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McGill, USC, and BU

MuppetMomMuppetMom Registered User Posts: 130 Junior Member
edited June 2009 in Music Major
My D is a rising senior preparing to take on the daunting task of applying and auditioning at music schools. My job is to gather as much information as I can so that she can sift through it and come to some conclusions. I am looking for any and all kinds of information on McGill, USC or BU. Specifically, the quality of the orchestra(s) and chamber music, quality of the academic music classes (music history, music theory and what ever else), facilities, practice rooms, dorms, food and campus life. My D has a good feel for the professors on her instrument so she can handle that part. We toured BU but it was quick and the tour guide was not very good. She did not come away from it with a positive feeling. We had hoped to see McGill this summer, but it may have to wait until auditions (Ugh...Montreal in the winter!). I know we won't make it to USC until auditions.

Even the smallest tidbit of information is welcomed!
Post edited by MuppetMom on

Replies to: McGill, USC, and BU

  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    The best place to start is with the "search this forum" button. If you use the advanced search, and the school name as the criteria, and search thread titles only, it will return past threads that are often most relevant. If your search on posts, rather than title, you'll have to wade through more info that may or may not be pertinent.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/music-major/558178-music-school-visits.html is a great thread as well. There's a link to Worrydad's separate thread with some Canadian schools also contained within.

    Another good source are the Master List threads, which detail acceptances and final decisions. These do go back a couple of cycles (3, maybe 4), and you can try and get firsthand info direct from a parent or student by searching posts by user name (or by pm or email as well).

    For BU, you may want to look at posts by thumper1 and fiddlefrog.

    Without knowing your d's instrument, McGill is a strong program, particularly in viola, strings in general and chamber. BU is a very solid program, as is Thorton.
  • fiddlefrogfiddlefrog Registered User Posts: 1,219 Senior Member
    What is the instrument?
  • VicAriaVicAria Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    We toured McGill this April, looking at their jazz vocal program. Our tour was very thorough. McGill's facilities aren't brand-spanking-new, but they are modern and have been well-maintained, and appear to have been designed with real-world musicianship in mind. For example, they have one sound-proof room for recording that can fit an entire symphony orchestra. We listened in on a few instrumentalists, and a chorale ensemble, and all performances were topnotch. Our sense was that there is a lot of synergy between McGill's collegiate musicians, and Montreal's professional-level musical entities. We self-toured the rest of the campus. Unlike BU, it is a "real" campus feel within an urban milieu, so that was nice.

    One thing we learned, that may go into your calculations. Admission into the music program is based almost entirely on your audition, with minimal emphasis put on your HS academic or extracurricular record. Once at McGill, we were told that music students do not have a core of mandatory LA courses when they get to McGill. You will have some electives, but the courseload is heavily weighed toward music.

    Certainly McGill would beat BU on cost of attending alone.
  • fiddlefrogfiddlefrog Registered User Posts: 1,219 Senior Member
    A word of caution on VicAria's last point-- the sticker price at McGill is certainly much lower than at BU, but scholarship and financial aid funds for international students are very limited, so if the full price of McGill is beyond your means anyway, BU might actually be more affordable.
  • CLRN8MOMCLRN8MOM Registered User Posts: 352 Member
    Of the 3 schools you mention, we are familiar with USC, which we toured last year. It is a top-notch music education. The level of musicianship and education is outstanding. The course catalog is huge, reflecting what I think is an unmatched variety of different musical opportunities. Also, the teaching in other non-music disciplines is quite outstanding. The campus itself is what I would call medium-size, but others might call large. You could walk across the whole campus in 10 minutes. The student body is universally happy. Plenty of non-musical opportunities. We heard that the dorms and food were good. The facilities are very good, including the practice rooms. (I will say that the practice rooms are not close to the dorms or the music building). The music school is right next door to the brand-new film school. The weather in Southern California has caused numerous mid-westerners to become permanent transplants. USC is a dream school except for the following:

    1) We have heard that the music education and opportunities are more heavily weighted for grad students. Please verify for your own instrument/voice.
    2) The surrounding neighborhood is very urban. It is not safe to walk around alone at night. The campus itself is quite safe, and there is plenty of security including escort service. The students who live off campus tend to live close to campus (within a mile) and told us that campus security patrols these neighborhoods as well.
    3) It is really expensive. I think, however, that they are generous with financial aid. The plus side on this is that the connections you make are amazing, which is really important for life AFTER graduation.
    4) The whole campus goes nuts during football season (I wasn’t sure whether to put this in the plus or minus category!).

    I hope this helps.
  • MuppetMomMuppetMom Registered User Posts: 130 Junior Member
    Thanks to all! I will give her all of this information to think about!
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,355 Senior Member
    If you really want to know about the music program and facilities at Boston University, do NOT go through the admissions office. Their regular tours do not really deal well with the College of Fine Arts in general. Give a call to the music department in the College of Fine Arts and ask to speak to one of the music admissions folks. When DS applied, they were very happy to answer questions and otherwise provide information.

    My son tells me that the BU practice rooms have just gotten a much needed renovation. He hasn't seen them but hears they are a vast improvement.

    Personally, I feel that the symphony orchestra is very good. David Hoose is the conductor and is a fine conductor.

    Re: specific instruments, Fiddlefrog is right...it would be helpful to know what instrument this student is studying.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Forum Champion Music Major Posts: 3,559 Forum Champion
    Also, grab a copy of Peterson's Guide to Performing Arts Colleges. It's handy to read during those nights when you can't get to sleep because you are mixing up School A with School B!
This discussion has been closed.