Okay guys, need some opinions here, so last year I applied for harvard, and for a while (years) i have been doing julliards pre college programs and music advancement programs. harvard accepted me, and i deferred the offer for one year to take a gap year, and ive continued doing my music (piano and timpani, mainly piano though), ive played at the highest level of scholastic music, and have joined my citys youth orchestra, now that i am an adult, i have been accepted into their senior orchestra, and it can now be a career, but my parents are split, mum wants me to go to harvard to be safe and get a job, dad thinks my i can take off a musician, and i should go to juilliard. i still do some classes at julliard and my tute thinks i can get in no problems, but auditions arent until september, and ill have to go to harvard this fall, anyway, if music doesnt happen, id declare as a premed major, want to be a psychiatrist 8-) but music is the main passion, anyway guys, what do you think i should do? your answers wont be the be all and end all (obviously) but i want some outsider, non biased opinion, thanks !
I think you should go to harvard. College is different once you're there and you never really know what you'll encounter at Harvard. Plus since you don't know for sure if you'll get into Julliard it is risky. Why not just go to Harvard and still audition? Time constraints?
once i get into harvard i know my parents wont let me leave, partially because we arent getting any need based financial aid, they will be paying up front, works out easier for them, and for future responses, i know there is a risk for acceptance to julliard, and that nothing is guaranteed, but having some of the people running the auditions personally talk to me, and listen to me 1 on 1 (my piano tute in the pre college program is/was one of the judges) , and say that they want me there, for this threads sake, id like you to not factor in the risk of admissions at all when discussing julliard, im looking more for what the pros and cons of all 3 options would be (3rd is no further education and just start playing at the orchestra full time)
anyway thanks for your 2 cents keep em coming guys !
A lot of first-rank musicians have gone to Harvard, among them Stefan Jackiw, Ryu Goto (Midori's younger brother), and of course Yo-Yo Ma, Eliott Carter, and Leonard Bernstein. It's a pretty good place to be a musician, even if you don't do the joint program with NEC.
My son has a good friend who is an excellent musician (violin) and an exceptional student. She enrolled at Julliard. After one year, she ended up enrolling at Yale, but lost the year at Julliard. My understanding was that the music component was fine, but that the intellectual stimulation was lacking. AFAIK, she is still pursuing music at Yale.
My son did a joint concentration at Harvard in music and another subject. His sophmore year he took a music history class. While visiting friends at Julliard, it turned out that one of them was also taking a music history class which covered that same historical period. She was relieved to have finished listening to all of the assigned music. She said it had taken her over 20 hours. My son laughed and said that they had over 150 hours of required listening for his class.
The joint program is fine if you want to continue performing. There are lots of co-curricular opportunities to perform (and more each passing year) but the academic load is significant and the 4 or so hours in the practice room each day isn't practical. Yes, there are exceptions--there is a internationally award winning violinist who is a rising sophomore-- but she music and classes are all she has time to do. The NEC/H program allows more flexibility and encourages--indeed insists (or did) that the applicant NOT major in music at Harvard. The music department was palace where music was seen and not heard but that is getting better-- they have a full professor of composition and are looking to augment in that area and there are a number of excellent composers and conductors amongst the students (Matt Au Coin just graduated and is the conducting fellow at the Met next year) -- my S is a composer and the Harvard Composers Alliance is thriving. In short you can do both but if you just want to go for a performing career Harvard isn't the place for you.
They will grant a second in rare circumstances. We had a friend who actually started at Harvard in September and, as the calendars in British universities are later in starting the Michaelmas term, received a "reserve" spot at a top tier UK medical school in late September (nearly a month into the Harvard term...) (medical education is an undergraduate course in Britain...). He was horribly confused and Harvard told him that if he wished to leave that they would keep a spot for him if he wanted to return in a year--so Harvard is willing in the right circumstance to bend the rules a far way if they wish to do so.
I'm not completely sure but I think I recall he has withdrawn from Harvard.
^Ugh. Retrench's remark is exactly the sort of advice no one should follow, or even consider. It will never be worth four extremely productive, work-filled years of a young person's life, or a quarter of a million of anybody's dollars (the student, his family, or any scholarship fund), to "raise people's eyebrows".
The OP has to decide what education he wants, what direction he wants to head. If what he really wants is what Juilliard offers, Harvard will be at best a waste of time, and at worst destructive of his career. And vice versa. As with any student, the main determinant of the student's success is the student himself, not where he goes to school. He will succeed most if he works hardest at the education that most inspires and challenges him, and makes him feel most himself. No amount of relative hypothetical prestige -- even assuming, for the moment, that Retrench is right, which he quite likely isn't -- is worth putting yourself in a position where you will do less than your best.
The adults on this board -- and most of the Harvard students, too -- know that the "prestige" of Harvard means practically nothing in the lives of its graduates. Harvard is a great, great university, and offers incredible opportunities to its students, but their success depends on what they do with those opportunities, not in any respect on their merely having been there and passed their courses. And if those opportunities are wrong for a particular person, no amount of eyebrow-raising will make them right.