Class of 2025 Undergrad/Class of 2023 Grad: The Tours, the Auditions, the Journey

Since most 2020 seniors have now made their official decisions, is it finally time to start a Journey thread for the rising Senior Class of 2021?

My son is finalizing his lists and practicing a lot while quarantined… and we are just waiting & wondering not-so-patiently to see how audition season is going to present itself in the midst of COVID-19. Fingers crossed that live auditions will still be a thing!

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Wow, so fast :slight_smile:

Thanks for starting the thread! We’re in for the ride.

What will the senior year bring? Junior year was certainly not what I expected. Within the past year my daughter:
-switched to viola
-decided she wanted to major in music performance
-made great progress!
-gained and then lost some good performance opportunities due to coronavirus
-gained and then lost a summer intensive opportunity due to coronavirus

At this point my daughter is planning to spend the summer doing intensive study with her teacher. Of course it will have to be online, but honestly I think this is as good an outcome as we could have hoped for. As I said, she’s made great progress, but with less than a year of viola under her belt she still has a considerable repertoire gap, and prescreens/auditions are not so far from now. I’m hoping by the end of the summer her level and ability, and therefore the best direction for her to take, will be more clear.

So I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!

I am back again after 3 years since my daughter is now a rising Senior at CU Boulder College of Music Vocal Performance and we are looking at graduate schools! I will say that it was a struggle 3 years ago as she had to turn down her dream schools in Boston NEC and Boston Conservatory due to finances. But she ended up where she was meant to be with an incredible experience and education. I hope you all talk about Grad schools here since here we go again on the audition train! Good luck to all!

@goldilockspryor PM’ed you

The lost opportunities this summer are certainly gut-wrenching for music students. :neutral: My son decided to make some lemonade out of it and is focusing on his audition and solo rep as well as fine-tuning technical skills. In the end, he will honestly probably be a better player than he would have if corona hadn’t come into our lives. He won’t have as much fun getting there, though, that’s for sure! But… we’ll take whatever silver lining we can find at this point! :smile:

Congrats to your daughter finding her perfect fit after the difficult choices! I have actually spoken to several people who were singing high praises of CU Boulder Music School over the past couple of years!

We’ll certainly talk about grad schools here! The more, the merrier! The struggles are shared and real, whether it’s undergrad or grad level auditions and narrowing-down! :lol:

Hi folks,

I just got this email from Cleveland Inst. of Music. A few of the violin faculty (Ilya Kaler, Olga Kaler, and Stephen Rose, all fantastic violinists), are teaching an online audition prep class. They offer both participant and observer options. Sounds interesting, and could be useful to someone prepping for conservatory entry in the upcoming year.

Note, I’m not in any way affiliated to CIM or any of the others.

Read on if you're interested.

Violin Audition Intensive
Monday, June 15 - Friday, June 19

Learn virtually from renowned violinists Ilya Kaler, Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler and Stephen Rose!

Whether you’re preparing for conservatory auditions, focusing on winning your next professional job or honing your performance skills, you can learn from the Cleveland Institute of Music’s acclaimed conservatory faculty this summer.

CIM faculty Ilya Kaler, the only violinist to win the gold medal at the Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Paganini competitions; Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler, acclaimed soloist and pedagogue; and Stephen Rose, principal second violin of The Cleveland Orchestra, lead this five-day intensive, focusing on technique and audition preparation. Through master classes and private lessons, participants will explore the orchestral and solo violin repertoire and learn about fundamentals and practice methods. With discussions focused on college and orchestra auditions, the week culminates with a mock audition.

Apply to be a participant in the intensive by June 1.
Participants will perform in a master class, receive feedback on their playing, engage in discussions, take a lesson and perform in the mock audition.
Application fee: $35 | Participant cost: $295
Register to observe the intensive by June 11.
Observers will view all classes, discussions and the mock audition.
Observer cost: $95

Interesting! At gram22’s link, I see there are other intensives as well.

Trumpet, cello, bassoon, piano, viola (yay!), oboe, classical guitar, violin.
There is also something called “Core Elements of Singing” but at a glance it does not appear to be an audition-specific activity.

The violin one is pretty late in June compared to some of the others. I looked at the viola one and you have to audition by May 20th. Looks like there is repertoire specified.

There is also a link to a YouTube video by CIM on how to record an audition. I will be watching that later when I have time.

Good eye @stringbird ! I hadn’t noticed those others on the side bar !
Also, I found it amusing that you have to audition for an audition intensive :). Maybe they will only pick those that had bad recordings ?!? LOL.

We are rapidly coming to the end of the junior year. My daughter is still busily finishing schoolwork, but I’ve been looking ahead, thinking how to make the best of this strange summer. I sort of have to laugh: everything about finding the way on the music path has been different from a “normal” college search, so why not throw in a global pandemic?

