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Ivy League Music Programs

ScurrilousScurrilous 17 replies9 threads New Member
edited November 2011 in Music Major
For those of you excepted to the music programs at Ivy League schools, what made you stand out? Most of them do not have auditions. I'm just wondering. Did you send in recordings or anything?
edited November 2011
44 replies
Post edited by Scurrilous on
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Replies to: Ivy League Music Programs

  • YeloPenYeloPen 509 replies14 threads Member
    The reason they don't have auditions is because they don't really have music performance programs. That said, some of the Ivy League schools, especially Harvard and Yale, are loaded with musical talent comparable to some conservatories.
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  • compmomcompmom 10837 replies77 threads Senior Member
    It can help to send in a recording, but only if it is very good. You can call admissions about this. It is also considerate to send something short, or a CD/DVD with some direction to the 3 minutes that represent your best work, to save them some time.

    I actually have no idea whether the admissions dept. reviews these themselves or whether they send recordings to the music dept. But in any case, it will certainly help if your talent shines through!
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  • radannieradannie 589 replies13 threads Member
    Columbia and Princeton are the 2 that stood out to my daughter. She has a keen interest in Jazz however.
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  • SJTHSJTH 1843 replies50 threads Senior Member
    Columbia has a good jazz program, and it does offer some access to lessons at Juilliard (without the Juilliard/Columbia joint program). My son was accepted there two years ago, and had sent a music resume and CD with his application, and we believe he was accepted on the basis of a review by the jazz dept.
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  • ClarimomClarimom 802 replies18 threads Member
    You certainly have the option of sending in supplemental materials such as recordings to enhance your application. Each school has different requirements as to what they will accept. And, as YeloPen stated, you are competing with conservatory level performers who also are applying. The Yale website gives lots of helpful advice regarding supplements: Supplementary Materials | Yale College Admissions

    It is my understanding that usual procedure is that if an application is strong enough for possible acceptance, the music department then listens to music supplemental recordings to give a recommendation as well. So, submission of a supplement can be helpful, but all other aspects of the application have to be stellar as well.
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  • meekchunmeekchun 147 replies26 threads Junior Member
    Hi My Somphomore S is considering Music at top Ivy, too.
    His music level is national but the problem is that he does not belongs to any orchestra except school because he didn't go to any precollege music program. Of course, he plays at several chamber group in summer camp. Do you think he need to apply to some orchestra program just like NYSO? It takes one school week and it will be hard for school work. Also, should he take at least 3 SAT II just like regular student who apply Ivy? How many AP class is prefer to apply Music at top Ivy?
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  • tuba269tuba269 144 replies1 threads Junior Member
    My impression was that most of the Ivies treated undergrad music just like any other academic department, so there wasn't a separate admissions process. Is this correct? You get admitted to the school and then just choose music as your major?
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  • allegrovivaceallegrovivace 147 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Tuba269, that's correct from what I've gathered. Music is a great extracurricular to have when applying to Ivies and can be a tipping factor, but it's certainly not the main criteria for admission. In order for them to even look at your musical achievements that closely or listen to a supplemental CD, you first need to stand out in the applicant pool based on academics.

    So meekchun, your son should definitely take whatever testing requirements and AP classes are necessary or preferred for any "regular student" applying to the school. Even if he indicates he will major in music, the admissions process is still the same, and his application will still be placed in the same pile.
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  • compmomcompmom 10837 replies77 threads Senior Member
    I don't agree that you have to stand out academically first, before they will really look at your musical accomplishments. You have to meet baseline requirements. Beyond that, they like to have a good mix of students on campus, and musicians add to the mix.

    You declare a major at the end of sophomore year, at least at the school we deal with, so the prospective major will not be a factor.

    Sending a CD, as I described above, plus a music resume (unless all that info is on the common app already) and a couple of recommendations from music teachers, can all help.

    Check with admissions at the schools themselves!
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  • SJTHSJTH 1843 replies50 threads Senior Member
    Compmom, I completely agree. All schools are looking to build a community, which includes musicians. Naturally, a musician's transcript has to indicate that he/she can compete academically, but a superior musician can tip his/her chances by sending the items you describe. It was definitely our experience that the musical package made the difference.
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  • meekchunmeekchun 147 replies26 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for good advice.
    Before sending supplements as you mentioned, do you think it would be better to get sample lesson from Music faculty? If yes, if he is considering joint program, who should we choose for Harvard? Should he choose from Music dept of Harvard or NEC? For Yale, should he choose faculty from Music dept of under. or School of Music?
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  • BassDadBassDad 5330 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Yale School of Music is a grad school that is not open to undergrad students. Most of the undergrads in Yale College who take instrument lessons study with grad students from the School of Music. Note that Yale SOM has some excellent grad students because of the free tuition there. If you were able to take a sample lesson from a grad student, it is quite possible that they would no longer be there when you start to attend. Only a select few undergrads get lessons from the School of Music faculty. I'm not sure if a School of Music faculty member would even consider giving a sample lesson to an undergrad before they have been admitted to Yale, but it would be worth a call to find out.

