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Class of 2024 undergrad/Class of 2022 grad: The Tours, the Auditions, the Journey

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Replies to: Class of 2024 undergrad/Class of 2022 grad: The Tours, the Auditions, the Journey

  • Busy_MommaBusy_Momma 73 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you, @DramaMama603, for continuing on in the tradition (and evolution) of the threads of @akapiratequeen, @SpartanDrew and of course @GoForth 's journal.

    Bassoonist mom of S20 here. There were three seniors in class of 23 in last thread. Hoping to "meet" more this coming year in addition to all the other wonderful parents/musicians out there. Very excited but anxious. We went on more campus tours last week where we had to deal with a very unfriendly and punitive airline gate agent who was insisting we check in S's bassoon despite my explanations that it was a delicate instrument, etc. Very stressful, but we prevailed (thanks to an assistant gate agent who took pity on us and just dealt with us with a wink-wink-just-keep-going approach). I know this episode was just an introduction to the upcoming journeys during audition season, so we're trying to toughen up already. Deep breaths....
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  • LendleesLendlees 215 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Busy_Momma - you get really good at sweet talking gate agents in this endeavor. We had to do that for S' snare drum on a small plane to Cleveland on an airline that I didn't have 'status' (We usually board first for our local airline). If you explain that your child is a classically trained musician and their instrument is way too expensive to check and will easily fit under the seat in front of you/overhead, they are usually nice about it. Good luck!
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  • Racingfan53Racingfan53 69 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @vistajay thank you for the recommendation! I'll look at FSU. It's nice to get personal recommendations--one of the reasons UNT near at the top of my list is because last year at a sacred music symposium, I wanted to meet a countertenor who I was very impressed with, so I approached him, introduced myself, and asked, "Where did you go to college?" He recommended UNT without reservation.
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  • diglassdiglass 178 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Busy_Momma Happy that you were able to prevail this time. We had one trip where the gate agent ripped the instrument from my DD's hand and gate checked it. I tried to retrieve it as I passed with no luck. The case was damaged on that trip.
    My DD now carries with her a copy of the laws for flying with instruments (paper or on her phone) which state something to the effect of, airlines are required to let you try to find a spcae for the instrument on board the plane.
    Now she usually smiles and says "I'm going to try to see if we can find a space for it, if not I'll gate check it." We usually find a space for it.

    Good luck to everyone in the next round of applications, tours, auditions etc!!!
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  • Racingfan53Racingfan53 69 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Wow. Really like FSU's Presidential Scholars program, music school, and BA sacred music option. Seems like they like their honors students double-majoring across different disciplines. I'm adding FSU to my college spreadsheet! Thank you!!

    And thanks to all of you for offering your invaluable advice, insights, and good wishes!! I'm really excited to embark on this journey with all of you. Best of luck to the class of 2024!
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  • parentologistparentologist 158 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited April 9
    I'm a little early to the show, since kid is currently in tenth, but trying to plan. Kid is so busy with school, school's highly competitive jazz band, and weekend symphony/precollege program, that I don't see how we could do try out lessons during the school year. When do people do them? In the summer before senior year? It will be greatly in kid's favor to do try out lessons - instrument teachers really like kid a lot when they work with kid.
    edited April 9
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  • albertsaxalbertsax 298 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    @parentologist I did most of mine throughout June-September before senior year. One was back in February before at a less prestigious school, and one was the day before my audition this January. :smile:
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  • SweetStringsSweetStrings 18 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    All this talk about airplane troubles has me so worried. I was thinking of buying a smaller violin case for D to use when she travels. She’s got two music festivals this summer and will definitely be flying to them. Any airline suggestions, tips or tricks?
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  • lkbux64lkbux64 377 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    @SweetStrings my son took many airplane trips with his guitar. He was able to bring it on board every single time. On planes where the overhead compartments were too small to fit the guitar, the flight attendants stored the guitar in the closet at the front of the plane. Sometimes we did pay for the right to board early to make sure he would have first dibs at the overhead space.
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  • Busy_MommaBusy_Momma 73 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited April 9
    @Lendlees, the overhead bins were already full even though only half the passengers were boarded. I understood this, so I was OK with her checking our 1 carry on and asked if there was any way they could try finding space in a closet (a suggestion I had read before). I then went on to explain my case re: how that was not possible with the bassoon; she wasn't having any of it. A professional bassoonist had written the same suggestion that @diglass had re: keeping a copy of the laws, but again, the agent wasn't having of it. I got desperate and said that I would plead my case on Twitter. And so she told me to sit off to the side and that when I was done tweeting, she would rebook me. I was willing to be rebooked (because everyone has made it clear that under no circumstance do I ever let this instrument be checked). However, I wanted them to retrieve my other suitcase for which I had already paid the baggage fee since I was only going to be in the destination city for 1 day for another sample lesson; I definitely wouldn't have seen that suitcase for awhile.

    I also read that paying the extra money to be boarded first ensures that there will be room in the overhead bin for the instrument. Frankly, I was too cheap to do that. Fortunately, once we were on, the flight attendant did find room in one of the closets. I might have to rethink my frugality.

