No admissions asessment; 2x interviews
Interview 1: personal statement, music theory; Interview 2: analysis of excerpts, short performance
Listened to the BBC Composer of the Week
Remember that the interviewers are looking for potential, not perfection
Remember this advice isn't official. There is no guarantee it will reflect your experience because university applications can change between years. Check the official Cambridge and Oxford websites for more accurate information on this year's application format and the required tests.
Also, someone else's experience may not reflect your own. Most interviews are more like conversations than tests and like, any conversation, they are quite interactive.
Test taken: none
Number of interviews: 2
Skype interview: no
Time between interviews: 2 hours
Length of first interview: 30 minutes; Length of second interview: 45 minutes
My first interview felt more like a discussion than an interview. I was interviewed by a music
My second interview was rather different. An hour beforehand I had to collect a booklet, which contained 8 musical excerpts and a keyboard exercise. I was told to prepare by analysing 3 of the musical extracts looking for "features of interest" as well as the keyboard exercise during the hour. The majority of the second interview was spent discussing the 3 excerpts I'd chosen, focussing on key musical concepts . It was similar to analysing set works at school, but more detailed. I found the questions challenging, but the interviewer would guide me through the questions, giving me help when he could see I was unsure or struggling. I also performed a short piece on the violin and a short song, although this was optional. I was never asked to perform the keyboard exercise and I did not have to do any aural tests. This interview was also held in the fellow's office, which again was a relatively relaxed setting. I felt more nervous in this interview, as I found the tasks more difficult, but the fact that the fellow interviewing me was so helpful made me feel more at ease.
I prepared for my interviews by using resources such as BBC's Composer of the Week, listening to BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. In addition to this, I read Howard Goodall's 'The Story of Music' and a few newspaper articles on Shostakovich.
I think that the interviewers are looking for potential - not the finished product. They do not expect you to be perfect and get all the questions right. In my opinion they seem to be looking at how you think and solve problems, considering whether you would succeed on a Cambridge course, so try to keep that in mind.