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Music departments at IVY schools (please help!!)

arcmarielarcmariel Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
edited September 2005 in Music Major
Hi, I am a senior this year and will be soon applying to colleges. I have questions about applying to music departments at IVY leage schools. Insightful answers are greatly appreciated.

1. First, I really need to clarify this. You know how music major (not like music therapy but im talking about performance major) is very different from other academic based majors by nature. For example, whether you do history or engineering or business or watever, those have to do with studying well. But music major is about playing well right? So does that mean that if you are applying to cornell music department, your academic doesnt matter that much but you just have to play well in the audition?
Like for juliard, there is a certain requirement that you need to meet.. like say over 3.0 GPA and 1200 SAT score. If you meet that number, they decide your admission mostly based on music skills. And I'm asking if this is the same thing for music departments at IVY schools. Whether you have to play well plus meet a certain academic requirement, or have to play well PLUS have very high academics just as the other applicants who apply to academic majors.

2. I have heard mixed answers from many people about switching majors at colleges. Some say it depends on the major. And others say that since the freshman year and sophomore year courses are almost the same regardless of your major, and since the college dont wanna lose your money, they let you switch from any major to whatever you want to switch to. Which one is right?

3. I heard some IVY League schools dont have undergraduate music performance major. For example, like Yale only has theoretical music (just like any other academic majors) but not a music performance major for undergraduate. Which IVY League schools offer music performance major for undergraduate? (and I play the violin)

4. Suppose the answer to my first question is 'you just need to meet a basic requirement for academics'. Then would it give big advantage to my admission if I apply to music department with music audition rather than applying to other academic major? (I have both good academics+good musical skills).
Because my logic is that While the IVYs are top academic schools in the nation, they are not top music schools. so I was thinking since I am equally good at academics and music, and since it seems like the music admission would be much less competitive than academic admission (becuz the best musicians apply to like Juliard or Curtis), I might have better chance of getting in with music.

I would appreciate a lot if anyone could answer my questions. Thank you.
Post edited by arcmariel on

Replies to: Music departments at IVY schools (please help!!)

  • arcmarielarcmariel Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    bump.. bump..
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    Ivy league is NOT known for having practical, career based majors, other than programs like Wharton. This is partly why they are called "Ivy' league. If you want a strong performance based program, and have solid grades and stats to even be competitive for ivy league schools, you should consider other schools such as Rice, Oberlin, and CMU. There are probably others too that I am unaware of.

    Another problem with attending ivy league schools, even if they had a strong undergraduate music program, is that they usually require a lot of core courses and other liberal arts. This distracts from your being able to perfect your craft.
  • arcmarielarcmariel Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    no im not looking for a performance career. I'm just trying to get in with music and switch to another major later if that could increase my chance of getting accepted.
  • CDN_dancerCDN_dancer Registered User Posts: 2,579 Senior Member
    With regards to the major, it'll depend whether it's in the same "school" as the major you want to switch into. Switching between majors within the School of Arts and Sciences is easier than switching from, say, the School of Arts and Sciences to the School of Engineering.

    I don't know (although I think they do) if the Ivy League schools have a separate "School of Fine Arts." If so, it might be a bit more challenging to switch to the Arts and Sciences.
  • elphaba88elphaba88 Registered User Posts: 502 Member
    definitely Yale
  • hazmathazmat User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 8,435 Senior Member
    arcmariel........lower you options like to Northwestern. No Ivy will take you as a music admit and then watch you switch. Who ever led you to believe that you could do this?
  • JTC007JTC007 Registered User Posts: 1,539 Senior Member
    I agree with hazmat....unless you are a prodigy at music, it is still very indefinite that you will get in with lower scores...and even if you get in, once they have you, they aren't going to want you to switch majors.
  • hazmathazmat User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 8,435 Senior Member
    Look at the joint academic/music programs. Columbia/Juilliard and others.....very competitive and top scholars plus musical talent. I think you are placing a judgement on the quality of the candidates.....poor judgement on your part....theatre is the same story. You need to lower your expectations and look at schools where you can get in on your own merits which seem to be not IVY.

