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Sending in music (vocal) supplement

powerbombpowerbomb Posts: 3,364Registered User Senior Member
edited January 2010 in Parents Forum
I thought I would post this question on the parents forum because there seem to be many musically knowledgeable and experienced parents here.

I had my interview with a princeton alumna the other day and she strongly suggested me to send in a recording of my singing.

I have been involved with the school's a capella and objectively think I am good enough to send in a supplement, but I do not take an official chorus class at school, so I don't have a music or voice teacher to help me put together a recording.

Can I just use any kind of recording, or is there a special, preferred way to do it??

Do I just record it on a CD and put in a cover and then in an envelope and send it off to the undergraduate admissions office?

I'm new to all this, so any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Post edited by powerbomb on

Replies to: Sending in music (vocal) supplement

  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Posts: 16,193Registered User Senior Member
    Isn't it too late to send a supplement? I think supplements are due by the application deadline.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Posts: 3,038Registered User Senior Member
    Not in all instances. Some schools have one deadline for the application, and a second deadline for mid-year reports, supplements, and so on. Anyway, sending it never hurts.

    You have the right idea here, just make a regular CD, label the CD, put it in some kind of case, write a short note, something like "My name is Jane Jones and I am an applicant for your 2014 class. Please find enclosed my artistic supplement, a recording of my performance of "I am Not Going" from the musical Dream Girls. State University is my top choice and I hope this supplement helps provide you with a more complete picture of who I am and what I think I can contribute as a student at State U. I appreciate your consideration. Sincerely, Jane Jones" And send it.

    It doesn't have to be professional quality, if you have a microphone and access to Garage band, that is probably enough. Or, if your a cappella group has a recording on which you sing the lead or the solo, or if some of your a capella friends want to sing background while you record a solo, you could send that in as well.
  • nightchefnightchef Posts: 1,450Registered User Senior Member
    It might be too late for the formal arts supplement, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's too late for a CD with a brief explanatory note, does it?

    EDIT: SmithieandProud beat me to it.
  • luv2sk8luv2sk8 Posts: 368Registered User Member
    I asked a similar question for music supplement to Harvard. I got the following answer from someone who apparently knows how it works. I'm instested in instrumental, not vocal, but maybe you can take this as a reference -

    "First, it should be a CD, not a DVD or VHS tape. It should not be a CD from a performance you have done. Ideally, it should be a CD taken in a recording studio, or at least with good quality recording equipment in a reasonably good recording space (your living room would not be ideal). It should be only you, or if you are a singer, an accompanyist. The CD should be approximately 10 minutes. Second, your ability should be someone who would be good enough to consider a conservatory or major music department. That does not mean that you *want* to be a music major or to play/sing professionally, but that it might be within the realm of possibility.

    Keep in mind that someone is going to listen to your CD and you don't want to waste their time if your ability is limited. "
  • SkieSkie Posts: 497Registered User Member
    It's a good idea to sing 2 (or even 3 if they're short) selections that are contrasting in style and tempo. And if you're using piano accompaniment, make sure the piano is in tune! This is way more important than fancy recording equipment. Good luck!
  • momof3sonsmomof3sons Posts: 4,835Registered User Senior Member
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Princeton has their own arts supplement form, and it must be POSTMARKED by 1/1. They have very specific requirements for this supplement. http://www.princeton.edu/admission/pdfs/OptionalArts09.pdf
  • violadadvioladad Posts: 6,641Registered User Senior Member
    powerbomb, as an alumna interviewer suggested you send one in, it would not typically override the deadline indicated by momof3sons.

    However, if you have a admissions officer assigned to your file, I would call and ask if an extension is possible. It would depend on your musical accomplishments. An idea of if you would be at the level of a supp having some sway is outlined here http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/738525-how-strong-music-ec.html?highlight=Music.

    There is conservatory level talent in the applicant pool. If you are not of that caliber, then at this point I would let it go.

