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Anyone used Music School Central for college consultant?

mrlcpamrlcpa Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
This is a college consultant specializing in music, and I am wondering if anyone has had experience with this company?

https://musicschoolcentral.com/about/
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Replies to: Anyone used Music School Central for college consultant?

  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,524 Senior Member
    Also having a teacher can help a lot, as can summer programs- a lot more bang for your buck so to speak.
  • bridgenailbridgenail Registered User Posts: 1,001 Senior Member
    You haven’t shared a lot of information about your D. It may be helpful to know more about her music background. Does she play or sing...at school...or at a private music school? Does she have a private music teacher? I believe that from another post her interest is music technology...so does she do something related to that at school...or outside schooL...where a music teacher or professional is available?

    I am also not musical. But my D had teachers from about age 10 on giving us advice first in theater and then in music. My D attended a Saturday music school that assisted with college recommendations. Unlike academics, music students are often referred from one music teacher to the next. It’s a very small world so it’s a type of networking based on talent level and experience in performance (but technology may be different). So you will probably not find many parents that used college consultants here since that is the role of the private music teacher (and other music teachers/professionals you meet along the way). You may find parents that outsourced a portion of the work (the nitty gritty of deadlines) but not the college search as that would be recommended by a long term private teacher in most cases.

    Does your D have any connections with music professionals in her targeted field? If she can meet with them and shadow or work with them it may help too to find out about good programs. Of course you could try a consultant too. It may work just fine. I just wanted to explain why you may not get a lot of recommendations on consultants here.

    You may have more success asking on the musical theater forum as it is quite common in that performance area to work with a consultant...and maybe some of those consultants cross over to other areas.

    Good luck.
  • bridgenailbridgenail Registered User Posts: 1,001 Senior Member
    edited February 10
    One other comment that may help: musical theater is a performance genre were everyone is moving in the same direction. So a consultant can work. The issue in “music” is the genres and the development for each is quite different. A pianist or violinist may be studying music for years from a very young age. While a voice student does not start before age 14 typically and 2 or 3 years of serious study is all that is required. Jazz, contemporary or composition students are all different animals. Then music technology is very wide! So a jack of all trades in “music” is tough to imagine. How in the world would they know what a harpist needed and the best teacher for that particular student. It’s gets very granular in music. Hence the role of a private teacher.

    Still for music technology, it could be helpful to you to at least get your first list of schools...maybe. I would just check anyone’s success in her desired field. But I would still try to supplement that with a teacher or professional in the field for more specific advice. And read the excellent info already provide in your first thread.
  • SpartanDrewSpartanDrew Registered User Posts: 1,085 Senior Member
    I agree with @compmom. I actually emailed the guy last year and called him out when he said that "he got kids 30K at Berklee or full rides at Thornton" and other statements like that. He can only guide people, he certainly isn't the one in that room auditioning and he isn't "getting kids these huge scholarships". I can guarantee he would not have done any more for my D financially than I did.

    I sent him an email questioning his assertion that he "got a kid big money at Thornton". This was his response to me:

    "This particular student we helped get both a music scholarship as well as academic scholarship to USC. The reward was about 50/50 all merit-based"

    Well here's the thing, he can't do anything with a kid's grades and test scores. That's all the kid. Same with talent. All the talent of the student. I doubt very much he did anything that the kid, music teachers and involved parents couldn't do for themselves.

    I will say I tried to help a couple of friends with their kids with advice on how to appeal scholarships etc. They didn't listen and the kids are at school on low scholarship amounts. Everything you need to know you can get right here on this board. It's pretty much the best advice out there and FREE. You just have to be involved and informed.
  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica Registered User Posts: 3,348 Senior Member
    This guy was publishing a lot of (heavily flawed IMO) music conservatory ranking lists a few years ago (2014), trying to build his credentials. I'd tread carefully. You can do this work yourself for free, as SpartanDrew says. Or hire a more experienced consultant. https://slippedisc.com/2014/10/how-can-this-possibly-be-the-best-music-school-in-america/
  • mrlcpamrlcpa Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thank you all. For some context, we have lived abroad for seven years until this summer so we are not really connected to a music network. Our D had piano lessons in the US then in Hong Kong until age 13, rebelled against classical training, picked up the bass guitar, then started writing electronic music. She has done composing and producing for a full length film by university students in HK. But she is not classically trained well. She is now being mentored by a music producer in NY and he is giving her music producing advice and feedback on her pieces, but he does not have experience with what school programs want. My husband and I work full time, demanding jobs so we are fine outsourcing work, but we don't want to pay without get value. We are fine paying for what we would get by spending hundreds of hours of research. That being said, we do anticipate researching alongside the consultant, so its not like he would absolve us of involvement or work.