    The Juilliard School

    Exceptionally talented Columbia College students have access to instrumental and voice instruction at Juilliard. The two different programs available to students are described below.


    Students can cross-register for instrumental and vocal instruction with the Juilliard faculty at no additional cost after completing the formal application and successfully auditioning at Juilliard.

    Students can participate in a joint degree program that offers students the opportunity to earn the B.A. and M.M. in five years. To apply to the joint degree program, Columbia College students must have completed 94 points of course work, including the Core Curriculum requirements and major or concentration requirements. Students then apply to Juilliard, audition at Juilliard in their junior year, and, if accepted, enter Juilliard in their senior year. Students accepted to the joint degree program will spend their senior year as well as the following year living in Juilliard dormitories, and those receiving Columbia financial aid will be subject to Juilliard’s financial aid policies during their time at Juilliard.

    Auditions for both programs with the Juilliard School are conducted in early March for fall admission. The application deadline is December 1 for March auditions. Interested students should obtain an application and audition information from the Office of Admissions and submit it directly to Juilliard.
  • hazmathazmat User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 8,435 Senior Member
    The Double Degree Dilemma

    The Peabody Conservatory admissions office is host to many visitors who express an interest in becoming involved with a "double degree" program. At first glance, a double degree program seems to be the perfect solution if you are primarily interested in a liberal arts education, and are also an advanced musical performer. You just do both programs at once, right? After all, you've been juggling both interests all through high school.
    The subject is much more complex than that. Actually, pursuing two diverse interests can be accomplished in several ways, and within various educational settings. Which one you choose depends on your interests and your ambitions. There is no one solution for everybody. To help make sense of it all, you first need to understand the different programs available. Then, to see how individual students find a good match for their needs, I will share some experiences I have had with visitors to Peabody. To be complete, this is going to take awhile-a bit over eight printed pages of text to be exact. Why not get comfortable, and maybe we will have some fun along the way. I am David Lane, the Director of Admissions at Peabody. I will be your guide. At the end you should have a better idea of what you are looking for, how to ask for it, what kinds of schools are most likely to offer what you want, and where the Peabody/Hopkins double degree fits into the continuum.
    Getting the Names Right

    One of the sources of confusion when dealing with the various "double" programs available is what to call them. Sometimes I refer to any such program as "cross-pollinated," but if you use that term no one will know what you mean. The reason a generic term would be handy is that almost every option exists out there-from being a pre-med major and simply taking piano lessons for credit, to straddling two different schools in an effort to gain two degrees at the same time. The terms most often thrown around are "double major" and "double degree." There is a big difference between the two, so let's take a moment to clear it up.

    Liberal arts colleges offer "majors" within the context of a liberal arts curriculum. These programs are easily identifiable in that they lead to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. To keep from tripping over abbreviations like BA/S, I will just use "BA" as short for any liberal arts degree. When you declare a "major," your liberal arts program will include a curricular emphasis in a particular area of study. Numerically, a "major" is made up of about a quarter of the curriculum (figure about 36 credits). The other three-quarters are the usual liberal arts courses. Within this context, students can do "double majors," combining two liberal arts majors (one of which might be music). At the completion of the course, graduating students receive one diploma, stating that they have earned a liberal arts degree. Both majors are listed.

    At this point, we might as well mention "minors." A "minor" is usually half the size of a "major," being composed of only 16-18 credits. Thus, in addition to the option of declaring two majors, most liberal arts colleges will allow you to have a "major" and a "minor." But let's get back to the subject of double majors.

