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Excitement in Researching Information

RandomAc1206RandomAc1206 40 replies6 threads Junior Member
edited June 2011 in Music Major
Hi, I'm pretty new around these boards! I'm entering my senior year of high school. I've been in band all 4 years of high school as a percussionist and a marching drummer. =) I'm looking to major in Music Education at a local university (first choice, 11 openings!), and I'm applying to the primary in-state universities as well.

I've been doing a lot of research about the whole percussion studio, the Music Education program, the courses that one must take, the audition procedures, etc. I don't know if this is normal, but I can spend over well over an hour just looking through the university's school of music site, digging through it's information! I have learned a lot about the school, and it's just really exciting to me! =)

Has anyone else done this and experienced similar excitement? =) Discuss.
edited June 2011
10 replies
Post edited by RandomAc1206 on
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Replies to: Excitement in Researching Information

  • geo1113geo1113 1427 replies0 threads Senior Member
    RandomAc, I am a business/engineering person. My son decided to go to school for sound recording. I knew nothing about music programs and wanted to understand what my son would be doing. I enjoyed the process, spoke with some of the people in the music departments, helped son decide on audtion pieces. I had fun so I can certainly understand your excitement.
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  • SnowflakeVTSnowflakeVT 2458 replies36 threads Senior Member
    RandomAct ... this is a great sign for you that you are diving into these website to learn as much as you can. It bodes well for your future study habits as well! Enjoy the process ... it will be intense, fun, scary, exciting, and everything in between and you are likely to be extremely happy or sad at different moments over the next year. Enjoy every second of it.
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  • imagepimagep 619 replies9 threads Member
    It's perfectly normal. Probably most everyone on this forum is equally excited. Some have been posting for years. You think that spending an hour on a college's music site is a lot? Wait til you revisit the same sites a dozen times.

    Anyhow, you are doing EXACTLY what you should be doing. 50 hours "wasted" on research this summer may save you years of pain in the future. Keep doing more of it, it's a huge decision, the more time you spend researching and learning, the better off you will be, and the more confident you will be during your audition.

    I know two potential music students who didn't do what you are doing. They had people to tell them that they could just go to their local community/jr college for a couple of years and then transfer to a music school and "save thousands of dollars". Unfortunately the people who were advising them (high school guidance councelors, reps for the jr. colleges, etc) didn't know that it doesn't work that way for music majors. After two years of Jr. college they are now finding themselves 2 years behind in music school. Essentially, they wasted two years and thousands of dollars. Thats a mistake that you sound like you will not makes - so kudos to you!

    Ultimately my son discovered that his "top choice" school was not the best one for him. He ended up enrolling in a school that he was origionally not very excited about, but became very excited about after learning more about it. The college is not the most prestegious he was accepted at, it wasn't the least prestegious either. It wasn't the most expensive but it wasn't the least exepensive. It wasn't the closest, but it wasn't the most far away. It was the one that seems to fit him just right.

    The college search process, well, it's kind of a big deal!
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  • bigdjpbigdjp 166 replies11 threads Junior Member
    The research you're doing is good to learn what music school is like. Is there anyone who can help you do this research and relate the info to you? Your time would truly be better spent in the practice room at this point seeing as auditions are coming for you this year. Make sure that you are at the appropriate level to gain admittance to the music program. Have you had the chance to take a lesson with the teacher/teachers at this school? If possible do so. It would be terrible to go through the trouble of working toward the audition to find out that you don't like the teacher. I believe you were talking about school in Arizona? If so you may want to meet that teacher as I've heard he's nice but can be quirky.
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  • MomofbassistMomofbassist 695 replies3 threads Member
    Random, as you are enjoying reviewing the music department websites, remember to look at the tuition and fees section, too. You can get a good idea as to whether you qualify for academic scholarships with your ACT/Sat scores and your gpa from the college scholarship pages. (I think you posted some great stats previously.) Many of the schools will give more for academics than for talent so it's good to have an idea what you have "in hand" before the audition and talent scholarships. Also, if you haven't already, have a frank discussion with your parents so you know what they are willing to put towards your college education. You can also ask them to fill out an Expected Family Contribution estimator (EFC) and a CSS profile estimator (used by most private schools for determining financial aid) so you and they will know what you might be expected to contribute(pay) for college. My son knew what we were contributing before he started auditioning which helped when he had to turn down a favorite school since it was unaffordable for him. (He felt better about it than I did.)
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  • musicprntmusicprnt 6216 replies37 threads Senior Member
    One of the things I have learned about this whole process, from what others have written and in what I am seeing with my own child, is that doing research is absolutely critical when it comes to music, that conventional wisdom on a subject, perceptions, and even the 'knowledge' of so called professionals like music teachers and guidance counselors don't necessarily mean anything, and if trusting the judgement of someone it is pretty important to research them to see what they know or don't know.

