Are you looking to study music full time and start a career as a professional artist? Have you thought about attending the BRIT School and wondered how hard it is to get into?
Many people wonder if the BRIT School is hard to get into, and it is, but it’s also worth the effort and competition to get in. It has an illustrious alumni – so who has been to the BRIT School? Many top singer-songwriters, DJs and even actors have attended.
Partially funded by the BRIT Awards, the Croydon-based performing arts school has a wall featuring photos of all its famous alumni, including Amy Winehouse, Freya Ridings and Adele. If you want to join them there, read on to find out how you go about getting a coveted place.
Who has been to the BRIT School?
The BRIT School is a performing arts and technology school based in Croydon, South London for students aged between 14 and 19-years-old. It was built nearly 30 years ago with the help of the Department for Education and the British Record Industry Trust. Teens joining the school at 14 will still study the core curriculum. This includes English, maths and science, giving them the opportunity to ensure they have those vital qualifications alongside studying a performing arts-related subject.
If you follow the careers of well-known artists, you’ll be aware that some got a great head start with quality training programmes. BRIT School is one of the most famous colleges in the country for aspiring singers, actors and dancers and there are a wealth of famous former pupils that attended. If you’re considering a career in the music industry then this is definitely something to think about.
Who went to the Brit School?
Here’s a run-down of the most famous faces who’ve attended The BRIT School.
Probably the most famous singer to have stepped foot inside The BRIT School, you don’t need us to tell you how successful Adele’s career has been. But in case you need reminding, Adele has sold more than 120 million records and is one of the world’s most successful female recording artists. Her third album 25 became the fastest-selling album in UK history with more than 800,000 copies sold in the first week.
#2 Katie Melua
The easy listening/jazz singer was one of the school earliest proteges, with her smooth sound and love ballads.
#3 Kate Nash
The edgy, punky Londoner had a huge hit with her quirky self-penned tune Foundations in the noughties and has been touring internationally for many years.
#4 Freya Ridings
A more recent grad, Freya hit the big time in 2017 with Lost Without You and later with Castles.
#5 Dane Bowers
The singer, songwriter and DJ was part of R&B boy band Another Level in the 1990s, before going on to form high profile collabs with Victoria Beckham and True Steppers.
#6 Rizzle Kicks
Rappers Harley Sylvester and Jordan Stephens both attended the BRIT School and in 2008 they became a duo. They are best known for their singles Down With The Trumpets, Mama Do The Hump and You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.
#7 Jessie J
Jessie first hit the big time in 2011 with her debut single Do it Like A Dude and she has gone on to collaborate with a range of different artists including David Guetta and Mary J Blige. She’s also been a judge on the talent show The Voice.
#8 The Kooks
Three of the founding members of indie band The Kooks went to The BRIT School. Paul Garred, Luke Pritchard and High Harris all attended and went on to join the band which had a string of hits and are still going strong now (although the line-up of the band has changed in that time!).
#9 Amy Winehouse
Best known for her distinctive voice and unusual sound, she was another of the BRIT’s biggest success stories. Amy was one of the UK’s most popular female singer-songwriters but sadly passed away in 2011.
#10 Ella Eyre
She’s worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry and she is another graduate from the school. She went on to collaborate with Rudimental, Wiz Khalifa and Tinie Tempah and in 2015 she was Best Female Singer at the MOBO awards.
#11 Leona Lewis
We all know Leona as the winner of the third series of the X-Factor who went on to break a record for the fastest-selling single download in history. But many don’t know that she attended The BRIT School before she became famous in that audition room.
Is the BRIT School hard to get into?
Most of the applicants live in the Greater London area and some parts of Kent or Surrey. Lots of students get the train to Selhurst Station which is a 5-minute walk from the school. A small percentage of applicants will be considered if they live outside of this area but only if they show unusual merit (up to a maximum of 10% of the intake can be out of catchment students). You will need to show proof of your address during the application stage. However, if you do live further away, don’t let it put you off. There are other options to explore if it’s somewhere you really want to go.
It’s an esteemed school and is free to attend, but competition for places is high, so spend time on your application if you are thinking of going there.
Do you have to audition to get into the Brit School?
It’s very competitive to get a place. If you want to attend you need to apply and then you will need to be interviewed or audition, depending on the course you would like to study. But it is one of the best school’s in the country for performing arts, so it’s definitely something to consider and learn more about. It’s an exciting place to study and to learn more about music.
Audition workshops take place from December to March and it is likely you will hear back about whether or not you have a place within four weeks of your workshop.
