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I want to double major in performance and engineering

Richd128Richd128 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hi, I'm just finishing my junior year of high school and am beginning to look at colleges and universities to attend after next summer. I want to double major in performance (optimally) and biomedical or chemical (or some similar) engineering for my undergrad. I was wondering one: is a performance degree the only music degree where you can play for the majority? I wouldn't mind a general music degree as well as long as it includes playing. But what else would be included? Also, I want to go to a pretty decent or well-ranked school. I received a 2170 composite on my first attempt SAT and intend to retake to increase that. My ACT composite without writing was a 31, but again, that was without writing and I wasn't prepared that day so I'll be retaking in the fall. I haven't gotten back AP scores yet. I also was a member of Indiana All State Honor Band two years in a row, 3rd chair trumpet as a sophomore and junior. I was also 1st trumpet at Indiana All State Orchestra. (Both of these are audition groups and select the finest musicians in the state. Band is a live audition, orchestra is a tape audition.) I have also played with our city's philharmonic and musical program, and yeah. I was just wondering what schools had pretty good engineering programs and trumpet programs/music programs in general. Right now my top wish list is: Duke, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Rice, Tufts, U Mich-Ann Arbor, U Penn, USC, Washington University in St. Louis, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, Bucknell, NYU, and yeah. Any help is appreciated!! Thank you!
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Replies to: I want to double major in performance and engineering

  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,203 Senior Member
    I believe Northwestern has combination Engineering/Music major. Northwestern is very selective, however since your already interested in it I would check it out.
  • HoggirlHoggirl Registered User Posts: 1,500 Senior Member
    Northwestern was going to be my suggestion as well. They have a five-year program for those who want to double major in performance and something else.
  • Richd128Richd128 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Okay thank you!! That is extremely helpful
  • MondutMondut Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    Case Western Reserve has excellent biomed and chem engineering programs and they offer a dual degree program in Music and Engineering. CWRU has associations with the world-class Cleveland Orchestra (which performs at Severance Hall, right next to the campus) and Cleveland Institute of Music.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,203 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    CWRU would be a good match for your current stats too. They're acceptance rate is much higher than NU, but they're still a very well regarded school in both areas. They tend to offer good merit scholarships. I consider them comparable to Carnegie Mellon. Both were a liberal arts school combined with a technology school in the 1960's. The are at both about the same size. CMU is in a nicer area of Pittsburgh than Case is in Cleveland, however, I liked Case's campus better. It's in University Circle and is beautiful.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,203 Senior Member
    One other thing. Nearly all the schools you have mentioned are highly selective and therefore reaches for anyone who applies regardless of stats. You should also consider some schools with acceptance rates over 30 percent where your stats are in the top 50% or even top 25%. CWRU fits that description. Some of the state schools you mention ie. Michigan, are much more selective for OOS students than instate. You have created tremendous opportunities for yourself, however, don't put yourself in the position of only having options that while you may be qualified, you have no acceptances because you compete with thousands of others who are as qualified as you.
  • FiftyFifty Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    Why double major? A music performance degree and an engineering degree both are professional degrees intended to prepare you for a career. Chances are that it would take at least five years to complete both. Choose one or the other and save yourself time and money.

    A music performance degree is a major commitment. Most top programs require auditions during the application process. Coursework and practice take lots of time, making it difficult to devote much time to another subject. That is why it often takes more than four years to complete a double major or two bachelors degrees.

    I realize that it is tough for a seventeen-year-old to decide on a career. One strategy would be to start at a college that offers both music performance and engineering. Take courses in both during your first year and see how it goes. Chances are that you will discover that you prefer one over the other. Then choose one major and graduate in four years. If you choose engineering, you can enjoy music as an extracurricular activity.
  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager Registered User Posts: 2,819 Senior Member
    You should post this on the Music Major Forum. Lots of knowledgeable folks there. You do know you can perform in ensembles even if you're not majoring in music, yes? And, is there some reason Indiana isn't on your list? Do know Northwestern is one of the most difficult admits there is for brass players. Have you had any experience playing outside of your school and the All State bands? Have you done any summer programs or competitions?