    Supplement requirements are school specific. Ask if they are unclear, and do not go outside the box unless you have free rein.
  • powerbombpowerbomb Posts: 3,364Registered User Senior Member
    I did call the admissions office and they said they are accepting supplements until Feb. 1. I guess I'll call tomorrow and ask for specifics (if they want separate forms, etc)

    I'm somewhat hesitant now because I don't consider myself to be of "conservatory" caliber. I sing a capella after school with my friends. I have a "good voice" but I have never had professional voice lessons. . . is that what colleges are looking for?

    I was more thinking to submit a supplement as a layer to my application, to show that I do have talent.

    EDIT: Also, I should note that the only extracurricular related to vocal music that I mentioned on the application, is a capella. Other than that, I mentioned my band achievements (which I'm also heavily involved in)

    Should I drop it?
  • violadadvioladad Posts: 6,641Registered User Senior Member
    At Princeton, the bar is set fairly high. The stronger your musical talents, skill sets, and accomplishments are, the more it MAY help to set you apart, or show more depth in your app.

    It's part of you as a "package".

    Average talent should not hurt you, unless an institution states "advanced" or "exceptional" candidates only should submit, but it will probably not sway a decision at Princeton.

    Exceptional ability may be a data point or two, but is typically NOT a major swing factor.

    If you've had professional assessment confirming your talent as advanced or beyond, then it may well be worth it.

    It's a judgment call, especially if you do not have the means of assessing you talent against a national/international talent pool.

    There is no magic answer. Consider also the time required to prepare an adequate recording.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Posts: 3,038Registered User Senior Member
    I think you don't lose anything by sending one in, and you might gain something. You're not trying out for a conservatory program, you're just offering another data point about yourself, who you are, what you love, and what makes you different from the other 2,000 applicants.

    So why not go for it? If singing is something you really enjoy, if it's a talent you have, and you still have time to send in the supplement, why not?
  • powerbombpowerbomb Posts: 3,364Registered User Senior Member
    First, it should be a CD, not a DVD or VHS tape. It should not be a CD from a performance you have done. Ideally, it should be a CD taken in a recording studio, or at least with good quality recording equipment in a reasonably good recording space (your living room would not be ideal). It should be only you, or if you are a singer, an accompanyist. The CD should be approximately 10 minutes. Second, your ability should be someone who would be good enough to consider a conservatory or major music department. That does not mean that you *want* to be a music major or to play/sing professionally, but that it might be within the realm of possibility.

    Where would I get access to a recording studio? I might be able to ask my high school's chorus teacher to see if he can lend me a practice room, but that's about it.

    Also, I don't know if I can get my hands on "professional equipment" but my friend, who submitted an instrumental supplement, just used a a decent recorder.

    Also, like I said, I don't think I'm conservatory-material, but I'm not even applying to a conservatory. Majoring in music is not even in the realm of possibility for me - I simply want them to know that I have more to offer than grades and scores, and that once I get there, I might join their a capella group or other musical clubs. Like violadad said, I'm trying to convey more depth as a person, and not only as an applicant, but that doesn't mean I'm going to pursue music as a career.
  • momof3sonsmomof3sons Posts: 4,835Registered User Senior Member
    powerbomb, have you opened the link I provided in post #7? It is Princeton's own art supplement form, and it asks for very specific vocal recordings.
  • mommusicmommusic Posts: 8,301Registered User Senior Member
    What I am hearing is that you "like" to sing but have never had lessons or a professional assessment of your voice. And if accepted, you "might" join an acappella group.

    I would let it go. You put acappella as one of your HS activities, and they know you can sing a little. You may have a fine natural singing ability, but as far as making a studio recording...that's another level.

    My answer would be different if you had taken lessons, won awards, or sung in a citywide youth chorus for which an audition is required. But if you had, you probably would have been able to judge your own abilities and would have thought of sending a supplement sooner.
  • powerbombpowerbomb Posts: 3,364Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks...! mommusic, point well taken.
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