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Percussion Major - School Suggestions Appreciated

PercMomPercMom 19 replies3 threads New Member
edited December 2009 in Music Major
Hi - I'm new to this but would love some suggestions for my son, a high school sophomore. He is currently interested in a Percussion Performance major (or double major with music ed or ?). Right now he prefers a BM rather than BFA, but that may change in the next year or so. He is also enjoys chemistry, math and journalism. He's participated in summer programs at Indiana University and U of Michigan. He also likes Northwestern. Suggestions for college visits would be appreciated, since he's also a very "academic" kid.

ACT (9th grade) = 33
PSAT (10th grade) = 217
Current rank (after freshman year) = 1/340
3 Honors classes by end of sophomore year
4 AP classes by end of sophomore year

Thanks for any ideas you can give me!
edited December 2009
9 replies
Post edited by PercMom on
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Replies to: Percussion Major - School Suggestions Appreciated

  • BassDadBassDad 5330 replies51 threads Senior Member

    Welcome to CC.

    What type(s) of music does your son want to study - classical, Jazz, contemporary, other...
    Might he be interested in a dual degree program with a non-musical subject?

    Some of the usual heavy hitters (no pun intended) combining a strong music program and strong academics include:

    Boston U
    Carnegie Mellon
    Cleveland Institute of Music / Case Western
    Juilliard / Columbia
    New England Conservatory / Harvard
    New England Conservatory / Tufts
    Peabody / Johns Hopkins
    U Michigan

    I'm sure there are several others which are not coming to mind at the moment. Hopefully other posters will fill in some more of them. Meanwhile, might I direct you to my series of postings at http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/music-major/258796-so-you-want-music-major-one-familys-experience.html if you have not already read them? As you will see, there is more than just the school to consider.
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  • PercMomPercMom 19 replies3 threads New Member
    Thanks BassDad. I was able to read your other, very helpful, postings. We have several music majors amongst our family and friends (voice performance, conducting, music ed and musical theatre), but no instrumental music majors or double majors. Therefore your info was very helpful to me. I've given your suggestions to my son to research.

    Yes, he is very interested in a dual degree program, either with music ed or a science-related field, but he's young, so this may change.

    If you have other suggestions please let me know. I'd love to hear about good percussion/instrumental music programs (specifically classical although my son adores percussion ensemble, drumline and marching band) even if they may not be in a "top tier" school. My son might enjoy those programs and may even end up with a bit of merit aid as well.

    Thanks again.
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  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager 2843 replies68 threads Senior Member
    My son was also looking for very strong academics along with a top-notch music program. In the end, though, he really only applied to one school for a double major - which is where he ended up going (Bard College Conservatory.) And, although I would love to recommend Bard for your son, it doesn't currently offer percussion in the conservatory (N8Ma may chime in if there are any plans to change that by 2012.) Bard also is not the place for drum lines or marching bands. On the other hand, the other three schools my son applied to would be perfect - USC, Michigan and Northwestern. He didn't end up applying, but considered seriously, Rice, Vanderbilt, Oberlin, Lawrence & Peabody/JHU, Eastman/Rochester. (Actually he looked at that whole helpful list above.) We've heard Rice is not an easy school for double degrees. The others are more encouraging. It sounds like you'll have an exciting process ahead of you. Enjoy it.
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  • violadadvioladad 6351 replies294 threads Senior Member
    A performance or music ed BM coupled with a science based BS can be one of the toughest combo paths out there. All three disciplines are time and credit intensive pursuits, and music ed (and I assume most science based paths) are highly structured and sequenced, and course scheduling commitments will abound. Expect performance/rehearsal committments, music ed off-site class work and science labs to be the big stumbling blocks. Anticipate that it will probably be a five year pursuit, and expect some summer coursework might be in order as well.

    Considering the BA variant versus the BM/BS path may make things a bit easier to manage, but it depends on how the specific degree paths and requirements are structured.

