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How to give non-audition liberal arts schools a sense of applicant's musical ability?

jazzshreddermomjazzshreddermom Registered User Posts: 1,360 Senior Member
edited June 2009 in Music Major
Let's say your son or daughter is (in addition to conservatories) also applying to top liberal arts schools where they can major in music, but where auditions are not part of the process. Is there an accepted way for your kid to let those places know just how accomplished they are? Obviously a resume and recommendations would tell part of the story, but I'm curious if people do anything else?

Forgive me if this is a silly question.
Post edited by jazzshreddermom on

Replies to: How to give non-audition liberal arts schools a sense of applicant's musical ability?

  • binxbinx Registered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    Look for something in the school's application about supplemental material. They will often allow or encourage you to submit a CD that is then reviewed by the music dept.
  • uskoolfishuskoolfish Registered User Posts: 2,923 Senior Member
    D sent a CD with her singing to all schools. She also arranged to meet with the music dept head and to have a practice music lesson when we visited if possible. And some schools offered music meriit scholarships even though you did not need to audition to be admitted into the music program (American, GW and Muhlenberg.) She rec'd scholarships from each.
  • MomwaitingfornewMomwaitingfornew Registered User Posts: 5,821 Senior Member
    Note that supplemental materials are often due a month or so before the application deadline.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,236 Senior Member
    DD (not a music major) actually had lessons with the private instructors at each school to which she applied, and also met with the orchestra director and head of the music department at EACH school as well. DD wanted to continue playing her instruments in college and continue lessons but is not a music major. This is the process she used to figure out which programs suited her and which did not. My guess is this is also how the music folks figured out whether they really could "use" her in their orchestras or not.
  • N8MaN8Ma College Rep Posts: 205 Junior Member
    If the schools you are considering use the Common Application, there is an Arts Supplement that serves this exact purpose. I'd say 30-40% of all applicants to Bard College (not the conservatory) append music CDs, art slides, or short films on DVD to their applications as a way to demonstrate well-roundedness.
  • SJTHSJTH Registered User Posts: 1,892 Senior Member
    The Arts Supplement of the Common App is definitely your friend. My son used that form (or the one another school offered), and sent his music resume, music references and a CD of three songs he used for some jazz pre-screens. This served him very well at the three non-audition schools to which he applied.
  • jazzshreddermomjazzshreddermom Registered User Posts: 1,360 Senior Member
    Thank you so much! This is exactly what we wanted to know, and Bard is on my son's list of schools, along with Wesleyan and Brown. (He's a jazz guitarist - non-conservatory).

    Let me expand my question now. Do you think that for a musician student who plays at a high level, their passion/ability increases their changes at those schools, perhaps even with slightly lower stats than their typical admit?
  • SJTHSJTH Registered User Posts: 1,892 Senior Member
    I would say that was definitely true of my son--because all schools are trying to build a campus community--and if your son is saying he wants to pursue music at these schools and thus be part of music in the community, it definitely helps.
  • uskoolfishuskoolfish Registered User Posts: 2,923 Senior Member
    To answer your question, I think it depends on each school and how important music is to them and how many other musicians apply. In my opinion, being a vocalist who had been the lead in school plays and founded/directed an accapella group made a difference at GW and at Brandeis where she was awarded $15K merit scholarships. She had the grades to be admitted to both schools, but the merit awards were the result of her music and/or leadership.

    At Brown, I feel her music would not have made a difference. She did not apply, but if she had, her music would not have made her stand out enough to offset grades (she was on the slighlty lower end for ivies--97.8 GPA, 2130 SAT). On the tour they spoke of how there were at least 15 accapella groups. I knew then that while her talent would make her FIT in, that it would not help her GET in. She ultimatley decided to pursue a performance degree, and did not apply.
  • jazzshreddermomjazzshreddermom Registered User Posts: 1,360 Senior Member
    A 97.8 gpa!!! Wow! :;
  • binxbinx Registered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    My oldest S attended UPenn, a non-music major. He plays piano and guitar. He did not send a CD. However, he did include his accomplishments on his application. When we attended the "admitted students reception" in our area, the speaker rattled off some tidbits about the students in the auditorium (there were several dozen admitted students present, along with family). The speaker said these were things that were "sticky-noted" on the front of the applicaton by the readers. For my S, they mentioned "Outstanding Performer on piano." It surprised us that out of all of his various accomplishments, that was the one that stood out to them. So don't underestimate its value.
  • jazzzmommjazzzmomm Registered User Posts: 545 Member
    My son is a geology major at Brown who is also very musical--he ta's the African Drum classes and is a very accomplished percussionist and bassist. His quirky arts supplemental materials including CD recordings and a music resume got him noticed at Amherst, Duke and Brown--they all mentioned it in his acceptances. So many kids have the stats for top schools, but the music makes them stand out sometimes!
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,236 Senior Member
    I should add that while my daughter did not submit any supplemental "stuff" to any colleges, two noted her musical accomplishments (which were clearly listed on her application...and one was the subject of her essay) in their acceptance letters.
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