    This well written and clear article is mandatory reading for any considering a dual degree with music: http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/conservatory/admissions/tips/doubledegree.html
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    I agree with @Fifty - it can take 5 years to complete an engineering major alone, let alone a double major in engineering and performance. I also think at most schools it would be really difficult since both the engineering major and the performance major usually have rigid sequences of classes that have to be taken in a specific order. If those class times overlap, then you'll be a bit SOL.

    Do you want to be a professional musician? If not, then you don't need to major in performance. If you are just interested in keeping up with your music and performing for fun in college, you can do that without majoring in performance - you can minor in music, or you can join chamber groups or the orchestra on your campus. At my college you could take private lessons for a small additional fee per semester even if you weren't a music major, and I'm betting many colleges would allow that.
  • FiftyFifty Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    This well written and clear article is mandatory reading for any considering a dual degree with music: http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/conservatory/admissions/tips/doubledegree.html
    That is an excellent article! The author focused on combining an arts & sciences degree with a bachelor of music degree. He mentioned that typically an arts & sciences major accounts for about one quarter of the total courses required for a bachelor's degree. (I would argue that at many colleges it would be more like one third.) A bachelor of science in engineering, however, is a professional training program that typically will account for three quarters of the courses, leaving only one quarter of course credits for non-engineering electives. Thus combining a bachelor of science in engineering with a music performance degree will be especially constraining. It will be hard to fit in all of the required courses in five years. That is why I would recommend choosing one degree and graduating in four years.
  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager Registered User Posts: 2,819 Senior Member
    Schools where one hears regularly of students pursuing a double degree in Engineering and Music Performance are Michigan, Vanderbilt and Northwestern. And, yes, it takes a minimum of five years, and possibly longer, and is a very heavy load that requires a lot of advance planning. Indiana and CMU are two other schools that often pop up when discussing engineering and music combined. Case Western as mentioned above, and Rochester/Eastman. However, it is unclear if the OP is competitive for the music admissions at some of these programs. Many of them are very competitive, and All-State competitions are not always a good measure of where a musician stands in the international applicant pool to music programs.

    The OP also asked if one could perform without being a performance major - and the answer is definitely yes. Many BA programs in music - which are general programs, offer a performance track or performance opportunities. A BA in music is an easier degree to combine with another subject, or a minor in music. To minor in music and have a lot of performance opportunities, it is actually better if there is no school of music at all. These are such schools on the original list - Duke, Harvard, MIT, Tufts, U Penn, Washington University in St. Louis, and Bucknell. I would also add Cornell and Harvey Mudd.
  • MrMom62MrMom62 Registered User Posts: 3,488 Senior Member
    I was going to suggest Rochester/Eastman as well. Eastman is super competitive, on the order of Ivies, but Rochester students do have access to it, plus Rochester has a good engineering school and is in the range for OPs stats - plus they offer a little merit as well.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,203 Senior Member
    I didn't think Indiana had an engineering school. Students go to Purdue for that in Indiana. Purdue, however, does not have a school of music. One can definitely play in orchestras at Purdue. They have two orchestras and a myriad of bands.
  • MondutMondut Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    I also think at most schools it would be really difficult since both the engineering major and the performance major usually have rigid sequences of classes that have to be taken in a specific order. If those class times overlap, then you'll be a bit SOL.

    This is good advice but it's also a reason why OP would be well-advised to research programs such as Case Western's where the school specifically offers the Dual Degree program for students like him.

    In fact, on CWRU's website they state that "the most common dual degree combination is a B.A.-B.S. in music and engineering", and while it admittedly requires an additional 30 units beyond what's required for the BA, many of their students do finish in 4 years.

    I don't think they'd be offering it if they weren't prepared to support students in succeeding in the program - and I say this as a CWRU parent. My son has declared for a BA-BS dual major (not music but he still has to contend with the additional credit requirements to complete). The appropriate advisors and dept. heads have all signed off on his plan, and furthermore told him they will make sure scheduling is not a problem for him to complete on-time - because they will open up a new class section if they have to (they said they've done it before).

  • MondutMondut Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    @Richd128 - I've always given my kids the following advice:

    "You'll always hit your goals if you set them too low"

    Don't be afraid to shoot for an ambitious goal, but do consider the precautions others have shared, and give yourself permission to admit if it does turn out you've bit off more than you can chew. It's no failure to try something and realize it won't work.

    At the same time, you seem like a very driven and accomplished person and I think you might regret it if you don't at least try to pursue your dreams. Best of luck to you!

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