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Yale or Juilliard?

jeanpeanjeanpean 5 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited April 2010 in Music Major
My son, an academic and musical whiz, must choose (soon) between Juilliard and Yale. He is a double bassist who scored 2400 on his SATs, he is first in his class, already has 80 college credits including some graduate math credits, national recognition in math, physics and chemistry . . .etc. Yale has offered a relatively generous financial package. Juilliard nothing but his heart's desire (he was even invited to join the studio he most wanted.) We are self employed middle class folk with two younger and similarly inclined children. We honestly didn't think he would get into Juilliard. He has only played the bass 3.5 years (piano for 11.) Thoughts are much appreciated. Sorry for the improper previous posting.
edited April 2010
34 replies
Post edited by jeanpean on
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Replies to: Yale or Juilliard?

  • sopranomom92sopranomom92 1299 replies40 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,339 Senior Member
    What a wonderful dilemma to have. Congrats to your son, and to you.

    Your son must enjoy his math, physics and chemistry studies for him to have achieved national recognition. It's hard to imagine that he'd want to drop all that to go to Juilliard. You don't mention what his major would be at Yale, perhaps he's undeclared. Others can chime in regarding the ability of your S to get lessons and participate in ensembles at Yale.

    Has your S ever spent a long period of time doing nothing but music? For example, at a long summer program? If so, did he appreciate the break from academics? Or, did he miss it? Juilliard will expect a near-total focus on music.

    Obviously, your S has successfully navigated high-level music performance with high-level academics. Will he be happy dropping something he clearly loves (math/science)? Certainly, at Yale he won't be dropping music, in fact he may have a lot of musical opportunities there, including applied music lessons, but he won't have the single-minded focus on music performance. Also, what peer group would he enjoy the most? Fabulous musicians, dancers, and actors, or talented students in many different major fields?

    If he's really not sure if he's ready to drop math/science, perhaps Yale is the safer choice for his freshman year. If he's not happy there in the first few months, he can apply to transfer to a conservatory, or perhaps to one that has a dual degree option. It seems to me that if he were to choose Juilliard, it could be more difficult to find his way back into the sciences.

    Good luck to your son with his decision. You'll gets lots of valuable feedback here.
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  • SJTHSJTH 1843 replies50 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,893 Senior Member
    Jean, it's a tough choice: have you contacted Juilliard about matching some Yale aid? What is the comparative debt? Are you letting him choose--had you discussed music school vs. University? It sounds as though his heart is leaning toward Juilliard, but your head is leaning toward Yale? Obviously, these are two amazing choices, but from the wording of your inquiry, it sounds as though you feel more comfortable with him using his academic prowess at Yale? Congrats to your son!
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  • cb0610cb0610 184 replies11 discussionsUser Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 195 Junior Member
    In the long run, I think Yale is the better choice. There are some many great and interesting opportunities involving math, physics, and chemistry that are tough to pass by. Though, make sure your son continues playing music; it is such a wonderful life skill.
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  • jeanpeanjeanpean 5 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Thank you for the quick input. He was advanced quite early in math and science and has for a few years known that even though he has a great natural talent in these areas his true love in life is classical music. He adores NYC and wants very, very badly to go to Juilliard. He will major in music no matter where he goes. We have provided Juilliard with a copy of the other award, much supplemental information regarding our situation, asked them to contact the teacher who has accepted him (at his suggestion) and pretty much begged them to find him more money.
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  • violadadvioladad 6351 replies294 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    jeanpean, welcome and congratulations.

    sopranomom92 offers good advice, but is he intent on focusing on math,the sciences or music? Or does he know? That may be the key.

    It's quite conceivable Yale can position him for MM performance studies if he decides to pursue music as a grad student, whereas Julliard will not position him for grad studies in an academic field. Has he auditioned with any Yale SOM faculty, and have any indicated a willingness to take him as a student as an undergrad?
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  • mamenyumamenyu 1489 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,520 Senior Member
    Yale, given all you've said about your son. In addition to music performance opportunities there, Yale has a very strong academic music department, not to mention all the other top quality academic offerings to challenge his mind - he won't find that combination at Juilliard.
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  • violadadvioladad 6351 replies294 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    jeanpean, there's a current thread here http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/music-major/904754-harvard-nec-after-attending-harvard.html that outlines some of the points to consider. While it is titled "Harvard", it does tangentially touch (in some depth) on some of the intricacies and nuances of music from a performance standpoint at Yale.
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  • binxbinx 4229 replies89 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    Okay, I'll be the odd man out. (Really odd man, since I'm female.) Odd in the sense that I'm not that quick to let go of a kid's dream.

    A few questions first. Have you met the bass teacher at Yale? Are you happy with the undergrad orchestra and opportunities at Yale? Yale has a wonderful grad school program for music, but I really don't know much about undergrad. Your son certainly sounds like the kind of person who would thrive in an intensely academic environment. Since Yale is Ivy, there are no scholarships. So the financial aid package must be grants that cover your need, right? It would be a great place for him, and he's certainly smart enough to make the best of it.

