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GoForth Journal

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Replies to: GoForth Journal

  • GoForthGoForth 802 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited June 2016
    @bridgenail - @classicalsaxmom - thank you. The reason I pushed for UNT to be visited is because it is affordable with its baseline pricing, especially once the in-state tuition kicks in, and that is an automatic calculator, subject to fund availability. A lot (or maybe all) of the other choices will require a nice piece of mystery aid to kick in.

    One of S' private band-mates strikes me as fitting into the level of over-achievement I have seen on CC. He is really nice and hard-working. He is well-ahead in the AP sequence and at higher level music programs at a younger age. From his dad, I gather the decision what he will pursue - such as medicine versus music is still up in the air. Really, there is nothing bad to be said about all the activities he pursues. There was a bassist we met whose academic record I do not know, but he practices luthier work, composition, and bass playing in a way that sounded very well-integrated, like a very compelling story.

    I read a lot of stories here and try to gather ideas and think them through with S and check them out. Our S' approach right now is to load up on auditioning chops, on top of what they already are. So, just to give perspective about one person who will be in the upcoming audition season competition, S is preparing as if he is ramping up to make a living doing this 'single' pursuit.

    @bridgenail - just in case there is an answer out there, you mentioned targeting programs of the same level as UNT. Would that level have a name, a number, a list of schools within it? This might be an impossible question. I don't know if the program is considered top level, high level, very good level, etc. Would there be schools at a higher level? I had to ask.
    edited June 2016
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  • bridgenailbridgenail 1034 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm not knowledgeable in jazz. So I'll have to let others answer that. The right number depends on time and budget.

    My D was told that she would get acceptances at selective programs from several teachers; and she did. You always wonder. But over the years my limited experience has been that teachers are pretty straight-forward about fit. An administrator may sell the school. But teachers who work with students (again in my experience) were honest about talent level and fit.

    I would not stretch this idea however to comments about an "acceptance" during auditions (or even in summer programs). I would ignore those. I know that may seem to be a contadiction. But saying you are auditioning for the right level of program/fit vs you will be accepted in a studio are 2 different things. Teachers can know the former but not the later. The later is too complicated usually for one teacher to know. But knowing you would fit in the program due to your talent level? Yea they would be able to know that. And I think asking those questions are fine. Is this school a fit? Applying and auditions are expensive so you have a right to ask about fit without feeling like a "needy" parent. Haha.
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  • GoForthGoForth 802 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    Maybe this video will seem 'bold'. Maybe it is fine? Seems neat to me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD3Qo5DKM2s
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  • drummergirldrummergirl 307 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    @classicalsaxmom, my son still refers to his AP Gov class a year later! Really happy he took that class. As for AP Music Theory I think it depends why your son is taking it. I remember conversations here where it's been pointed out that the AP credit is not useful to conservatories. And that there's better, more interesting, ways to learn theory.
    @GoForth, your summer is off to a very nice start. So encouraging that your son had such a positive experience at camp! I think I mentioned this before but a jazz bass player we know auditioned at 4 schools, got in at all 4 and ended up getting the best financial offer at Berklee. But that's just one experience. At the risk of over-simplification, my son was really drawn to urban conservatories, so that figured heavily into his particular list of schools. My son also lightened up his senior year course load after an intense junior year. It was still such a busy time with all sorts of music happening (not just auditions) and it was great.
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  • compmomcompmom 10763 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Students do not need to take all of their courses at the highest level of rigor in senior year, in order to get into selective schools- if that lower level of rigor is in order to pursue music or other "passion" at a deeper level.
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  • ScreenName48105ScreenName48105 495 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    Really happy to hear that you and your son had such a good experience at UNT!

    Based on my son's experience, I think that teachers can be somewhat quick to say, "I'd love to see you here", and imply that it's a sure thing. I think they're being sincere, but I also think that if every student they said this to applied, there probably wouldn't be enough spaces for them all and some would not get in. Exception may be Berklee because it's so large, but they sort of do their filtering with money.

    I also think that camp/workshop teachers are especially encouraging because they get to know the students and will come to like the ones that really listen, work hard, and improve quickly. You may get a more reserved reaction in sample lessons simply because there's less information for the teachers to draw on, and being a good student or a quick study won't be a factor. Keep in mind that the sample lesson scenario is closer to the actual audition environment.
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  • indeestudiosindeestudios 136 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That sounds like an amazing experience-My S would have loved that opportunity. And really great that your S got such solid encouraging feedback!

    I liked the video too. ;)
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  • bridgenailbridgenail 1034 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2016
    I always think that this is an interesting area of discussion. For parents, how the heck do you know what level of school to audition at?!?! My gosh, would someone just tell me the truth so I don't waste a ton of money and time!!! I remember being slightly suspicious when my D was accepted at her Saturday music school in high school. I thought maybe she was really not that good and they just wanted the money. I paid the money and at the first recital I understood that she should be there. So they had been honest.

