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Midwest LAC where strong flutist (non-music major) has shot at playing in ensembles

jspy16jspy16 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
I'm trying to identify small and academically strong liberal arts colleges in the Midwest where I would have a realistic opportunity to play my flute in big or small ensembles even though I won't be majoring in music so won't be able to compete with the flutists who will be practicing 3 hours (or more) a day. I plan to major in biology or another science field where I'll need to put in long hours in the lab. But I love music, have a great flute, and am first chair in a really strong high school symphonic band (better than many college bands). We practice A LOT and play demanding music. Here's my dilemma. If I choose a college with a well known music program (e.g., Oberlin or Lawrence), I fear that I won't get a chance to play since flute is so competitive and there will be plenty of flutists who are majoring in performance to fill the available seats in the ensemble. On the other hand, if I choose a college that doesn't have much of a music program, I may find that there aren't opportunities to play at all or that I'll be disappointed since I come from such a strong high school band. This doesn't seem to be the kind of topic that can be researched on a college's website. Anyone have information that will be helpful or ideas for how to research this? I'm a strong student (34 ACT and very high GPA) so I think I will be able to get in to most of the midwest LACs. Thanks.
Post edited by jspy16 on

Replies to: Midwest LAC where strong flutist (non-music major) has shot at playing in ensembles

  • dfbdfb Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Take a look at College of Wooster in Ohio. It has a strong enough music program to offer a bachelor of music degree (as well as the BA/BS degrees). However, unlike Oberlin the music scene is not dominated by aspiring professional musicians. It has a large and spirited band (kilts and bagpipes), a more serious wind/brass/bagpipe ensemble that goes on tour each Spring, and a small flute choir attached to the studio. There is also a city orchestra. Facilities are nice with an excellent recital hall.

    Our third daughter went to Wooster. She had taken lessons and played flute throughout high school. Although she never had any intentions of continuing on in music, she did want to keep it up in college. She was very pleased with the opportunities (doing the band, touring with the wind ensemble, playing in the flute ensemble, and being a part of a couple of recitals). There were certainly other more accomplished flutists but she always felt appreciated for what she could contribute.

    The other aspect about Wooster which I found wonderful is their IS (Independent Studies) program that requires all seniors to complete a substantial independent research thesis under the guidance of a faculty member. This seems to be the main focus of faculty work/research and is a tremendous growth experience for students. It is extremely well supported with a dry run project done in the junior year. Nobody gets overlooked there; the downside for some is that you cannot hide. An excellent school that treated us very fairly with respect to financial aid.

    Good luck..
  • boysx3boysx3 Registered User Posts: 5,164 Senior Member
    A few years ago, a friend's daughter went to Lake Forest outside of Chicago. She played clarinet. She was able to find a lot of opportunities to play in various community ensembles up and down the whole north shore as well as on campus. She loved the small LAC feeling while having access to such a fantastic city and all it had to offer, from the arts to the internships.
  • stanatedjstanatedj Registered User Posts: 488 Member
    Truman State University in Missouri is a strong LAC that has open ensembles.
  • 11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    I'd suspect you'd qualify for participation in most ensembles in most LACs other than Oberlin. Being in/near a major city would be generally helpful. Carleton, Macalester and St. Olaf all offer strong teaching support from professional Minnesota Symphony professionals that often work as adjuncts. St. Olaf has the strongest music tradition of the three, though vocal, not instrumental, based. All would seem great considerations.
  • momrathmomrath Registered User Posts: 5,976 Senior Member
    If you are open to venturing outside of the midwest, I'd look at Williams. Wide and deep music and arts environment, many performance opportunities even for non-majors. Excellent biology and music departments. Double majoring is common.

    Also Wesleyan (the one in CT) for many of the same reasons.
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