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Chicken and egg. Trial lessons first or apply first?


Replies to: Chicken and egg. Trial lessons first or apply first?

  • EstherDadEstherDad Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    edited September 2016
    Based on what I have heard back particularly from Rice admissions and info found on BU and Peabody(JHU) sites. My D and I decided not to worry about it. She's signed up for ACT again since she doesn't have the scores from her test 3 weeks ago. She may choose not to take it if the score is at least in high 20's. Time to stay focused on music.
  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama Registered User Posts: 189 Junior Member
    My D did not do sample lessons ahead of her applications, and virtually nowhere she applied required a studio preference on the application (she is a voice major). She did not want to fall in love with a particular faculty member and then not be admitted! At some places, a sample lesson was part of the on campus interview or we could schedule one at the time of the audition by extending the campus visit a day. She took sample lessons at her three top schools AFTER acceptances, to help decide where to attend, and this was enormously useful. Good luck!
  • neovoxdadneovoxdad Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    My thoughts probably run counter to much of what you see on this site. We arranged sample lessons for my vocal performance son during pre-application campus visits. We did this largely because that seemed to be the prevailing wisdom on CC. In retrospect, frankly I don't think sample lessons were particularly helpful. Consider that you'll only be interacting with ONE member of a large faculty pool. The experience likely wouldn't or shouldn't be a dealbreaker.
    IMHO The three most important factors in acceptance to a school of music appear to be: #1- Audition #2- Audition #3- Audition. In addition to determining which students get in, the audition is where the faculty starts putting "dibs" on which students they want for their individual studios.
    Having said all that, do sample lessons hurt? Of course not. If that helps your child get a better feel for the school and it's convenient both financially and logistically, go right ahead. But if it's a stretch, please don't beat yourself up. You have not hurt your child's acceptance chances.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    I think that sample lessons might help when you are talking a program with a limited number of teachers, or one, where if the chemistry with the teacher isn't there, it may not be worth applying to that program....or if there is only one teacher, it could potentially help distinguishing yourself from the rest of the pack.

    Do you absolutely need to do it before applying? No, like many things with music admissions there is no one golden way, a sample lesson might give a kid an edge in getting accepted to a particular teacher, because they have seen and may remember them, but it isn't a deal breaker, any more than doing or not doing summer programs is a deal breaker. Likewise, there are students who never do a sample lesson, get admitted to a studio and are happy with the teacher.

    Sample lessons are a valuable tool, that can help situations like where the student finds they hate the teacher (or vice versa) once admitted or not wasting time applying to a program where there is only 1 teacher of interest,but they also don't guarantee success either, you could have a great sample lesson then figure out the person is not a good teacher.....
  • bridgenailbridgenail Registered User Posts: 881 Member
    Another experience with sample lessons...

    For undergrad, my D didn't do it; and it made no difference. So is it necessary? Absolutely not. Note that she is a vocalist.

    For grad, she definitely did sample lessons. She wanted a certain type of teacher; and that relationship was the most important consideration for her. She also knew what type of personality worked best for her.

    My D has had parents or high school students ask how you know which teacher is right. My D has said it's hard to know until you work with a few different teachers. She didn't have enough experience in high school to even know what she was looking for. I think this may be more common with vocalist who have only been singing for at most 4 years (in my D's case 3 years and I know some guys had only done 2 years). An instrumentalist could be playing for 10 years with multiple teachers.

    Still I know kids who have gone to large grad programs for voice not knowing a teacher and have done great. Some of that may be an easy-going personality (not always found in musicians lol). So everyone is different...
  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama Registered User Posts: 189 Junior Member
    edited January 2017
    One of the things my D (a vocalist) did as she narrowed down schools and studios was to listen to recordings of the teacher and their students to see whether she liked their sound. Seems obvious, but she was amazed how many studios with great reputatios produced singers who were pushing, or had major tension issues (which she already deals with).
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    That is a great idea! Some people will focus on with a teacher things like winning competitions and the like, results, but I think it is very valuable to listen to the sound of the students they produce, because there could be tip offs there that they won't work for the student. My son had some teachers recommended to him, that he was able to find performances of their students, both in school and out, that he listened to them for 5 minutes and realized he would have a big problem with the teachers (the teachers were great at teaching technique, but musically the kids were all cookie cutter,played the same, there was no variation in how they played, for a kid with his own musical ideas that kind of teacher is suicide).
  • buoyantbuoyant Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    The other side of sample lessons. My daughter (a vocalist) did some sample lessons at various schools during a spring break trip in her junior year - when we basically knew "not much" about this whole process.

    In the end, the voice professor my daughter ranked the highest at the school she is now attending (and who also ranked my daughter highly/highest) was NOT the voice professor she had a sample lesson with as a junior. Although we had multiple contacts with the original professor, a lot had changed in a year and my daughter knew more about what she was looking for. Can be awkward.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Forum Champion Music Major Posts: 3,556 Forum Champion
    Some teachers prefer that prospective students sit in on lessons with current students so that the prospective can observe teaching methods, sounds, etc. There is a lot to be learned by this and something that might be easier to arrange.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    @Mezzo'sMama :
    Good point, my son sat in on a studio class at one of the schools he is applying to for grad school and seeing the students gave him a lot of insight into the teacher, both good and bad, and that is important.
  • classicalsaxmomclassicalsaxmom Registered User Posts: 307 Member
    Agreed! My son sat in on a studio class and after the class was even more impressed with the prof than he had been previously. The studio members were very friendly as well, asking him questions and answering his. It was clear that studio has a very collegial/familial atmosphere, which is what DS prefers.
  • coloraturakidcoloraturakid Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    edited January 2017
    My D ( VP) took some lessons in her juniour year which actually helped us rule out programs and teachers. She audited studio classes and really chose her top teachers/programs from those experiences. She had a phenomenal pre college teacher who was essential in training her to look for students voices in other studios. After acceptances were in my D took lessons at her top two choices and met with both BM & MM studio students after observing their studio class performances.
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