Vacancies for musicians
We hold informal auditions for freelance dance accompanists for classes and exams at RAD headquarters, or for regional courses and exams around the UK.
There are two kinds of audition:
- For newcomers to playing for dance who have up to 12 months experience
- For experienced dance musicians with several years experience
The audition process below is for ballet accompanists, but we also need pianists for contemporary, musical theatre, singing, creative dance and repertoire workshops. If you have skills and experience in these or other areas, let us know.
Type 1: audition for a pianist with up to 12 months experience
The audition consists of the following:
- Short piano solo (own choice): Prepare a piece of 2–3 minutes duration, or a 2–3 minute section of a longer piece that you enjoy playing, and which allows you to demonstrate the range of your technical and expressive skills.
- A sight-reading test: We will ask you to play at sight a piece that is typical of the kind of repertoire you would expect to encounter as a ballet accompanist. Examples might be from our syllabus, or from the ballet repertoire. See links under 4 and 5 below.
- Syllabus knowledge test: We will ask you to play extracts from a grade in the RAD syllabus of your choice. Music for the RAD syllabus is available from the RAD Enterprises online shop.
- Examples of what you play for class: We will ask you to play an example of the repertoire or improvisations that you would play for different sections of the class such as skipping, ports de bras or particular allegro steps such as sautés.
- Examples of dance rhythms: We will ask you to play short examples of various dance rhythms such as habañera, mazurka, polonaise, Viennese waltz. If you need help sourcing examples, see our page on finding sheet music for ballet online. For a quick, rough guide to different dance rhythms, download our dance rhythm cheat sheet.
Type 2: Audition for a pianist of several years experience, including vocational level classes
This audition consists of:
- Class. We will arrange for you to accompany a full classical ballet class lasting about an hour and a half.
- Syllabus spot-check on any known syllabus. Music for the RAD syllabus is available from the RAD Enterprises online shop.
- Examples of dance rhythms. After the class, we will ask you to play examples of dance rhythms that did not feature in the class. These might include habañera, mazurka, polonaise or Viennese waltz. If you need help sourcing examples, see our page on finding sheet music for ballet online. For a quick, rough guide to different dance rhythms, download our dance rhythm cheat sheet.
We are looking for:
- a secure piano technique
- the ability to cope with the unexpected, e.g. sight-reading or free (non-syllabus) class work
- knowledge and understanding of the RAD syllabus and its music
- knowledge of dance rhythms, and ability to play or improvise examples
- the ability to provide suitable, varied music for free class work
- rhythmic clarity and consistency, especially when playing introductions, and
- the ability to work with others, for example, responding to indications of rhythm, tempo and dynamics from a teacher.
- RAD Dance School: classes for children from pre-school age upwards. They are generally syllabus-based and cover both Graded and Vocational work leading to examination. Classes are held on weekday evenings and Saturdays during term time.
- Graded Examinations at RAD headquarters in London: there are three examination sessions a year at headquarters, and teachers have the option to book a pianist through the RAD.
- UK Vocational Graded Examinations: examinations are held each year at RAD headquarters as well as in regional centres throughout the UK. Find out more about RAD exams.
- Faculty of Education Programmes: our Faculty of Education needs pianists to play on the following programmes: BA (Hons) Ballet Education, Professional Dancer's Teaching Diploma, Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies, Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance. Mainly free work, but also some syllabus. Find out more about our programmes of study.
- Teachers' Courses and Continuing Professional Development (CPD): syllabus or free work.
- Student Courses: can include syllabus coaching or repertoire workshops. Summer schools and performance courses will consist of activities such as ballet, creative dance, repertoire and character (theatrical presentation of national dance styles) and usually culminate in a performance or short demonstration of work to parents and fellow students at the end of the course.