    Over the years, I have had to listen closely to the teachers since I'm not musical. And it has worked just fine. Armed with a small dose of skepticism always and a good dose of knowing how "businesses" work (and that how I view universities), I have simply listened to the teachers about fit. Sure they will probably tell more students they are a "fit" without a lot of concern bc they know not all will apply. And some that do and get accepted, will not accept. I feel like they are speaking in general. And that's all I needed to know. And sure some will only say good things bc it's their personality. But if you keep hearing the same thing over and over...you SHOULD pay attention to that. Also I really think students have a gut feel too. They will most likely be a bit negative (I'm not good enough). But if you watch their actions...like they are working on repertoire, thinking about the school, seemed to have enjoyed it (despite their insistence that they are not good enough) that can be telling. If they really are over their heads they will probably focus elsewhere, maybe give up or become negative.

    BUT I do agree (and if others are reading this it should be noted) that if you go to one summer program and one teacher says "yea he's great! we'd love to have him and he should audition" you would probably want to be armed with a little more information than just that (like the opinions of current teachers and professionals). @GoForth's son does seem to be "out and about" with teachers/coaches etc. And this is just another positive. So I was responding "in whole" to his experience. To me, it sounds like he continues to get positive feedback meaning auditioning makes a lot of sense.

    Sorry this was kind of rambling...and not meant to be defensive...just my thoughts on this difficult subject!
    edited June 2016
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  • ScreenName48105ScreenName48105 495 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    @bridgenail, I agree that it can be confusing. The very first school we visited and had a sample lesson was Jacobs, and my son got a VERY luke-warm reaction. Maybe it's trickier in jazz because it's not just about being able to play the notes on the page. Some teachers were very much into playing the head correctly. Some focused more on improvisation, your jazz "intelligence". Some wanted to see a big repertoire, all memorized. My son approached that first sample lesson thinking he'd wow him with his improvisational skills, but the prof had no interest in getting beyond the head. And the fact that his school doesn't offer AP classes. My son left feeling completely incompetent. But it turned out that the summer jazz session at Interlochen was mostly staffed with faculty from Jacobs and they liked him a lot and were super encouraging. It really showed us the difference between what a jazz student can show in 20 minutes as opposed to 3 weeks.

    So my point is that the camp/workshop feedback is important for growth and "fit" within a program but those sample lessons are a great snapshot of what they're going to look for in a 20-minute audition. I think high-level jam sessions are good practice. You get up there and usually have one song to show that (a) you have the repertoire because you know the song they've called, (b) have the head and chord changes memorized, and (c) know how to solo. If you pass that first test, the other musicians will call on you to play on other songs.

    Also -- and this may sound simplistic, but I think it works -- get a decent audio recording device, like one of the earlier Zoom models, and record and listen to yourself a LOT.
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  • classicalsaxmomclassicalsaxmom 311 replies26 threadsRegistered User Member
    Great comments @ScreenName48105 @bridgenail - very useful to any parent of a rising senior (or junior, for that matter) heading into sample lessons and summer programs.

    Aside to @drummergirl re: your post above - DS knows he will not likely get AP credit for AP theory, but he has little theory background and wants to have a base of knowledge so music school theory classes won't be quite as challenging. He won't really have time to learn much theory any other way. Nice to hear good things about AP Gov! DS has been fascinated by politics and presidential elections since he was in 2nd/3rd grade back during the 2008 cycle when he literally kept a handwritten chart of all the candidates and their delegate counts - so he's excited to take Gov in an election year. (sorry for the little thread hijack interlude, GoForth!)
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  • GoForthGoForth 802 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    @classicalsaxmom and everyone - the discussion is good, whether rambling or light hijacking. Whenever someone apologizes for their long post, I think "it won't be too long for me."

    S is a "Boy's State" this week, kind of a live action role play of government. He has won the position of County Coroner so far.

