I was so happy to come across this forum - thanks to all of you for generously sharing your insights and helpful suggestions. My son (a rising senior at a private HS) wants to study music in college, but his skill set doesn’t neatly fit for many of the music major programs we’ve researched.
He is an amazing, prodigy-like songwriter, and writes both music and lyrics. He’s written hundreds of songs in the nearly 4 years since he started songwriting, and he is, by all 3rd party accounts, national-caliber in his songwriting talent. His genre is broad and span several categories – alt-rock, pop, underground/experimental music describes it best. It’s very accessible, catchy, appeals to a wide range of listeners and would certainly have broad commercial potential.
He’s not a “virtuoso,” though. He’s an excellent singer (although not operatically or music theater trained), and a good intermediate guitar player. He has taken music (studio band) throughout high school, which plays and performs frequently throughout the year. He also takes private guitar lessons and performs at open mic nights and recitals. He reads music passably, but is not a music theory maven. He is in a band (a duo) and they’ve released a fantastic EP and an album that they wrote, performed, mixed and produced entirely on their own. In his post-sophomore and current post-junior summer he is taking the Berklee Singer-Songwriter camp, where he’s done well.
He would like to do a college music major that allows him to pursue songwriting/ singing/ creative side of music, along with classes in music production. That way he would come out of college with both hard and soft skills, with an eye toward being able to work in the music industry in more than one capacity. With the pandemic and the difficult transition to online learning, he really struggled to allocate his time between academics and his music. He’s a very good (although not stellar) student, takes a college prep curriculum (although no AP’s at his school), gets A’s and B’s in traditional academic subjects, and he scored highly (1300’s-1400’s) on the SAT. We are in the suburbs of a big urban area, where his numbers are not good enough to get into Ivy League or very top tier schools based on traditional academics.
Before I started reading this forum my question to the parents in the know was going to be where can I find a college counselor who knows about music schools? (His school has good college counselors, but their knowledge is pretty much which schools have “good music programs,” but they simply don’t have the detail knowledge to distinguish between the programs offered by each school.)
Since it seems unlikely there is a magic music college counselor who can name the colleges that would be a good fit for my son, I wondered if any of you have kids who were similar, or if, through your own college research, you know of any colleges that you’d recommend we explore.
He is going to apply to Berklee because he loved it there, but that’s likely a crapshoot. We looked at Belmont, but they require you to choose between production and creative side from Day 1. His former music teacher – who went to Berklee – suggested he look into Musician’s Institute in LA, which now offers bachelor’s degrees. His college counselors have suggested NYU, USC, Michigan, and Northwestern (all of which look to be a stretch academically), as well as Middle Tennessee State, Bard, Loyola Marymount (LA), Full Sail, Columbia College Chicago, Northeastern, Occidental, The New School, Syracuse, and American. We are knee deep in researching all of those now.
Thanks for reading this far. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, we’d be very grateful!