Class of 2027 Undergrad/Class of 2025 Grad: The Tours, the Auditions, the Journey

It’s the end of July and I’m wondering if I’m the only mom peeking around my hands to suss out my daughter’s plans!

I thought I’d be that parent to start the infamous journey thread. (See previous journey threads for examples.)

My D is a rising senior at Luther College, finishing up a music major with voice and cello as primary interests (yes, both!). She’s had a wonderful environment to make music in, weathered tragedy and the pandemic there and still loves her music profs and conductor. She’ll have the opportunity to do a J-term residency in Vienna this year (they do one once every four years)!

She also is finishing a summer fellowship at the Miami Beach Classical Music Festival where she is playing cello for Carmen and (Britten’s) Midsummer Night’s Dream this weekend (you can find them on FB). Having been mostly in Iowa, she’s had a great taste of the musical world outside of it, and enjoyed making many new friends. She’ll return home Monday.

She’ll be getting ready to apply to grad programs this fall (cello, maybe, or both?). Anyone else have children staring down the application season for undergrad or grad in music? Tell us where your students are in the process!

Good luck to everyone!


Yep, we are staring down the grad school application abyss as well. Thanks for starting the infamous thread @Pikachu_s_Mom!

DS is a rising senior percussion performance major at Boyer/Temple University. They did remarkably well with the pandemic - except for lockdown 2020, they’ve had in person lessons and ensembles throughout.

He’s loved it in Philly and is currently in Berlin playing with the Berlin Opera Academy and is truly living his best life. Over the next month and a half, they’ll be performing The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi, as well as Hansel & Gretel. ( I would highly recommend this as an option for summer programs. Very reasonable and he’s getting a great experience playing opera with students from all over the world.

Grad program selection is definitely going to be an interesting process. It will be time for him to decide which path: orchestra, opera, musical theater, PhD…So.Many.Choices.

Looking forward to reading about the journeys!


@Lendlees, sounds like a wonderful festival. MMF also did about five operas.
You mention the paths your son could take–will that mean very different grad programs/percussion studios, then? I know little about how that might work in percussion.

Thank you, @Pikachu_s_Mom! I am glad you started the thread!

I followed the last year’s thread here and it was a great resource and an awesome community. Excited about this thread A LOT.

D23 is a rising HS senior, considering major/minor/certificate in Flute performance and a Sociology Major, wants to do interdisciplinary research in college and hopefully get a Master’s or PhD later. She is spending her summer in Tanglewood. Our S15 was an engineering major, so we will be learning a lot of new things this year!

@RussianMom, Tanglewood is an awesome opportunity. I am so curious to hear how your daughter liked it!

These threads were so informative when my D was applying to schools. My D learned a lot but was ultimately a good judge of which program would be right for her.

It can be hard to apply to many schools and she applied to six but only ended up auditioning at 4 when she discovered she had gotten in places she preferred. This helped because the audition trips are a lot in the middle of the school year!

Good luck to your D!

My D is a rising senior at SUNY Purchase (Opera). She has mapped out which schools she wants to apply to and as soon as she gets back she will start working on her audition recordings. She has noted that alot of opera majors took a gap year during pandemic so seems to be more people now applying to grad schools due to that situation. She has been lucky as her schools does many productions and she has had many opportunities to sing in roles (lead and supporting) to work on her acting skills. She is hoping this gives her a leg up against other undergraduates without the acting experience.

My first time posting! I’m a rising HS senior wanting to major in music ed. I know it’s usually parents posting on here, but I just want to ask/know information about the audition process.


Start by researching the schools your kid is interested in. Each one will clearly list the audition requirements. For our voice major she compiled that list, hired an accompanist and filmed on her IPhone with an external microphone. For undergrad she applied to 9 schools with the filmed pieces then got invited to 5 schools to do a live audition (usually Jan, Feb, March). She got offers from 3.

1 Like

He will need to chooses studios based on what path → who he wants to study with. Location can also factor in if he wants to make contacts (ex. NYC for musical theater). There are also areas of specialization by instrument (timpani vs. mallets). It’s been a huge education for spouse and I once DS started this journey.


The SUNY schools seem to be really great for music–I have heard of several excellent programs. @thisismynameOH, your daughter seems to know what she wants! The Miami Music Festival was great for singers. They had five operas (though I believe these were under different ‘institutes’ and my D (although there for cello in the orchestra) met some wonderful other singers and conductors. She became close to someone in the orchestra from the SUNY Stonybrook campus.

