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Joining us

Frequently asked questions

Entry auditions… questions… here are our answers to the questions we are asked the most frequently. To help us improve our service and keep our website up-to-date, please don’t hesitate to send us your questions at the following address:


Who can apply?

Admission to the LYON CNSMD is by audition. For some courses (writing techniques and composition) preliminary selection is based on the candidate’s written application. Audition sessions are not open to the public.
There are no formal academic requirements for entry at undergraduate level but candidates who already hold a DNSPM, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the specialisation concerned will not be permitted to apply to study in the same area.

For all master’s specialisations taught at the LYON CNSMD, candidates can only be admitted if they already hold a DNSPM or a bachelor’s degree (or a qualification from an institution in France or abroad which is recognised as being equivalent to a bachelor’s degree) in the specialisation concerned.
Preliminary selection at master’s level is based on the candidate’s written application. Successful candidates are admitted after taking an audition in their main specialisation and attending an interview with the panel of examiners.
Doctorate-level programmes are open to candidates who hold either a master’s degree or a master’s level qualification.

What is the age limit?

For music studies at undergraduate (DNSPM), master’s and doctorate levels (Artist Diploma) the age limits for applicants are as follows: minimum 16, maximum 30 (on 1st October in the year the audition is taken).

For dance studies:

  • classical dance: minimum 15, maximum 18
  • contemporary dance: minimum 16, maximum 20 (on 1st October in the year the audition is taken).

Requests for any of these conditions to be waived should be addressed to the Director of Choreographic Studies. There are no age limits for music teacher-training courses or the ‘research and practice’ doctorate programme.

When do I have to apply?

The dates differ from one specialisation to another and can also vary from year to year. The deadlines for applications and the audition dates are announced on the website every year: (mettre page calendrier en lien)..

How can I apply?

All requests for application forms are made online via our website:
Requests received after the deadline will not be accepted.
Application forms (PDF files) are sent to all candidates by e-mail. The candidate must print out the documents and return them before the deadline.

Can pre-registration (request for an application form) only be done online?


How do I pay the registration fees and can I pay them in instalments?

There are three possibilities: cheque, bank transfer and cash. Payment in instalments is not possible.
French students benefitting from a state maintenance grant are given a 50% reduction (on presentation of the official document showing that they have been awarded a grant for the current year)


How are the auditions organised?

For dance courses there is a two-day training period of lessons in classical and contemporary dance with CNSMD teachers.
The preliminary round is held on the third day and consists of lessons before a panel of examiners in both classical and contemporary dance.
The entry audition as such consists of two phases:

  • a classical or contemporary variation, depending on the candidate’s choice of specialisation
  • an improvisation: the candidate listens to several musical excerpts in different styles chosen by the Director of Choreographic Studies and then chooses one for an improvisation which must last no longer than two minutes.

Audition sessions are not open to the public.

For music courses undergraduate auditions consist of two phases:

  • preliminary round:  the candidate performs a set programme which is announced for each specialisation when pre-registration opens. The examining panel then deliberates and decides which candidates to invite to proceed to the entry audition as such.
  • entry audition: candidates who get though the preliminary round perform a programme that usually includes one set piece, which is announced on 1st July for September auditions.

For admission at master’s and doctorate levels the preliminary round is based on the candidate’s written application.
Candidates who get through the preliminary selection process must perform a set programme specific to each specialisation (or a free-choice programme) details of which are posted on the website.

I am applying for a dance course. What should I wear for the audition?

Candidats should wear close-fitting clothes with ballet tights or shorts.

Where can I find the list of set pieces?

The requirements for the preliminary round and entry auditions are published on the day pre-registration opens on the website.


How can I make sure my previous learning experience is taken into account when joining an undergraduate course?

All students admitted to undergraduate courses are registered in the first semester of the first year.
This said, the director can validate credits (ECTS) obtained by the student at a higher education institution in France or abroad, provided that the teaching staff are in agreement.
A committee called ‘Validation des Acquis Antérieurs’ (Validation of Previous Learning) determines exactly what can be recognised by the CNSMD after the students have been interviewed by the Director of Music Studies.
Various test results can also be validated, giving the student a certain number of credits automatically. This in turn means that student will not have to validate as many subjects at the CNSMD.


How much does it cost to study at the Lyon CNSMD?

Students must pay annual fees of €426, €23 for access to the media resources centre and if necessary, the student social security fee of €203, making a total cost of €652 (2011/2012 figures).

How many years does each level take to complete?

