Young Musician Support Award Scheme

How YMS can help YOU...

Once a year, YMS holds auditions to find North Devon’s outstanding classical music students. The students must be aged 8 or over but under the age of nineteen and should have been studying for at least a year. They must show commitment and enthusiasm, as well as being gifted and talented in their instrument of choice.  YMS advertises the auditions in the local press as well as seeking nominations from schools and music teachers.

Applications can be made via the online form (click here to apply) or by post.  The form asks for contact information and details of the candidates’ musical experience.  There are also some questions for the parent/guardian.

YMS selects candidates to audition based on the information provided on the form plus a reference from the student’s teacher or school.

Auditions are held in the Music Department at West Buckland School which offers facilities unavailable elsewhere locally, including practice rooms with pianos where the candidates can warm up, and a recital room with a grand piano for the auditions. There is also space for the parents and candidates to meet one another. If transport to and from West Buckland is an issue, please let us know as we may be able to help.
YMS is very grateful to West Buckland School for the use of their Music Department practice and recital rooms.  

Candidates are auditioned by a panel of professional musicians, led by YMS Chairman and Artistic Director Ambrose Miller with YMS Performance Mentor, Emma Collingham.  A piano accompanist will be available if requested.  The candidate will be expected to play a couple of short contrasting pieces and to tell the panel a bit about themselves.

While the candidate is auditioning their parent or guardian is invited to take part in an informal chat with other members of the YMS committee to discuss the family situation, the degree of financial need and the use to which an award would be put.  No documentation is required.

YMS Awards

YMS awards are modest but effective. Over the last few years YMS has been able to award an average total of £3,500 giving financial support to some twenty young people. Happily, a relatively small sum can enable a fifteen minute lesson to be increased to half an hour, a broken instrument to be repaired or a young musician to join in at a music residential and experience ensemble playing for the first time – all potentially life-changing.

Financial help is only one way in which YMS helps the young musicians of North Devon. We have also arranged:

  • Free tickets to classical concerts
  • The chance to work with visiting artists
  • Masterclasses with top musicians
  • Formal performance opportunities
  • Music events in the open air

Application for Awards 2023/24

  1. Applicants must be aged 8 or over but under 19 on 1st September 2024
  2. The closing date for applications is 4th November 2023.
  3. Teacher’s references should be received no later than 11th November 2023.
  4. Applicants will be informed of the time of their audition no later than 18th November 2023.  An early or late time slot may be requested.
  5. Auditions will be held at West Buckland School on Saturday 25th November 2023.
Candidates at Prep Test, Grade 1 and 2 or equivalent standard may be auditioned at a later date in the Spring Term.

The Audition & Award

The audition itself will take 10-15 minutes according to grade. Candidates will be asked to perform two short pieces, including an accompanied piece if appropriate. They may also be asked to play scales etc at their grade level. An accompanist will be available on the day and the candidate will need to supply the music in advance. Teachers are usually most welcome to attend and to accompany if this is preferred.

The auditioning panel  will be looking for real potential and/or outstanding ability, together with enthusiasm and a broader interest in classical music beyond the chosen instrument. It is important that the candidate’s teacher or referee can confirm these attributes.

Whilst the student is auditioning, the parent(s) or guardian will be invited to discuss the student’s specific needs with members of the YMS Committee. No documents are required but please be prepared to talk about financial matters. Applications for awards are dealt with in the strictest confidence. No information provided to YMS will be disclosed to any other person or organisation

Candidates will be notified of the result by e-mail or post within a week or so of the audition. The award may be paid in two instalments to aid YMS cash flow. In the event that no award is made, YMS will make a contribution towards the expense of attending the audition.

The financial award is only one aspect of the YMS scheme which aims to develop the awardees’ broader experience through attendance at concerts, opportunities to perform and participation in workshops and masterclasses. Awardees are expected to get involved in these activities and payment of this or subsequent awards may reflect the degree of commitment shown through the year.