    A liberal arts "major" signifies that you have an extended knowledge of a subject, but does not certify you to be a practitioner of a skill. By the same token, those pursuing a liberal arts music major are not necessarily practitioners of a musical art. Said another way, the holder of a BA in music should be able to discuss Beethoven -- his life and music --but the same individual may or may not be able to perform any of Beethoven's compositions. This ability to perform is the major component of a Bachelor of Music degree.

    A Bachelor of Music (BM) degree is far more specialized than a BA, and, to repeat, its focus is typically on musical performance. In a BM program, the word "major" refers to a musical subject or performance area (clarinet, voice, piano, music theory, etc.). A "double major" for a music student in a BM program might be, say, piano and music history.

    The ratio of musical to non-musical study contained in a Bachelor of Music program is roughly the reverse of the ratio for a BA program at a liberal arts college. That is, roughly three-quarters of the credits are in music performance and musical academics (theory, eartraining, etc.), and one quarter are in traditional liberal arts subjects. This ratio differs from school to school, and can approach fifty-fifty at some universities where there are university-wide course requirements.

    The Bachelor of Music degree certifies a level of knowledge about music and also a level of performance ability, but the performance level is not the same for all schools offering the degree. Here's why. Entrance to a BM program is usually by audition, and competition for available space at the better known music schools tends to drive the required entrance level upward. It follows that the exit (graduation) level of performance will be higher for students that go to these schools. Over a period of decades, the more selective schools earn a well deserved reputation for turning out high-level performers. This serves to attract even higher level performers to these schools, which enhances the effect.

    This brings us to the subject of "double degree" programs. Double degree programs typically take five years to complete, and lead to two pieces of paper-a BA or BS in a liberal arts subject, and a BM in music. Double degree programs are available in all kinds of settings, and at all kinds of schools. Listing all the options here would bore you to death.
  • arcmarielarcmariel Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    So you mean even if I apply to music department, I will still need as high grades and scores as those who apply with academics?

    btw im not like a complete idiot though. even if I apply with academics, I do stand some chance at mid ivies. I was just wondering if taking the backdoor might give me a better chance (im not talking about ethics, but for practical purposes)

    I guess it doesnt work that way according to you then. thx for your input
  • hazmathazmat User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 8,435 Senior Member
    How exactly does this plan of yours work? When you apply to an Ivy they don't accept you based on your application to a major. At Penn you can choose Wharton or SEAS or SAS. At Columbia you can choose Fu or College.....how do you see this working? You just don't get it. If your stats and talents are competitive you will get in and forget the music back door you think exists...it does not.
  • arcmarielarcmariel Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    I never insisted that it works.. the reason I posted the thread was to ask if it would ever work becuz obviously i didnt know. I know that an Ivy doesnt accept a student based on his or her application to a major. But I thought maybe it might be a different story for music major. because if you think about it, someone whos looking for a music performance career would focus almost exclusively on practicing his instrument and thus would not have the same crazy stats as one who focuses on academics. So my guess was that an IVY would not be able to recruit good players if it expects the typical crazy academic stats from a music applicant because most likely someone who is looking forward to a music performance education and planning to be a performer simply would not have that crazy stats. I guess my guess was off then. sorry if my ignorant question bothered you.
  • hazmathazmat User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 8,435 Senior Member
    I can see your thinking but apparently you are not aware of the number of accomplished musicians who are also academics. I played 8 summers at Interlochen and I run into kids I played with all the time in high power academic situations. I don't know your instrument or musical interest but one thing is certain.....musical talent and academic talent cross pollinate all the time. Good luck wherever you apply and play in a musical group where ever that turns out to be.
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Registered User Posts: 9,449 Senior Member
    arcmariel........lower you options like to Northwestern. No Ivy will take you as a music admit and then watch you switch.

    Actually Northwestern is as difficult to get in as Cornell.
  • hazmathazmat User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 8,435 Senior Member
    I just know a couple of kids at Northwestern who are musicians but taking the BA option. You are probably right.....thanks for the call up.
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