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What do you say at a sample lesson when...

imamigerimamiger Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
edited August 2009 in Music Major
When you child is meeting with or getting a sample lesson from a prospective professor that they later want to audition with and the professor asks "what other schools are you looking at"? Are you supposed to tell them some other schools, is it good to let them know who they are in competition with? Should you then say that the person you are speaking to is your first choice? Isn't this a bit like a poker game--letting them know who the competition is but still letting them think you want to study with them so you aren't turned down. So far my D is looking at large state public universities (not conservatories) and both professors she met pressed her to say where else she was auditioning and one professor really wanted to know how serious she was about *his* school vs. the others.

Along the same lines, if you know you child needs to audition at a few places (backup, in case of being turned down at 1st or 2nd choice) is it ever appropriate to ask one of these professors what other places she should consider since she can't afford to put all her eggs in one basket? One professor told her "I'll take 2 students for my studio next year and right now at this music academy there are 6 of you who are interested."

D's instrument is very competitive, so it's not like we have professors chasing after a double-reed student.

Gee, life seemed simpler when I thought a kid with great grades and test scores could just apply whereever they wanted and get in!
Post edited by imamiger on

Replies to: What do you say at a sample lesson when...

  • CosmosCosmos Registered User Posts: 662 Member
    You could try something like,

    "I'm not sure what other schools I'm looking at yet. There are a lot of great choices out there."
  • percussiondadpercussiondad Registered User Posts: 503 Member
    My D was asked the same question at her 1st choice and she told him all of the college names but that she was not deciding till she had the opportunity to visit each and to have a private lesson at each. That seemed to work and they actually discussed the different colleges and she told him what she thought the strong and weak points for each. She did get accepted at this college and starts in 3 weeks.
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,444 Senior Member
    My D also told the teachers where else she was looking. One head of a department then took it upon herself to bad mouth the other schools which helped rule her school out. It was also asked during auditions. One person on the panel said "this is a really interesting list." She had no idea what he meant by that, as "interesting" is not always positive.
  • edadedad Registered User Posts: 2,584 Senior Member
    Always turn the question around. Mention a school or two and then add "Can you recommend other schools I should apply to?"
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,679 Senior Member
    D has been saying something vague like "other liberal arts schools with strong music programs, and maybe some conservatories" and that seems to have been sufficient so far.
  • operaticmimosaoperaticmimosa Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
    The same thing has been happening to me at trial lessons. I generally say that I am very interested in their school and that it is among my top choices but that also auditioning with other strong music school at universities like Boston University, UCLA etc.
  • VicAriaVicAria Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    We've always answered honestly. For one thing, I think it demonstrates what kind of search you're conducting on behalf of your child, which can be halpful information for the professor/instructor. For another, if someone who is an expert in the field has some input for us, we'll happily take it!
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,439 Senior Member
    We've been open about it all too, as trying to remember who said what to whom gets confusing! The head of a department from one place that had accepted my D called one evening and after talking to her for about 30 minutes, asked her " What will it take to ensure that you make our school and my studio your first choice?". That school was not D's first choice, but she did say that finances would play a huge part in her decision. When you get the acceptances, don't be afraid to have your D tell her contact at her first choice school about the other offers she received- often schools can, and will, come up with a better financial aid package for a student they really want.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    My only thought would be that if the head of a music program ever disparaged other programs like that I would probably strongly discourage my son from going to that program, unless there was some big reason not to, like there was this fabulous teacher he already knew and did gangbusters with, or they combined a great program with really super financial aid and so forth.

    One thing I have learned over the past several years is the music world is a small one, and the actions of a music director or even highly placed teachers in the program who shot their mouths off like that could come back to haunt both the program and students who go there (and it also, quite frankly, would make me question how great that program in fact is, if they needed to disparage other programs to make a case for themselves. If they are that good, they wouldn't need to do that, that smacks of someone who deep down doesn't feel their program is as good as X or Y). Even more amazing, considering that teachers of any kind of high level tend to know one another, often teach at the same programs and in many cases may be recruiting one another to attend music festivals and so forth, that woman's behavior was especially bad IMO, because word travels even faster because of this.

    Personally, I would tell my son to answer as he felt fit but would also encourage him to be truthful, if it cost him a slot at a particular school what does that say about that program?
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,439 Senior Member
    So true, musicprnt, so true. The smallness of the music world really came to my attention when a Dean of Admissions at one school where D auditioned was just hired and Dean of Students at the school she will be attending!
  • don9992don9992 Registered User Posts: 343 Member
    My D was blunt about it. All of her choices were conservatories and she'd follow up the list with her reasons for choosing conservatories over universities. They seemed to appreciate that she'd actually thought about it in those terms.
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