Each level is different:

  • undergraduate dance studies (DNSPD) consist of a preparatory year followed by three years leading to the Diplôme National Supérieur Professionnel de Danseur (but the length of the course can sometimes be reduced);
  • undergraduate music studies (DNSPM) normally take three years but can sometimes be completed in two years. A year can be repeated, but only once, because the total length of time taken to obtain the DNSPM cannot exceed four years.
  • master’s studies take two years (no reduction in the length of the course is possible). A year can be repeated, but only once, because the total length of time taken to obtain the ‘grade de master’ diploma (officially recognised as being equivalent to a university master’s degree) cannot exceed three years.
  • the research and practice doctorate normally takes three years. Permission to extend this period by one or more years can usually be obtained by requesting an extension to the time allowed to complete the thesis in accordance with university regulations.
  • the doctorate level « Artist Diploma » normally takes two semesters, but this period can be extended by one or two semesters if the project requires more time to be completed and on condition that the programme of the initial project is adhered to.

Is direct entry to master’s courses permitted?

Direct entry to master’s courses is permitted under certain conditions. The candidate must hold a bachelor’s level qualification in the required specialisation, must be aged less than 30 and must present a certificate of competence in French at B1 level if he or she is not a citizen of a French-speaking country.

Do students at the Lyon CNSMD have student status?

Yes. CNSMD students can benefit from reduced student rates and claim various advantages available to students, such as the state-subsidised housing provided by the CROUS (state student services organisation).

When does the autumn term begin?

The dates are different for musicians and dancers. The Youth Ballet (4th year of dance studies) are the first to go back, at the end of August. The other dancers start the following week, on about 10th September and for musicians term usually begins on the last Monday in September.


Can international students apply to the CNSMD?

An international student can apply in the same way as a French student. However, students admitted to an undergraduate course who are not citizens of French-speaking countries must prove their competence in French on arrival at the conservatory at the beginning of term by means of an official certificate indicating a level of at least A2.
Candidates for master’s courses who are not citizens of French-speaking countries must submit a certificate of French language competence with their application. The certificate, which be issued by an institution officially recognised by the French government, should indicate a level of at least B1.

What are levels A2 and B1?

Levels A2 and B1 are those of the Common European Framework reference scale defined by the Council of Europe.
Level B1 signifies that the student is beginning to be autonomous, is able to deal with most familiar situations and can express and justify an opinion in French.

How do I justify my level?

The certificate must be issued by an institution officially recognised by the French government (e.g. the Alliance Française).


I’m not 18 yet. Can I still apply?

It is possible to apply from the age of 15 for classical dance course and from 16 for music courses. Candidates younger than these ages should send a request for the age limit to be waived to the director.

What happens if my audition falls on a date when I have an external exam (like the Baccalauréat or the Brevet in France)?

This happens frequently for auditions for dance courses, which take place at the end of June and/or the beginning of July. The LYON CNSMD auditions cannot be modified under any circumstances. The only thing the candidate can do is try and get the school authorities to modify their exam dates. The student should support his or her request by supplying a copy of the invitation to the audition.

For dance candidates it is normally possible to obtain permission to miss the training course by sending an explanatory letter, backed with appropriate documents, to the administration of the dance department. However, all candidates must attend the preliminary round of auditions.

Are there any partnerships with secondary schools to help students maintain their school work whilst studying at the CNSMD (with special timetable arrangements)?

There are no special integrated joint courses leading to a special section of the baccalauréat. For dance students the Lycée Juliette Récamier nevertheless arranges special extra tuition for the dance option of the literary baccalauréat, and the Lycée Saint-Exupéry will arrange for students enrolled at the LYON CNSMD to benefit from a timetable in which all lessons are blocked on a certain number of (complete) half days. It should be borne in mind that studies at the LYON CNSMD are full-time and attendance at classes is mandatory.

Is it possible to leave the residence during the normal school day?

Written parental permission must be obtained for under-age students to attend cultural events, even if they take place in the evening. In fact regular attendance at cultural events is highly recommended.


What arrangements are there for housing during auditions?

The CNSMD cannot organise housing during auditions. Candidates must make their own arrangements.

How can successful candidates find housing in Lyon?

Requests can be made for a room in the residence at the CNSMD. In order to do so, successful students should ask the housing office for an application form as soon as they have been accepted. The housing committee meets at the end of September to allocate rooms.

Students applying for a state maintenance grant can request a room in a university student residence when making his or her application to the CROUS.  (lien vers CROUS)

Orgaisations like the youth information centre called the CRIJ (Centre Ressources Information Jeunesse) can provide information and help students find accommodation (


When there are several teachers for one specialisation, can I express a preference? If so, is it always taken into account?

The candidate can express the wish to study with a particular teacher in his or her application. This said, the final decision rests with the director, who allocates the available places after consulting all the teachers of the specialisation.

Does the Lyon CNSMD recognise qualifications obtained abroad at institutions not applying the European LMD system?

Not for the moment

Is it possible to contact a teacher before the audition?

Teachers’ personal contact details are not divulged to candidates. Candidates can nevertheless write to a teacher at the address of the conservatory, and the letter will be forwarded to the teacher concerned.

Where should I go when I arrive at the CNSMD?

Reception will tell you which office you need to report to.