    Interesting interpretations here about how to take the feedback from lessons and camps. I can imagine all angles to be true. S has just recently found that he auditioned into the top combo spot at the Chicagoland youth jazz group that we "think" is the top one around for high-schoolers. It feels like a supporting data point, again, unless there are local or temporal phenomena in play.
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  • drummergirldrummergirl 307 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    @GoForth I know you are focusing on the highest level at which your son might audition at but remember not all top programs are "equal" when it comes to jazz. One thing I really like about NEC is that the definition is so expansive - students there often take lessons that are not their main instrument. Also, I think jazz bass players and guitarists and drummers are happiest in programs with lots of ensemble opportunities with little doubling up in the rhythm section. Some schools and teachers are known for a particular style of jazz; other schools incorporate classical training as a foundation. One of my son's teachers at his music prep program was pretty spot on when it came to defining the emphasis of particular programs and how my son might thrive there.
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  • GoForthGoForth 802 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    At this point, even if it appears (1) sudden in the context of this thread and (2) without detailed supporting evidence, we think that S has his act together as far as chops and musicality (no, don't ask me to define that) to take care of college auditions. Of course, those will be maintained and improved, but "catching up" in those categories is now not a top worry. Selecting the list of colleges and getting ready to submit applications is now top of the list, along with preparing the Grammy Jazz Audition video and studying to try to increase the ACT from 26 to 29. The general advice we are going with is "Apply as early as possible to get the best shot at scholarship money", assuming one qualified for the money in the first place, but also did not then wait for the funds to run dry. So, at least one place opens applications August 1, which I guess is as early as possible for that one. As far as videos, such as the Grammy and the college pre-screens, there is a good amount of time to make them, and I am hoping to see completion or specific plan for completion before senior year HS starts up. The current jazz bass instructor had some basic suggestions about song selection, video quality, and dress/appearance based upon his feelings from having sat in on many panels before. So, that's the idea at this point in time.
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  • drummergirldrummergirl 307 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    I don't think applying or auditioning earlier would have made much difference in my son's scholarship offers. It seemed as if almost all the schools waited until the audition schedule was completed.
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  • ScreenName48105ScreenName48105 495 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    The general advice we are going with is "Apply as early as possible to get the best shot at scholarship money", assuming one qualified for the money in the first place, but also did not then wait for the funds to run dry.
    Really? Are we talking about music merit money? At conservatories? I'm surprised to hear that. I don't feel like that was our experience at all. Very few music schools have early action/decision even if the school is part of a University. That said, it's probably not a bad strategy for schools with rolling admissions. Most of the top schools/conservatories don't do true rolling though (assuming you apply by the typical Nov or Dec 1 deadline) and wait until after all the audition dates to announce acceptances. In our experience, about half of the schools included merit offers with the acceptance, for the rest, it came sometime after.

    The most important piece of advice, IMO, about music merit money is to play your cards close. I think this is especially true for jazz, as the programs are smaller and they're looking for a set number of specific instruments. Even if they love you, if they know they're not one of your top choices, they will put their odds on another applicant. Also, don't underestimate the gossip grapevine... if you tell school X that you're not really interested in school Y, don't be surprised if school Y hears about it. As long as you haven't crossed them off completely, I'd let every school think they're "one of" your top choices.

    And whatever you do, don't commit too early. Son has a friend who committed before merit decisions came out and got no money from a school where everybody gets money.
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  • bridgenailbridgenail 1034 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think that this could be a general comment from schools. It could help with academic scholarships at some large universities. When my D applied to IU quite a few years ago, if you applied by 10/01 or something you would be considered for automatic academic scholarships (based on your GPA and test scores). However it is my understanding that IU changed a few years later where all aid comes from the music dept and time of application may no longer matter.

    It never hurts to apply early, particularly if a school may give academic aid if applying by a certain date, but I agree with the comments above that it probably makes no difference for music merit...and waiting to accept is a good strategy.
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  • indeestudiosindeestudios 136 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    If your S, (or his teacher), feels like the extra weeks to work on his pre-screen repertoire would be beneficial, IMO he should take them, rather than try to get the applications in early. S applied by Nov. 1 to Eastman to get the discounted application fee and Hartt to get a Dec. audition out of the way, but if he had felt that extra time on the pre-screens would help a lot, he would have waited for the Dec. 1 deadline. That said, having the applications and essays done earlier was a huge relief and made it possible for him to fully concentrate on audition prep.
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  • GoForthGoForth 802 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    Hi. I left a hole in my explanation. At the particular college we visited, it was explained that music merit money will not compare to academic merit. Well, that was pretty specific, and it was backed up with more explanation. There, they do have automatic academic merit calculators, but you must be part of it before the well runs dry, thus the advice to apply early. At that place, we will not expect music merit money, but the package overall will be very affordable anyway.

    It is probably true that at most other places, the music merit money will (need to) be greater than the academic.
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  • GoForthGoForth 802 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    Today was a day I had been wishing for. I have been studying for a while to learn about music schools, music careers, and whatever else seemed like it might be useful along the way. Today, S presented a paper with 14 schools listed on it in rows with columns for pre-screen and audition requirements. I finally felt like we had joined forces for the college search. For most of the rows, he had written down his song selections, so he can start to see the number of songs he is dealing with. I am jumping for joy, albeit in an introverted manner.
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  • compmomcompmom 10763 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    That is a lot of schools, especially if they all have auditions! Great that he is committing himself to the process....congratulations on that.
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