    Harvard's music program is mostly centered around musicology, theory and composition. They have a choral director and an orchestra director, but I'm not sure who you would take a sample lesson from at Harvard. Be aware that the Harvard/NEC program accepts something like five students per year and some of those may be students who already attend Harvard. In addition to being accepted through the normal channels at both NEC and Harvard, you must also be approved for the joint program. For the first four years, in addition to what you pay Harvard you also pay a pretty hefty fee to NEC for lessons. Of course, it should always be possible to get private lessons from a very good teacher in Boston or Cambridge.
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  • meekchunmeekchun 147 replies26 threads Junior Member
    I understand. Whenever we consider some teacher, we take sample lesson. But for Yale, we can not sure which teacher will be assigned. I think there is a possibility to be frustrated later. Also, it looks like conservatory cost much less than Music at Ivy because Curtis, Colburn etc provides almost full scholarship for admitted students.
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  • compmomcompmom 10837 replies77 threads Senior Member
    Conservatory costs are comparable to top colleges, but they do not (can not) offer much need-based financial aid (though they do offer merit aid). My daughter got into conservatories that she wanted to go to, and got some merit aid, but the cost was still too much for us. Ironically, one reason she is at an Ivy instead of conservatory is that the Ivy has great financial aid.

    Yes, Curtis is tuition-free (though the student provides his or her own apartment) and Yale SOM is also free. But many others are not.
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  • middleoftheroadmiddleoftheroad 128 replies13 threads Junior Member
    My flute-playing daughter does not want a conservatory but is interested in music at Columbia - thanks for the relevant thread and any additional perspectives.
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  • BassDadBassDad 5330 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Curtis and Colburn are exceptions and not really a good comparison to Ivies in terms of cost. Because they provide free tuition (free room and board as well for Colburn) and because they have great teachers, the competition for admission at Curtis and Colburn is fierce. The percentage of applicants they accept is even smaller than schools like Harvard and Yale most years. Depending on the instrument, you could find yourself competing with dozens of some of the best students in the world for one or two places, and that is for the less competitive instruments. In addition, Colburn and Curtis are very small schools, accepting well under a combined total of a hundred students per year while each of the Ivies accepts thousands. Yale SOM is not a valid comparison because they do not accept undergrads.

    Most other conservatories will have a cost of attendance similar to an Ivy, although conservatories may offer talent-based scholarships where the Ivies base financial aid solely on need. If your demonstrated need is high, then an Ivy may well cost less than a conservatory. If your demonstrated need is low and the student is very talented, then the conservatory may prove less expensive than the Ivy.
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  • meekchunmeekchun 147 replies26 threads Junior Member
    Thanks, now very clear. Because additional expense such as traveling and recording is very high for music student, I must consider scholarship or financial aid for college.
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  • memakememake 553 replies6 threads Member
    I think the amount of precise control over all this is going to be less than you seem to be expecting. On the instrument I'm familiar with (cello), I heard that Curtis accepted TWO students in 2009. So counting on getting into Colburn or Curtis is pretty much like counting on your son being one of the top 5 auditioners on his instrument that year. I'm not saying there's anything wrong in trying - just that it's nuts to count on it.

    Meekchun - do you live near NYC? Do you know about the NYYS (New York Youth Symphony)? It is very prestigious and exclusive, but is free.
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  • ait109ait109 6 replies0 threads New Member
    Absolutely send in a recording!

    My daughter (a bassoonist) applied to a number of the ivys (Fall 2011 Regular Decision) with science as her major and indicated interest in music as a minor. She followed each school's requirements for sending in a Music Supplement either online (MP3s) or in the mail (CD). For schools that didn't explicitly mention a music supplement she contacted the admissions dept which then told her what she needed to submit.

    In January the Director of Wind Ensembles at Cornell emailed her indicating that she "thoroughly enjoyed" listening to her supplement and wanted the contact information for her teacher. At the next scheduled lesson my D's teacher told her that they had a great conversation and the director basically wanted to know if the recordings were for real. A few days later D got a follow up email from the director which said that she enjoyed speaking with her teacher and that she was going to forward her strongest recommendations for admission to the admissions office.

    Final outcome TBD.
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  • meekchunmeekchun 147 replies26 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for helpful advice! How about orchestral experience? Of course, my boy belongs to school orchestra and chamber group at summer camp but not any precollege orchestra. There are some excellent orcheatra programs to apply but he must omit school many days. Do you think they need that experience in addition to outstanding solo experience?
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