    I so much appreciate the feedback. It seems that this consultant is somewhat known to the community. I am still unsure what to do so would appreciate further insights if anyone has any.
  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica Registered User Posts: 3,348 Senior Member
    Can you tell us what type of program your daughter is looking for? Composition, contemporary music, etc?
  • WestOfPCHWestOfPCH Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    @mrlcpa . . . I TOTALLY agree with @glassharmonica and am highly skeptical of everything to do with the Music School Central site. To explain why, here are my detailed opinions, with a potential alternative at the end this:

    The publisher/consultant of that site, Bill Zuckerman, may have the best of intentions. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that, and I mean no ill will towards him personally.

    But the criteria he uses for his music school rankings is nowhere to be found, and he doesn't source any of the info which he uses in his descriptions of the respective schools. Some of the stuff on his site is just flat-out incorrect. This tells me it's based purely on his opinion, perhaps combined with rumors and guesses.

    Now mind you, he has a right to his opinion as much as anyone, and his opinions aren't completely wrong. If you're just starting out researching music schools, it isn't a horrible place to begin one's search. But that doesn't mean you should rely on his opinions to make decisions about one's future, let alone pay money for those opinions or alleged "insight" into the music school admission process.

    I've found more detailed and useful information on College Confidential than on his website. I've received truly useful insight by reaching out directly to music schools and/or members of their faculty. I also happen to have a great personal network that I've leveraged throughout this process (though that is mostly filled with classical musicians, and my son is pursuing jazz). All of that was done for my absolute favorite price: Zero. Zilch. Nada. Free fifty free.

    And with that info, frankly, I could write my own set of rankings as could many others on this board, and any of those rankings would be just as valid -- probably more so -- than that website's publisher.

    So please, take whatever money you're considering giving for those "consulting services" and spend it on private lessons with faculty at potential music schools your child is considering attending. Travel to schools that might be on your list. Spend it on SAT/ACT prep sessions with credible, experienced tutors. Maybe even use it to rent a decent hall/studio to record pre-screen audition videos. ANY of those purposes and many others would be better uses of your hard-earned money than to hand it over to Music School Central.

    If you really want to pay a specialist to help your child get into music school, hire someone like Beth Rhode (bio: http://calaprep.com/the-team/beth-rohde-2/) and her firm, College Auditions LA. I don't know her personally and get absolutely no benefit by mentioning her; but I have heard many positive things from other families who've been clients and my son helped a friend record a pre-screen audition video at her studio, and I'm confident that she is the real deal. She and her husband, Matt, are professional working musicians with a track record of personal and educational success, not to mention a sizeable network of musicians in LA and beyond from whom they have gained valuable information. I'm sure there are others like her in other major cities who I'd trust more than Mr. Zukerman.
  • akapiratequeenakapiratequeen Registered User Posts: 1,000 Senior Member
    edited February 11
    Second @WestOfPCH comments above. Music School Central was the first place I googled, two years ago, and it pointed me towards some possibilities. But it was a random list, in some cases flat-out wrong, based on completely subjective criteria.

    Like you, we were newbie parents without experience in this field, but we were able to find S a teacher who could fill those gaps. From recommending schools (and helping research the ones I found on CC) through his network to recording s’s Prescreens and choosing repertoire/preparing for auditions, he’s guided this process for S and served as a sounding board for me as well. I would strongly recommend researching someone who can do this for your D rather than a “consultant” per se.
  • bridgenailbridgenail Registered User Posts: 1,001 Senior Member
    edited February 11
    @mrlcpa Thank you for sharing some information on your D. My D is a classical vocalist with a performance degree...so I want to admit up front to not being much of an expert in your D's area. There are some people on this board that may be able to help more. Nevertheless, some more FREE comments...and as you keep getting comments from all of us, you'll probably start seeing a path forward.

    It sounds like your D is interested in composing and/or producing. The former is more academic. The latter more "hands on" (in my opinion which can be corrected). What kind of programs "mix" these...I'm not an expert on...so I will let others respond.

    She's not "classically trained"...that may not matter...particularly if she doesn't want to compose/produce for classical music. So don't limit her due to that.

    It sounds like she is still playing bass guitar? What kind of music does she like to play?

    She's in NY. That better than being in rural Wisconsin! You have lots of resources close by. Can she visit a nearby college that has coursework in composing/producing to start getting an idea of what's available. Before or after (depending on confidence) she could approach a teacher at the school about expectations and her level.

    Has she considering a summer program (camp) in music to learn more and see where she stands against peers?

    If you did ONE college visit, you would learn so much so quickly. In many of these areas, there are really only a dozen or so schools (at most) that fit kids' interests. So you could have a list of schools pretty quickly as she hones in on exactly what she wants to study...and you start getting the vocabulary right...don't worry "music tech" is the hardest one from what I see.