So far, we’ve made a huge school list. Each weekend we’ve been doing two or three virtual tours and discussing what she likes and doesn’t like about what she sees. These don’t take long and have immediately ruled some schools out, but they haven’t provided us much useful differentiation between the remaining schools on our list. They’ve also made her realize that she’d like to at least look at standalone conservatories. (Previously she’d thought she’d want a program within a university or LAC.) The result is that our list has actually gotten longer! That feels right at this stage.

Some schools have had virtual Q&As available with students. She did a few of these; they were more time consuming than the virtual tours but more helpful, too. I’m guessing these might be over for the current school year but she will definitely be doing more of them when time and scheduling permit.

She’s scheduled three Zoom sample lessons so far. These will be the most helpful, but with her end of year school deadlines she’s had to temporarily halt that line of investigation. Anyway, so far it seems professors will be more available this summer than usual, which is good news.

So that’s the state of things on the search front.

Then there’s the application process to think about. Music resume, huh? We’ll have to figure that out.

She was luckily able to take both the SAT and the ACT before things shut down, and her scores are decent but they do rule some choices out. I’m not sure whether it’s worth a retake, as audition prep should be her highest priority.

I searched out what recommendations would be required for each of the schools on our list. Looks like some require musical recommendations, some require academic recommendations, and some, both. We identified who she wanted to ask for the academic recommendations, and she will email requests to those teachers by the end of this week so they have time to think about it before summer starts.

Lastly, a funny story. I brought up the subject of application essays with her yesterday and she gave me a shocked look. This was apparently the first she’d heard about having to write essays. Yikes. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. When would the counselor have had time to bring this up?

My son lost a lot (performances, competitions, music camp) but gained a lot too (time to SLEEP enough, opportunity to live with beloved big brother, more time to practice).

He’s been able to continue taking trumpet lessons online with his teacher, and it’s working out well, because he’d been working with the teacher in-person for 3/4 of the school year, so the teacher was familiar with his strengths and weaknesses already.
He’s been trying to come up with a list of schools to apply to. He wants to major in trumpet performance, but does NOT want to go to a free-standing conservatory, because he wants the opportunity to take academic classes on the same campus with non-music majors. He’s highly qualified in both trumpet and academics, and it’s looking tough to find a program with great classical trumpet (although he also plays jazz) at a highly-ranked university. So far, the list includes McGill, Indiana, U Md, BU, U Mich, UConn (he’s in state). I’m trying to convince him to apply to Yale, but he says that the music school cannot pull him into the college. I’m also trying to convince him to apply to Rice, but he is not sure that he wants the intensive high-pressure orchestral audition prep focused environment that Rice provides. I’ve asked him to also look into Vanderbilt, Temple, U Illinois at Urbana Champaigne, and UT Austin. Happy to hear of anyone’s experiences at any of these places. I’m loathe to schedule tryout lessons that are not in person, but I’m not hopeful that anything is going to be taking place in person this year.

@parentologist, has your son considered a liberal arts college with a conservatory? Like Oberlin, Bard, Lawrence, Ithaca? These are obviously smaller, so maybe he prefers big. The focus on undergrads can be a benefit, and the integration with non-music students can be another one. Bard actually requires a double degree of conservatory students, and the others are supportive.

Has he or have you read the Double Degree Dilemma essay closer to the top of this forum? It is really about the different ways to study music, and not just about double degrees. Some people find the essay helpful.

That said would he be interested in a double degree? Other schools might include Harvard/NEC (BA/MM) or Tufts (BA/BM).

ps Yale undergrads often study with grad students for their instrument, though there are exceptions; and studying with a grad student may work out well…

I just wanted to add that the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music really is stellar. They have a huge endowment and large scholarships are common. The are opening a brand new state of the art facility this fall. My daughter chose CU begrudgingly because she could not turn down the full scholarship they offered for a soprano! She will tell you now that she was given opportunities and connections that never would have happened somewhere else. So if any parents or students want any information on CU let me know and I will try and answer your questions. Also thanks to Mezzo’s Mama on the board who had sung the praises of CU when my daughter was so defeated and she was right she was exactly where she should have been.

I’m really hoping to find as much info as possible here! My rising HS senior son wants to pursue trombone performance. We have started doing some virtual info sessions with Music Schools within universities and they have been very helpful!

So far on his list (which I expect to change as we do more research) he has Rice, IU, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, UT Austin, UNT, Carnegie Mellon and maybe ASU and UC Boulder. His lesson teachers have started him with this list, but I assume there are more schools out there that might have strong trombone performance programs, so we’d love any input you all can share! He wants to focus on orchestral performance but would also like to continue to have additional playing opportunities in jazz, pit, chamber, marching band, etc. (which we found would not be possible at Rice)

A little background on his playing - he has attended Interlochen Summer Program, he was in this year’s Honor Band of America, he has been accepted in to the Honor Marching Band at the Rose Bowl (we’ll see if that happens), he was the top Tenor Trombone in our All State as a sophomore and he was also accepted to a few more programs that were cancelled due to COVID. As far as his academics go, he has around a 4.2 weighted GPA and has taken a lot of science and math AP classes BUT he was hoping to raise his ACT/SAT scores before all the tests were cancelled.

