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Ivy League Music Programs

ScurrilousScurrilous Registered User Posts: 26 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?
Post edited by Scurrilous on

Replies to: Ivy League Music Programs

  • YeloPenYeloPen Registered User Posts: 523 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.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 9,850 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!
  • radannieradannie Registered User Posts: 602 Member
    Columbia and Princeton are the 2 that stood out to my daughter. She has a keen interest in Jazz however.
  • SJTHSJTH Registered User Posts: 1,892 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.
  • ClarimomClarimom Registered User Posts: 818 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.
  • meekchunmeekchun Registered User Posts: 173 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?
  • tuba269tuba269 Registered User Posts: 145 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?
  • allegrovivaceallegrovivace Registered User Posts: 156 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.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 9,850 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!
  • SJTHSJTH Registered User Posts: 1,892 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.
  • meekchunmeekchun Registered User Posts: 173 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?
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 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.
  • meekchunmeekchun Registered User Posts: 173 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.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 9,850 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.
  • middleoftheroadmiddleoftheroad Registered User Posts: 141 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.
This discussion has been closed.