a message below if you would like a copy.

Tchaikovsky’s Seasons: July (Song of the Reaper)
Something slightly harder, around Grade 6. The sheet music is here.

Contemporary Music from Steven Cravis. Sheet music available here to download.
Just one of Steven’s many pieces. A little bit Einaudi-ish for my liking but very popular with my students! Not difficult at all, around Grades 3 – 4.

Read more online:
Tips for the Audition
Choosing the Right Audition Pieces
Acing the Music Aptitude Test (MAT)
Coping with stage fright


About Lorraine

Music & Kimchi
This entry was posted in Haberdasher's Askes, Kingsdale Foundation School, Piano lessons, Schools and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Secondary School Music Scholarship Repertoire

  1. Pingback: Music Scholarships for Secondary Schools: Information about the MAT (Music Aptitude Test) | SE22 Piano School

  2. Pingback: BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG: How much is a Music Scholarship worth? | SE22 Piano School

  3. Pingback: BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG: Music Scholarship Auditions – Hints and tips on helping you achieve success at your audition. | SE22 Piano School

  4. Pingback: Musical Aptitude Criterion for Haberdashers’ Aske & Kingsdale Foundation School | SE22 Piano School

  5. Pingback: Music Scholarships: What is the Musical Aptitude Test (MAT)? | SE22 Piano School

  6. Pingback: Secondary State School applications via a Music Scholarship place | SE22 Piano School

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