Please feel free to share any suggestions for other schools to look into!

@lisalisae - There are many good music performance schools. As @goldilockspryor points out, you can get an excellent education (for a reasonable tuition) at many programs (and of course UCBoulder is an excellent program). So its always good to have one or two financial “safeties” on your list. Also @parentologist lists some good schools above. I don’t have knowledge on trombone performance so hopefully someone with that knowledge will chime in. But I wonder about how your S feels about the following:

School Environment - what kind of school enviroment would he like. Large, small, urban, rural or is he neutral? It appears that he is looking at “universities” with conservatories/music schools more than LACs. Do sport teams matter (obviously marching band would be a plus)…or not at all? Does a city matter or is a small environment better. Or absolutely no preference?

Academics - how much do they matter? @parentologist mentions academics as important. Academics were important to my D in order to be well-rounded. However top notch, competitive academics were not important. My D got the impression that a selective music program in itself would be competitive so for academics she simply wanted exposure and learning but not hours of study…she would leave that to music study and performing. @parentologist - maybe this is what your S is thinking about?

Regional area - any regions in the US that are a “no”…cold weather…hot weather…lots of snow or no snow. This could also include outdoor activities that your kid would like to continue to pursue.

Other issues???

At this point, parents are often trying to be sure that they aren’t missing any good schools so the list is long…and you don’t want to dismiss any schools for “silly” reasons like it’s a tad snowy. However within 3 to 6 months as pre-screens and auditions become more real (and time and money hit constraints…welll lets hope this is the case even with Covid) it’s good to know what school may be at the bottom of the list…not because it’s the “least good music school” but because it’s a cold, snow, small environment that in the end your kid doesn’t really like.

If you haven’t seen this thread yet, it’s a good one too.

THanks for all the advice. We did discuss Oberlin, Bard, and Ithaca, but none are right for him. (All are Too small, doesn’t want Bard’s mandatory 5 yr program, no great trumpet teacher at Oberlin, plus overly political atmosphere.) I think he really does need a big school that is at least a state flagship U, and an excellent trumpet professor, hopefully a good full music school. I’ve been through the double degree dilemma thread, also the ‘what’s it like now that your kid is there’ thread. The problem is, there is just NO school that looks perfect for him, except maybe McGill. Either they have acceptance rates of over 50% for the academic branch (he’s probably top 5% in his class at an excellent suburban public high, better matched for schools with 15-25% acceptance rates), or they’re laser-focused on winning a symphony audition (Rice), or they don’t have a good trumpet professor, not one who’s committed to being at that school, just visits once a week, if that. The fact is that some of the schools that have conservatories don’t necessarily have good trumpet. I was urging him to look at UT Austin, but they only have a visiting trumpet prof.

Have you looked at UNT? Any of the SUNY’s? Hartt at U. of Hartford? Miami Frost? USC? UCLA? Northwestern/Bienen? Temple/ Boyer? Rutgers/Mason Gross? ARe Peabody and Eastman off the table?

Don’t mean to add to an already good list and I don’t know much about trumpet. In fact, I thought a lot of professors especially instrumental teachers worked part-time (and travel to perform, or work in other positions). Can he work once a week with a teacher and then get whatever else he needs, online?

Does he want marching band as well as classical?

You mentioned: McGill, Indiana, U Md, BU, U Mich, UConn, Vanderbilt, Temple, U Illinois at Urbana Champaigne, and UT Austin and others added UC Boulder.

There are some good schools on there! Hope he finds what he is looking for. Is he definitely applying to McGill?

@parentologist , Check out Florida State. My son had high academics in HS and is a music performance (VP) major there, and the music school as a whole is excellent. He is also in the honors program for the general university. OOS music students often receive in state tuition, and your son may qualify for instate tuition academically as well. I do not know the trumpet professor but looking at his bio he’s been there since 2003 and is a Grammy winner.

@parentologist - I hear ya. There was no perfect school for my D either…that we could afford! There was definitely some give and take. My D wanted a city and ended up in a small town (IU). But it was a large school with a lot of cultural events (opera, ballet, jazz, touring shows etc). Being my kid, she complained about it, on and off, for 4 years (lol). For grad school, she was in a city (and found other things to complain about). Now, she thinks her UG school was the most amazing place and misses it.

I would lean heavy on the “teacher”…but make sure it’s somewhere he can have some fun too…even if it’s a little different than his “dream”. He won’t be alone in that. Most people have to manage expectations.

Wish I could help more on the “trumpet” professor thing…