You can visit the BRIT school website to find out more information and to apply. There are also open days that you can attend which will give you a chance to visit the school and decide whether or not it’s the place for you.
Is Brit school a college?
You don’t have to wait until you leave school to attend like a college – it offers both school and college level qualifications. You can start at the age of 14 or you can join at 16. More than 1,300 pupils study there and many go on to have successful careers. There is a wide range of different qualifications you can study including GCSE’s, A-Levels and BTEC’s.
There are two intakes when it comes to applying to The BRIT School: Key Stage 4 (age 14-16) and GCSE (age 16-18) and you need to apply for a place in the final school year. So, if you’re in Year 9, you should apply at the start of Year 9, ready to join a year later. If you’re in Year 11, you should join at the start of Year 11 to join a year after that. Applicants who will be 18 at the start of the course will unfortunately not be considered.
Although lots of people associate the school with well-known musicians, that’s not all it’s known for. Many people study to become a music producer, actor, make-up artist, camera operator or work behind the scenes at the theatre. Some go there to study dance and others go there to learn more about the world of gaming and how to become a games-developer. So there are a wealth of different options for different disciplines.
BRIT School – join at 14 or 16 plus
- For 14-year-olds
The BTEC Level 2 Tech Award in Music Practice is equivalent to GCSE 9-4. This is a good course because it will allow you to develop your skills and your knowledge of the music industry. Subjects will include music theory, practical work, MIDI sequencing and composition skills.
- For Post 16
The Music and Music Technology course is the best one for anyone looking to join the industry.
Whether you want to be a performer, producer, songwriter or professional in the music business, this course will help you develop the skills that you need to succeed in the industry within a supportive and creative environment.
The good thing about this kind of course is that it provides an education and a good understanding of the industry that will challenge you and help you to learn more and to succeed.
At Post 16 there are two options for courses:
Music Route: If you are a confident performer and can sing or play an instrument, this is the course for you. It will cover subjects such as music theory, songwriting, music industry, music history, music technology, ethnomusicology (world music).
Music Technology Route: This is more focused around the knowledge of music technology and you will require a portfolio of work that you have created to apply. It will cover subjects such as recording, DAW production, mixing, live sound, composition and performance.
Both courses will offer you a UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music Performance and Production (which is the equivalent of 3 A-levels).
For all ages, there will be regular performance opportunities and students are provided with an understanding of the music industry. It also means that the wide range of career options available to you in the future will be there to see and it will all be done whilst being surrounded by like-minded musicians, which means you all share that same passion and dream.
Brit School application questions
You need to fill in a form if you want to apply. The closing date is either in November or January depending on your age and the whole process takes around 10 months.
You will be asked a series of questions about your strengths and your musical experience as well as the qualities you believe you need to succeed as a serious musician and you will need to provide examples of your experience.
It’s important that you take your time with the application. Sit down and make notes – brainstorm all your experience so far and think about how you achieved it and what it means to you. Your application needs to stand out so it’s vital that you don’t rush it and you really put your heart and soul into it.
BRIT School interview questions
In addition to the written questions, you’ll be asked questions in person, if you make it through to the next stage. Make your qualities stand out – are you organised, committed, focused and motivated? These are all elements that will stand you in good stead. Have a think about why and how you got into music. Who influenced you? What do performing and singing mean to you? Your passion to be an artist needs to be at the forefront of your application so that you are put at the top of the pile.
Is the Brit school free?
This is the best bit – it’s free! That’s why places are hard to come by because so many people want to take the opportunity to further their chances of a successful career in performing arts. But at least if you do get a place, you will know that you won’t be left with large debts to pay at the end of it. The only things you will have to pay for will be trips outside the school which don’t come under the school’s budget. There is no uniform for pupils at The BRIT School.
And it’s not just singers and songwriters who attend The BRIT School. It’s also popular with aspiring actors including Tom Holland who starred as Spiderman and in the 2012 movie Impossible alongside Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts. Stars of The Inbetweeners Blake Harrison and Emily Head also went to the school. So whichever form of performance you want to break into, the Brit School is a superb choice.
- Did Ed Sheeran go to Brit school?
No, but he controversially mentioned the school in his song You Need Me, with the lyric:
“I sing fast… I will blast and I didn’t go to Brit School.” Ed has also received Brit awards – which is where the misconception that he went to the school comes in.
- Does the Brit School have accommodation – is the Brit School a boarding school?
No, but some students stay with host families during the week and go home at the weekend. This gives them the option of studying without having to move away and pay their own rent and take on their own responsibilities.
Are you at the Brit School or have you applied? If you have any tips or suggestions that could help other aspiring musicians hoping to go, please share them below.