    Some of the schools on that list are high;y supportive of dual pursuits, others aren't or may have nebulous official stances. (Bard mandates it for perormance candidates, but in addition to the percussion issue addressed by SpiritManager, to the best of my recollection, they do NOT offer a music ed path. N8Ma is your go to source here for definitive info if the website is unclear.)

    Plenty of past threads on music ed, "music and ..." , the dual major double degree path within the forum. If you need help, I'd be happy to pull some threads up as links.
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  • BassDadBassDad 5330 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Oberlin has a couple of programs that may be of interest. One is a five year program that results in both a BM in performance and a Master's degree in Music Ed (one of the very few grad level programs at the school). Most of the Music Ed curriculum is taught in the fifth year and the summers before and after that year, with some of the normal elective classes in years 1-4 used to meet the Music Ed distribution requirements. They say that the curriculum enables graduates to satisfy licensure requirements in any state of the US.

    The other program is the five year dual degree program that results in a BM in performance and a BA in a non-musical subject. As violadad states, that is tough when combined with a lab science, but it is possible because of extensive institutional support. The current dean of the Conservatory is an alumnus of that program with degrees in tuba performance and physics.

    Oberlin does not have a drum line and their "marching band" is a quite new, fairly small student-run club. Depending on your son's preferences, the quirkiness that they bring to the whole concept may be off-putting or a source of much amusement. They do have a percussion ensemble as well as a great Jazz department.

    I have also heard that Rice is not an easy place to do a double degree. Ditto for Carnegie Mellon because of the high percentage of required courses within the music performance degree. The NEC/Harvard, Peabody/JHU and Juilliard/Columbia programs usually admit very small numbers in a given year and are a long shot for pretty much anyone.
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  • percussiondadpercussiondad 472 replies31 threads Member
    My D is a Double percussion major. Music Ed and Music Performance, she is going to SUNY Potsdam (Crane School of Music) and loves it. There were many reason she chose Crane but one of the biggest is that felt comfortable and that she belonged there. Had the chance at McGill, Ottawa U, U of Toronto and Queens but decided to head state side and is absolutely loving it.
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  • pukadadpukadad 63 replies8 threads Junior Member
    My son is a freshmanan Indiana and a percussion performance major. This time last year was very stressful and looking back I am grateful for all the info and advice we received here. My son couldn't be any happier after his first semester at IU. The percussion faculty, the performance opportunities, and the overall enviornment has been a very good fit. I would say that a double major at a top
    music school would be extremely difficult as the time spent practicing and performing is immense. I would say it would take a very focused and extraordinary young person to be successful at both. My hunch is that moat who consider this are trying to hedge their bet on a finding a job in the music world after graduation. My advice would be to encourage your child to pick the one path they are most skilled and passionate about and see where that takes them. Seeing my son thriving as he pursues his passion has given me great joy and a more perspective then I had last year at this time. If our kids feel like they have to account for our dreams as well as their own we have probably set them up for failure or at the very least dissapointment. Anyone with specific questions on percussion at IU or about Bloomington, I would be glad to answer them.
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  • lion0709lion0709 105 replies3 threads Junior Member
    You might also take a look at University of Miami's Frost School of Music.
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  • PercMomPercMom 19 replies3 threads New Member
    Thanks pukadad. My son has attended I.U.'s summer percussion academy and loved every minute of it, especially the faculty. While he would prefer a performance major, we have enough of those in our family/immediate friend circle for him to realize that it is a difficult path to take (although these people are mainly theatre, voice performance, dance and musical theatre). I think that's why he continues to speak of a double major. He's met some double majors at U of Michigan who are making it work (performance + engineering), but it sure isn't easy. My s adores physics and chemistry too, but those don't hold a candle to his passion for percussion. I come from a family of musicians - music teachers, opera singers, etc. - so I know my son can do it if he loves it. I see his passion, and it is wonderful to see that in a 15-year-old boy. If you asked him today, he'd say his dream school is I.U., so I may be in touch with you in the future. Thanks!
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