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SCO Academy - Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost?

SCO Academy courses are completely free!

What standard do I have to play at?

You should have already reached at least Grade 6 standard for strings, wind and brass, and Grade 5 for percussion.

If I don’t have exam certificates can I still take part?

Yes, as long as we receive a recommendation from your teacher. Please ask your teacher to email Atzi Muramatsu at to confirm that the repertoire we have chosen is of a suitable standard for you.

Do I have to audition?

There are no auditions, but places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

I am a percussionist and I don't have access to my instrument. Can I still join in?

We encourage percussionists to join us whether you have your instrument with you or not. We can give advice on how to create instruments using household items, or you can simply join our discussions about practice methods and audition tips.

How do I book a place?

- Apply online at

- We will email you to confirm your place within a week of receiving your application.

- If your section is full, we will ask if you would like to be added to the waiting list and will let you know as soon as possible if a place becomes available.

What if I can’t join every week?

We expect participants to be able to attend all sessions. The course dates are -

String Academy
Week 1 Sunday 7 March | 2pm – 3.15pm
Week 2 Sunday 14 March | 2pm – 3.15pm
Week 3 Sunday 21 March | 2pm – 3.15pm

Wind, Brass and Percussion Academies
Week 1 Sunday 7 March | 4pm – 5.15pm
Week 2 Sunday 14 March | 4pm - 5.15pm

When will we be sent the preparation materials?

Within two weeks of submitting your application we will send you the preparation materials.

String Academy participants will receive the parts, orchestral excerpts and a link to a video of the course repertoire. This video will also be used in the play-through session in week 3.

Wind, Brass and Percussion Academy participants will receive orchestral excerpts and instructions on how you can inform us which audition piece or excerpt you are planning to bring to the audition preparation session. If you can, you should also submit a video of yourself performing the your audition piece in advance of the course. This helps the tutor to focus on your excerpts during online sessions. We will send you instructions on how you can submit your video.

We will email you instructions on how to access the Zoom session on or before Monday 1 March.

Do I need to learn the repertoire and/or excerpts beforehand?

You should familiarise yourself with the repertoire and/or excerpts, but we don’t expect you to perfect your part before the course.

What do I need to prepare for online sessions?

While any device will work, including mobile phones and tablets, we recommend you use a laptop or desktop computer if available. Before joining each session you need to ensure microphone and camera functions are enabled, have printed parts and a pencil ready on the music stand, your instrument tuned and be ready to play. We will provide you with a guide document on how to set up your Zoom in advance.

Will there be a public performance?

The final String Academy session will involve an online play through to a film of a recent SCO performance. Family and friends are welcome to tune in and join us for a chat afterwards.

There are no public performances for Wind, Brass and Percussion Academies.

Will I be filmed?

We encourage participants to record each session on zoom, so that you can revisit the coaching at a later date.

Screen shots or short clips of the sessions may be used by the SCO and St Mary’s Music School for reporting and marketing purposes only. In accordance with the SCO Child Protection Policy, we will record each session but the footage will not be shared and will be deleted after one month.

What should I do if I need special assistance?

Please email SCO Education Officer Atzi Muramatsu at if you need technical assistance or have any other requirements.