    Want some classic things that when researched can come up short

    -"Music teachers are the best source of information"..... Well, yes, a knowledgeable music teacher is a very good source, but that is the key, knowledgeable. Not all music teachers are knowledgeable about the broader music world, it is quite possible to be a music teacher, even one that is a respectable professional, and find out they only know their little niche and really don't know what the score is in terms of what schools are good on an instrument, levels, etc. One teacher my child had had gone to a pretty high level conservatory, was a principal member of a respected orchestra, and yet looking back didn't really have a clue as to what was going on these days (and it wasn't like they were 80 years old), they had very little contact with 'the real world' of music and didn't know or understood what it took.... You need to look at where they are and what they are doing, are they active in the music community, have they actually had students go into music/high level conservatory programs and so forth.

    -"The Best music schools are X, Y and Z" (conventional wisdom)...as has been said on this board time and again, that statement has little meaning. First of all, going to a top level school doesn't guarantee all that much, so such rankings or whatever are suspect, but even more so, it is all situational. If you are a bass trombonist the 'best' school on that list might not have a good program on the instrument, for example. More importantly, school X might have that great reputation because it has teachers who were famous performers but may not be able to teach their way out of a paper box, or might have a bunch of teachers in the department who once were great, but today live on reputation, etc. Or you may find the teachers in your program at school X push a style or technique that clashes with your own individual style/method...

    The old saying about an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, and the same is true with music/music programs/etc. You have to do the research and also have to be careful about what people say or write (including on here), because a lot of it is based in their own experiences that may be unique. Someone might say "My son had teacher Z, and they were great, he adored them" and someone else will say "Z is a fraud, who spent time in lessons with my daughter smoking and whistling to himself".....it takes a lot of sifting to figure out what is relevant and what isn't, to look at the alternatives and figure out what works:)
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  • musicamusicamusicamusica 6388 replies80 threads Senior Member
    great post^
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  • RandomAc1206RandomAc1206 40 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Wow, I truly appreciate all the commentary! Everyone here is very positive and realistic, and I really like it. I can definitely say I've learned some more things to look into, so that's good. Thankfully I qualify for a tuition waiver for any in-state school, so that REALLY helps me out in terms of finances. I'll have to look into other things though for sure for those extra non-tuition-related fees. =)

    Even though I've been busy lately, I usually practice a minimum of 45 minutes a day. Now that the summer music camp I volunteer at is over, I'll be able to practice quite a bit more every day! I'm shooting for 1.5 hours minimum each day. =) Thanks for your concerns about my practicing, bigdjp! I'm definitely always thinking about my future, so I always remember to practice to help me in trying to achieve my goals. =)
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  • imagepimagep 619 replies9 threads Member
    In the months leading up to my sons auditions he was involved in music (either in school, or marching band, or lessons, or home practice) an average of 5+ hours a day. I think he improved more during that 6 months than he did during the year and a half before that. Even from the first audition until the last audition (a two month period) he improved significantly.

    Also, how are your nerves? He had a horrible nerve problem when being individually judged (like any audition, even for chairs in high school band). He discovered a way to deal with his nerves shortly before his first audition and it helped tremendously. Nerves can kill you in an audition. I talked to one student who told me that he basically froze up during an audition, and naturally he didn't make the cut.
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  • RandomAc1206RandomAc1206 40 replies6 threads Junior Member
    imagep: Haha, your son had a schedule like mine was and will be for last and next year! I've noticed that sometimes practicing one things can help you improve in general, or sometimes improve another one of your other instruments; like practicing your marching percussion skills can really help your concert percussion skills. =)

    And I do get nervous, haha. However, it's a controlled nervousness. I shake a bit, but it hasn't messed me up that much before, and I know this from 2 piano recitals. =) Since I was confident in my recital pieces, I didn't let the shaking throw me off. Thanks for the tips!
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