Your daughter sounds impressive and I am sure you are right that the acting experience will help her. I could definitely tell the singers who had some experience from the ones who did not have that big stage exposure. It is a great skill to have developed! Good luck to her!

1 Like

Hi, @futuremusicedmajor! What state are you in, presently?

There are some wonderful music ed programs around the country, but sometimes it helps to be not too far from where you live, especially if you are looking to get licensed in your state. Nearby state licenses should transfer more easily (although it may not be too hard to transfer, some of the teaching methods are pretty particular per state or region of the country, I believe. You can google some discussions about music ed programs here at College Confidential).

I think location can be a big factor for some instruments. It probably is good for him to be in a school or city that has a number of other excellent programs (such as in musical theater, dance, etc.) so that he can find some additional work in percussion, if he wanted to. An isolated campus or one with only a small music program might not be that helpful?

I have a rising high school senior applying for violin performance with possibly a double major. I have been following these threads for several seasons and have learned a lot. Thank you for starting up this year, as it is finally time to apply! Looking forward to going through this with everyone!


@Pikachu_s_Mom My D loves Tanglewood - did 2 weeks of Flute workshop and now doing 6 weeks of YAO, only 2 weeks left. I think woodwind orchestra kids are leaving today. We will be travelling to see her finale concert and couple of BSO concerts that weekend - I look forward to meeting her friends there, sounds like that is the best part of the program!

Majority of schools on her list are only accepting supplemental arts materials, and 5 or 6 music schools/conservatories have traditional auditions, if she passes pre-screens.

Looking forward to learning about the process with my D!


Sample lesson is happening earlier than planned! One of the conservatory flute studio professors is visiting Tanglewood, just gave a master class, and offered a lesson to my D23.

This would be her first sample lesson with the instructor from the school she will be applying to. She performed for a few flutists in the past three years or so, teaching ones and performing musicians, but in a master-class format and in sectionals and chamber workshops.

Please share your experiences and some “sample lesson etiquette” information. She is using common sense for now - will be working on two pieces included in majority of auditions and prescreens. What are some of the questions instructors may ask or usually ask during sample lessons? Want her to be prepared not only to play well.

Many thanks!


If your daughter has already participated in master classes, she should have a good sense of etiquette as in our experience, sample lessons are a rather like a master class but without the audience. But for others on this thread, here are some thoughts:

Present yourself professionally: recommend comfortable but business casual attire, arrive early, have all music/materials well organized so you can focus on the lesson and teacher.

Good to have repertoire well prepared and ready for input. Even better if it is something your student will be submitting for pre screening or performing in a live audition.

Remember that this is a lesson and not an audition. My son took it as an opportunity for teacher and student to assess fit and to get to know each other. So the lesson may not just be working on the repertoire. There may be conversations about teaching/learning philosophy, goals etc. Teachers are generally looking for talented students with whom they can communicate and connect with. So try and be yourself in a young professional manner.

And have fun!

1 Like

That’s great! I don’t know how different a flute lesson would be from a voice lesson, but I would say to relax- it’s as much a lesson for the professor to hear your daughter as it is for your daughter to get a feel for how this teacher teaches and how well it works for her.

I would not bring in any music she’s not prepared to play, and to perhaps be prepared to answer why she’s interested in this particular school and/or program. And she can have some questions ready as well-- for instance, what are performing opportunities like for undergraduates? How many lessons per week should I expect?

Best of luck- it’s a fun time!

1 Like

I’m in FL. I actually have my list complete. Do you think 12 is a good number? I have visited or done virtual information sessions with most of them. Also I don’t know if you’ve gone through this process before but what is your opinion on video auditions? I am most comfortable doing this option for oos schools

1 Like

Hi, @mrstiggywinkle! Good luck with the applications and any pre-screens that your senior may have. There are lots of great schools for double majors (as I am sure you have seen in previous threads). It must be little nerve-wracking, waiting for the applications to start (and trying not to nag too much–I am still guilty of this)!

Good luck, @RussianMom! It will be fun to see how she is doing there. I agree: the friends she makes are probably what she’ll remember best, while at the same time getting an education and exposure! I found the scheduling of auditions the trickiest as sometimes the audition dates overlap, there is awful winter weather, or there is so much time between the first and the last audition that enthusiasm for the whole process flagged in the end (or maybe my D just became much clearer in her choices at that point. I was glad she scheduled her least favorite insittutions for the end–she ended up canceling two!).