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music at top public schools

lalalemmalalalemma 797 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 848 Member
Does anyone know anything about the quality of the music programs at the UCs, U Michigan, UVA, UNC, and William and Mary? Which of these programs require auditions and which do not?
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Replies to: music at top public schools

  • musicamusicamusicamusica 6388 replies80 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,468 Senior Member
    edited April 2015
    I am mostly familiar with UCLA and U Mich. Both have excellent, highly competitive programs. And needless to say both have required auditions. (all good performance programs do have auditions)
    What exactly are you looking for? Are you looking for a program that does not require an audition? Are you looking to major in performance? What particular instrument? Or are you seeking a school where you can participate in music but not major in it? BTW---all music departments list audition requirements online.
    edited April 2015
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  • lalalemmalalalemma 797 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 848 Member
    @musicamusica I don't think I want to major in performance, though I am looking to continue studying performance through lessons and participating in ensembles (I do piano and chorus). I think what I want is a strong, non-audition BA program, which probably sounds kind of contradictory. I've been studying piano for years, but I'm not at all at conservatory level, so I have no idea how I would fare in an audition for a top public school program (though if you happen to know about piano performance, maybe you could answer this question: is it more likely for piano students at places like UCLA and U Mich to be playing Chopin Nocturnes, or Chopin Ballades? Debussy Preludes, or the Images?) I am interested in a lot of areas of music: history, theory, composition, ethnomusicology, and performance, which is why I think a BA in something like "music, general" would be best for me. But it is important to me to have a good piano teacher and strong choral ensembles as well.

    I did see that UCLA and U Mich require auditions from the websites. However, I'm having a lot of trouble discerning from the websites of the other schools how good the programs are exactly. I know that non-audition doesn't mean the program is bad because I've been told that a lot of LACs have great music programs (I'm also looking at Vassar, Wesleyan, Swarthmore, Skidmore, Smith, etc.) So basically, I'm wondering which public schools have strong programs in music, but don't require auditions.
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  • politicalsopranopoliticalsoprano 20 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 23 New Member
    Generally, LACs tend to be the ones with non-audition BAs. Lots of large public research universities have BM performance degrees (quality varies). However some of them have both BM's and BA's, which some people may want to avoid so the BA's are not viewed as the "lesser music majors." It all depends on you. I do know William and Mary has a non-audition BA. https://www.wm.edu/as/music/undergradprogram/major/index.php

    Some other LACs with good non-audition BA programs are Pomona College in CA, Rollins College in FL, Muhlenberg College in PA, and Sarah Lawrence College in NY.
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  • musicamusicamusicamusica 6388 replies80 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,468 Senior Member
    edited April 2015
    I guess the words good or strong are relative. Perhaps I meant to say "competitive" or selective.
    edited April 2015
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  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager 2801 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,867 Senior Member
    edited April 2015
    For the UC's you should look at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and the academic major in music in the College of Arts and Sciences (I might have the name wrong) at UCLA which is not the Herb Alpert School of Music which is a separate auditioned program. You'll generally want to avoid universities which have Schools of Music and offer an auditioned major.
    edited April 2015
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  • cellomom6cellomom6 544 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 573 Member
    I would highly suggest trying at least a few audition schools. There is usually some fantastic merit tied to auditions, and it would be worth getting even a few k off your tuition bill. And just because ther is an audition doesn't' mean it is competitive. Or it might not be that competitive.
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  • ayoleavesayoleaves 4 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Vassar is a liberal arts school, so there's no audition to be accepted into the program. Although I can't speak to the teaching itself, the facilities are gorgeous (all the pianos are Steinway grands, and when I visited there were plenty of practice rooms open! I almost committed to Vassar right then and there ;) ), and the one recital I happened to sit in on was performed at a quite impressive level. Although there are only 15ish music majors, there are around 200 students who are actively involved with the music department. Overall, it seems like a fantastic program, and it sounds like it would fit your needs.

    I vaguely hear said that UCSD's music program is less classical and more jazz/world music based. Not sure of the accuracy of this.
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  • politicalsopranopoliticalsoprano 20 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 23 New Member
    Ayoleaves is correct. UCSD's program is more pop/jazz based. I know someone getting her DMA there for Contemporary Music Performance. For undergrad it is a general BA but I would think the influence of the grad students - the only grad degrees they offer are in Contemporary Performance - would carry over to the undergraduate program.
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  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager 2801 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,867 Senior Member
    Contemporary music performance at UCSD is NOT pop or jazz!!!!!! It is cutting edge classical New Music. One of the most preeminent programs for that in the world.
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  • clarinet13momclarinet13mom 70 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    A few years ago It seemed UVA was hoping to build up their music program. Not very many music majors- lots of preprofessional majors. They had a beautiful art gallery where they said you could do recitals/play at openings on Friday nights (for the old folks of Charlottesville?)and we saw their music library which was empty. The admitted student reception was attended by my daughter and one other girl. Not enough for her but YMMV.
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