The first step is to enter one of the Regional Festivals organised by Music for Youth. Enjoyable and educative events in their own right, it is from them that groups are chosen for the National Festival of Music for Youth, which is held over several days at the South Bank in London at the beginning of July. Selection for the Proms is made from participants at the National Festival.
A teacher who has had groups in the festival and also been an adjudicator says: "groups which make it all the way to the Albert Hall have to be musically excellent. There other considerations however - the Proms programme has to be varied across musical styles and age groups for example. So in my experience, the groups that do well are not only musically as good as possible, but have also thought about visual impact and the way their personality comes across to the audience. It's good, too, if there's real creative input from the children - this is an educational enterprise after all. And don't worry if you feel limited by resources or specialist skills. Something simple, well presented and from the heart will always be well received."
Entry forms for the 2004 Festival are now in schools. You can enter via the website, or Tel: 0208 870 9624. This year's schools proms details: www.mfy.org.ukeventsschoolsprom