    On the other hand, there is Juilliard, your kid's dream. Full disclosure, my kid went to Juilliard. Juilliard is not for everyone - it is all music all the time. Lots of kids are attracted to the name, and find out it's not at all what they wanted. (However, the same could be said for Yale!)

    My kid is leaving NYC next month, after spending 6 years there - undergrad and grad school both at Juilliard. He loves NYC. It is breaking his heart to leave. When he was applying to grad schools, he skipped Yale. But the Yale teacher on his instrument is the SAME one as at Juilliard, and Yale's grad school is FREE. Why would he not apply? Because he wanted NYC. Silly boy.

    So my other questions are: How many other kids do you have to put through school? What does your future earning look like? Are you nearing retirement, where loans will be a bigger burden?

    The general wisdom on these boards is that cheap is best, especially for musicians who may never make another penny.

    I think there is some value in that statement, but i think it's overly simplistic. Sometimes we have to pay a bit more to get the best results. We will probably always drive old cars, have our house decorated at least a decade or two behind the styles, and eat in more than out. But we carefully considered (with all three of our kids) how to give them the best shot at what they wanted. In all three cases, it was expensive. And not necessarily the right decision for everyone. But we have no regrets.

    Today I was sending another check off to pay down some school loans, and I was thinking, "What better uses could I have had for this money?" I couldn't think of anything.
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  • sopranomom92sopranomom92 1299 replies40 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,339 Senior Member
    "His true love in life is classical music." There's your answer, really. Hopefully, your family can make it work. FWIW, we did not follow the "cheaper is better" plan. We went with D's gut feeling, her dream. If your son has a clear preference for Juilliard, in his heart, perhaps you and he can make the sacrifices needed. Once we've done all the research, I think intuition is the best guide.
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  • MSauceMSauce 672 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 675 Member
    My logical advice would be to go to yale and pursue the dream like many others have pursued theirs at yale, and at the very least, he'd have the degree from yale to fall back on. And actually I heard from a fellow pre-frosh bassist that the YSO is looking for some basses.

    But if it were actually me? Theres no way I would give up on my dream to go with the safe option. If he wants to go to Juilliard, how could he pass on his dream for the safer option?

    If it were me I'd go balls to the walls and do what I want to do. If his dream doesnt work out, hes obviously a pretty smart kid, so he should be alright. I say pursue greatness even if its not always safe.
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  • TerrenceCTerrenceC 287 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 291 Junior Member
    Hi jeanpean,

    I trust your son went to Bulldog Days?! I really have to say my experience there was quite amazing. Of course the school itself is beautiful and just academically wonderful, but the real draw is the people I met. Everyone I met was intelligent, inviting, warm, and actually seemed to genuinely want to talk to me. It's just an awesome place.

    However, unfortunately, I left Yale with a kind of bad taste in my mouth. I met with a faculty professor from the SOM, but all she did was tell me all that I (mostly) already knew. Also, she said she couldn't hear me sing because she said they are not allowed to play favorites and it would just invite bias, which is understandable. However understandable their rules are, though, I do have to think about me and what I want. She told me that she was taking at most two undergrads next year into her studio (and they may not even be incoming freshmen) I'm not sure if the double bass person will be the same way. Personally, working with a grad student (that I don't even know who this person will be) is a little scary, but I have heard some reassuring things here and there. What do you know about your son's private lesson situation (I am quite interested!)?
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  • stringkeymomstringkeymom 437 replies20 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 457 Member
    Congratulations! As others have said, this is a great dilemma to have. If you'd like to PM me, I could put your son in touch with my son who is currently a freshman at Yale pursuing his music in tandem with his other passions. His other option was the violin studio of his dreams at NEC, and making the decision last year was very difficult. I second others who observe that this is a really individual choice and depends on your son and what he needs to pursue his goals. Has your son visited Yale and met with faculty he is interested in working with and consulted with them about the B.A./M.M. program? It sounds as if your son is extraordinarily gifted to have achieved these results with so few years of study, and I have a suspicion that he is going to do something amazing with his life!
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  • thumper1thumper1 73033 replies3180 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,213 Senior Member
    I'll be another odd man out here. Yale has an outstanding graduate program in music performance. As an undergrad, your son would get a BA...and not in performance. In addition, some of the applied teachers only teach the grad students. Undergrads are taught by grad students (who are fine musicians...but if your son wants to study with a particular applied teacher at Yale, he might be disappointed). Now...having said all of that...there are MANY opportunities to pursue music at Yale...multiple ensembles for undergrads who are NOT music majors but are talented none the less.

    If your son wants to major in music performance as an undergrad, he cannot do this at Yale.

    I know...my son would have chosen Juilliard over Yale...for my kid...it was all about the music.
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  • sagitersagiter 348 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 358 Member
    If Julliard doesn't come up with any money can you afford to send him there ? That's really the question here.
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  • compmomcompmom 10580 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,656 Senior Member
    If you can find a way to fund it, then Julliard!
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