    However, I do wonder about those little planes where everything has to be gate checked unless it's a little backpack. S's bassoon teacher said she's never had an issue wearing the case like a backpack. I didn't want to risk it when S went to Interlochen last year to get to Traverse City, so I searched for the closest/cheapest large airport and drove the rest of the way- in this case 6 hours, I believe, from Chicago just for the bassoon :(
    edited April 9
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  • Busy_MommaBusy_Momma 73 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @parentologist, we started touring the summer before junior year, because like you, we couldn't figure out when else we'd have time to do it, esp since all the schools we are looking at require at least a 4h plane ride. We knew that the school's vibe would be different with school in session, but at least we were able to rule out 2 of 4 schools in which S just could not see himself. This past spring break, we went back to the 2 schools he did like and took sample lessons from professors and then checked out another 2. Still trying to figure out how to fit in 2 more schools. Since they are highly recommended and don't seem to require a reconnaisance trip, we're going to somehow fit them in during the early fall of senior year and likely miss a day or 2 of school. I was told of how one student's prescreening was waived because of the strength of his performance at the sample lesson. So far that hasn't happened with us....
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  • tripletmamatripletmama 368 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    @SweetStrings - Our daughter has a friend from LA who successfully bought a seat for his double bass on Southwest and strapped it in. I have never heard of that before. Our daughter has checked her bass in a case specifically constructed for flying on Southwest with no issues. Southwest is apparently the best airline to fly with an instrument. Musicians swear by that airline. Good luck!
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  • SuzeViolinSuzeViolin 76 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited April 9
    @SweetStrings, my D boards early in order to find a safe place for her violin, and I stuff my backpack in front of it to take up that extra space. One time after she put her violin in the overhead bin, another passenger put a heavy suitcase beside it. I was concerned that if the suitcase tipped over and fell on top of the violin case it could cause damage. So the flight attendant put the violin in their closet, or somewhere, and very kindly came back to report that she had put a belt around it to hold it in place.

    Also, talk to your luthier about how to prepare the violin for travel. D stuffs soft cloths on either side of the bridge to hopefully prevent it from falling if the pegs give out and the strings unwind, and she puts a bunch of empty string envelopes under the tailpiece and fingerboard to fill the space and support them. I believe she loosens the strings a tiny bit but I'm not sure. Also, at security, we advise the TSA agents that it's a musical instrument.

    Previously she used a violin "shipping case" which is basically a standard, rectangular violin case with room for a shoulder rest and a music pocket, but doesn't fit a bow (and also doesn't have a convenient pocket for rosin and other supplies), so it's a bit shorter than a regular violin case, and she packed her bow in a separate bow case. She did that a bunch of times but it was hard to deal with having the two separate cases, so she went back to using her regular (oblong) violin case. Also, I'm not sure that those lighter, slightly smaller cases offer as much protection as a somewhat heavier case, but again, it's best to ask a luthier or teacher.

    Hope this helps. She would never let it be put with baggage, we would probably have to rebook if that was the only option. I find that gate agents are almost always understanding and flight attendants are always helpful. We just ask very nicely and hope for the best...
    edited April 9
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  • SuzeViolinSuzeViolin 76 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @SweetStrings, also, using backpack straps is good and makes it look smaller and less noticeable.
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  • albertsaxalbertsax 298 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    We used United and Southwest for many trips with no problems, then for my last audition we used American…. Would not recommend!
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  • SweetStringsSweetStrings 18 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Wow! Thank you so much everybody. I feel like I have an actual plan now for helping D travel with her violin. This board is so awesome!
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  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica 3300 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    All this talk about airplane troubles has me so worried. I was thinking of buying a smaller violin case for D to use when she travels. She’s got two music festivals this summer and will definitely be flying to them. Any airline suggestions, tips or tricks?
    My daughter flies 30+ trips (and more like 60+ flights because so few are direct) a year with a viola (sometimes a violin, but usually the larger instrument), including some international flights and has not had a problem in years. The last time a gate agent tried to take her violin away from her she was a young student taking her first solo flight and burst into tears--they let her carry it on. Not that I recommend tears, but I meant to say that for violins and violas the problems are less frequent. It helps to be on time and to be polite but firm. If anyone tries to force her to check the instrument, the last solution is not to board the flight. They can pretty much always find room. One thing, make sure not to book the super-economy flights with no carryon. And limit personal carryon if necessary.
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  • mperrinemperrine 141 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    We have traveled with a french horn with a detachable bell. It is in a backpack like case.. However when you go to smaller commuter planes, they will make you check it.. American included. My daughter had this happen on a plane from Albany. We purchased a gig bag which was much smaller and could fit under the seat. They do not give much protection but it was better than watching it get thrown into the baggage compartment.. and manhandled
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  • akapiratequeenakapiratequeen 1016 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Not sure if a tenor sax in a gig bag will fit under the seat, interesting question. Are there rules about this somewhere that we could print and bring with us? My D was a competitive ice skater and we had a letter from TSA saying she could bring her skates on flights. Never had a problem even though they are technically weapons....
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  • Busy_MommaBusy_Momma 73 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @albertsax, United was the airline that gave us the problem. Really dependent on gate agent I suppose. I am following up with the airline, however, with hopes of minimizing issues in the future.
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