    Finally, it's a good thing NOW to think how academic (outside of music) your kid is...and what she wants from her college experience. Music kids are like everyone else...some of very academic and want to have some to a lot of study outside of music...others want primarily music with little outside academic distraction. This distinction can really narrow a list too. If she is academic and wants the full college experience that may knock out conservatories. If she really wants music, music, music that may knock out universities with built-in conservatories. If you don't mind sharing if outside academic study is very important, kind of important or not important at all (understanding that all music schools require MUSIC academic study) that would be helpful too.

    And...if you do have demanding jobs, you can always look for a local consultant that will help with all the deadlines, essays and is open to assisting/learning about music degrees. Once she has a good list that consultant can help with all the nitty gritty. Of course finding one with music experience would be great too...but I wouldn't pay a real high fee for promises that seem dubious...to other experienced parents.
  • dbandmomdbandmom Registered User Posts: 220 Junior Member
    Personally, I don't know how any ranking could be "right". I'll keep it simple by saying the list for a classical musician vs jazz musician vs commercial / contemporary musician is NOT going to be exactly the same. Now throw in the term "electronic music" and watch things get really confusing

    That being said, most of these types of lists give a good starting point for most families.

    OP, I think your starting point has to be to have a nice sit down and talk about what your daughter wants to study and what the end goal is. Based on your reply above, I can't quite tell if your D has a singular focus. If (like my child) the answer is basically "a lot of stuff" your first step may be to eliminate every school that isn't open to allowing (for example) focuses on both bass and composition. Maybe she wants s minor in music production ? Maybe she doesn't because she's getting that outside of school? Maybe she just wants to focus on getting some theory because that's where she may be lacking? Once you know what she's looking for, this all gets easier.

    It sounds like you don't have a lot of time, but what about your daughter? Provide her a list that you can probably obtain right here an a matter of hours and let her do the "digging deep". Then you can probably hire a local teacher
    to prepare her for auditions, record any prescreens and maybe also send her to a local ACT/SAT prep center and they will also likely be available for hire to help oversee / monitor her applications and deadlines.
  • GagasMomGagasMom Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    I spoke with Steve Lipman of Inside Music Schools early on but discovered quickly that he was unaffordable for us. Basically the package I could afford included only work I had already done myself. :) However, he might be worth looking into. He didn't make *any* claims like the ones described above and was pretty straightforward about what his role is, realistic expectations etc etc. His credentials were good too. He spent a decent amount of time for me on the phone -- which was free -- and I did get a couple good bits of info out of that conversation. One of the levels of consulting that he offers (which he sends to you -- not info you can get off the website) might work well for what you are looking for. Especially if she already has a music producer working with her. Hope that is helpful. https://insidemusicschools.com
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,524 Senior Member
    edited February 12
    The music technology field has so much terminology variation and so many nuances to the programs, that it can be daunting. The first thing to think about is whether she wants a creative pursuit or a technical one, or both.

    I posted a lot of schools on the other thread and will do so here, as well as some of the posts from that thread, for you but also people who read this in the future. It won't take thousands of hours. Just look at a few websites to get the gist of what is offered. And understand that she doesn't have to major in any of this. Internships, jobs and volunteering can get a lot of skills. As can extracurriculars. And often once you take one music tech. class the studio is yours for 4 years.


    Also there are both BM and BA degrees, double major, double degree, major/minor etc.

    1) sample school websites to understand the field (with all the different terminology)
    2) make a list while considering size, location, "vibe" as well as offerings in the field
    3) clarify tech. versus creative or both
    4) limit deeper research to the smaller list :)
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,524 Senior Member

    http://www.berklee.edu/majors includes contemporary writing/production, production/design, film etc.
    http://online.berklee.edu/music-production online only, of course they also have on campus
    http://www.uml.edu/FAHSS/music/Programs/Undergraduate/SRT/Sound-Recording-Technology.aspx UMass Lowell, includes internships-very well regarded nationally
    http://www.northeastern.edu/camd/music/academic-programs/bs-in-music-industry/ includes coop
    http://www.emerson.edu/academics/departments/visual-media-arts/undergraduate-programs/audiosound-design
    http://harttweb.hartford.edu/undergraduate/music/production.aspx excellent conservatory w/music production, affordable
    http://www.purchase.edu/departments/AcademicPrograms/Arts/music/programs.aspx excellent conservatory w/studio composition and studio production, just outside NYC, very affordable
    http://www.clarku.edu/departments/clarkarts/music/ Clark has production elements and scoring etc. but NO AUDITION- the advantage of a college / university versus conservatory/music school (but you can submit work as an arts supplement)
    Ithaca College and Conservatory
    Columbia College Chicago
    UC Denver
    College of St. Rose
    NYU
    Miami Frost
    Belmont
    Michigan's PAT (top program)
    https://sfcm.edu/departments/technology-and-applied-composition
    https://www.mcgill.ca/music/people-research/areas/music-technology
    https://mcgill.ca/undergraduate-admissions/musical-science-and-technology
    https://music.usc.edu/departments/music-technology/

    Also look at Brown's MEME and Oberlin's TIMARA for examples of creative use of technology.
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