Help me add a couple more schools to the list? Clarinet major

Excuse my posting spree, but you guys were so helpful with my SAT question :slight_smile: …11th grade DS wants to get a BM in clarinet performance (probably. education hasn’t been ruled out). We’re trying to put together a list of schools, and I feel like there must be a few more out there that we should be looking at. We’re in Georgia, and right now he’s looking at Schwob at Columbus State and Kennesaw State for in-state options, but he’d rather go out of state if possible. On that list he has Oberlin, Bard, Lawrence, possibly North Texas, possibly Vanderbilt (Vanderbilt isn’t showing a clarinet prof right now on their website; I assume they’ll be hiring a new one before he would be applying, though?)

*he’s homeschooled and a strong student so far (1400 SAT, several good AP scores)

*he definitely wants a BM and isn’t particularly interested in a dual degree; he’s still looking at Bard because he likes other things about it, but he sees that part as a negative (I don’t, but I don’t have super strong feelings about it).

*He likes the idea of a small school (he visited Oberlin when his older brother was considering it, and that’s the current dream school for him), but is willing to consider big schools, too.

*good need based financial aid is probably a must–we have a low EFC. This is the main place I’m having trouble figuring out where to look: we’ve done the college application thing before with my oldest, but he wasn’t looking at music, so we focused on needs-met schools and had lots to pick from. There are fewer needs-met schools with good music programs, as far as I can tell, and some of them are likely out his league at this point (Rice, et al)

*the other place I’m running into trouble is figuring out where he has a realistic shot (and where he doesn’t). We’ve spoken to his private teacher about this (who’s also a college professor) and he helped a lot in pointing us in the right direction, but he’s not familiar with every program. DS has only been playing since the beginning of high school, so almost 2 1/2 years now. I think he’s done very well given that, but there’s only so much ground he can make up. In addition to private lessons, he plays with a youth orchestra and a youth wind symphony (well. the orchestra isn’t meeting right now, but the wind symphony has started up outdoor rehearsals). For reference, his teacher said the in-state schools were likely safeties for him, Oberlin a reach but definitely worth trying for, and Rice “beyond a reach.”

So, yeah–that mostly sums it up, I think: schools with good need based financial aid and good clarinet programs where he might have a realistic shot.

1 Like

UNT is really big. If S is attracted to smaller schools, this probably won’t be something he will like. I’m glad you know about Lawrence. You might also look at St. Olaf. I’m also going to DM you with another option. (My D is majoring in clarinet performance.)

1 Like

Just want to ask if he has considered a liberal arts school for a BA in music or something else, with continued lessons and extracurricular performance. That path does work for some.

Along with Oberlin Conservatory, maybe he could look at their new enhanced Musical Studies BA, which has increased opportunities and connections with the Conservatory for BA students.

College of Wooster is a possibility
It is one of the “Colleges that Change Lives” colleges (see website for CTCL). Clark U. in Worcester MA is also on that list and has an excellent music dept. Tufts has a wonderful music dept. but financial aid may not be enough.

He could find financial advantages at some Ivies and little Ivies (Amherst, Williams for instance) but I know those are reaches for everyone.

The “Double Degree Dilemma” essay posted closer to the top of this music forum can sometimes be helpful in clarifying school choices.(But it does not include the option of doing a BA with continuing music lessons and performance outside the classroom, which is a legitimate way to go.)

1 Like

Yeah, UNT is huge, and he doesn’t love that about it, but it’s not an automatic deal breaker for him. We’ve actually visited St. Olaf because my oldest applied there–so I’ve also seen a financial aid package from them and know it would be doable–he did like what he saw; we need to look more closely at their clarinet studio in particular. And my oldest is at Macalester, so it’d be nice to have two kids in the same area for the year they overlap.

1 Like

He’s adamant about wanting a BM. He’s in a place right now where he can’t really imagine doing anything else. I have secret hopes that if he gets into Oberlin but not the con he’ll opt to go there anyway and just take advantage of the opportunities for non conservatory students, but I suspect he’d choose getting a BM at one of his in-state options over that.


Take a look at Wooster- I remember a student on CC here who got into a top conservatory but went to College of Wooster (Ohio) and was very happy. I happen to know that that student is now at a top grad program. They have a BM and BA.

1 Like

UNT is a big school but there are opportunities that go along with that… many ensembles and 4 or 5 clarinet professors. They also offer pretty generous merit that can get you down to in-state tuition levels. The music school has more out-of-state students than UNT overall, which means more students are likely to stay on campus on the weekends. My kid had a great experience there. Of the other schools on your list, I think Lawrence is a hidden gem - good campus for smart kids. My kid really liked the clarinet professor there too. No marching band, if that matters to your kid. Pretty generous merit aid, no idea about need-based aid there.


Might be late in the game but check out Mary Pappert School of Music @ Duquesne University. Almost all faculty (certainly the two clarinet professors) are members of the Pittsburgh Symphony. I may be partial, but it’s a WONDERFUL institution with caring professors… well, caring everybody. It’s a true gem, even with COVID. AND, ALL Music Majors coming in get a 50% of Tuition Lead with Music Scholarship !! Did I mention it’s a GREAT school? Check it out. I hope you see this. I know they’re still auditioning now (last year my son’s audition was February 14th and I think they had a few more scheduled through March, if I remember correctly. Let me know if you have any questions. Oh and it’s not too big… not too small.


Hartt School of Music at U Hartford. He can do clarinet and music ed, and they are known to give significant “merit” aid to students with good stats, like your kid. Really nice, warm school. Might be the perfect place for him.


Actually NOT late in the game. I just re-read your post and see that your kid is in 11th grade. So yes… check out MPSOM @ Duquesne in Pittsburgh, PA. A GEM of a university… all the way around and top notch music program.


I’m a student at Vanderbilt’s Blair (not clarinet) and I could help answer questions if your son is still interested.

Blair hired a new adjunct clarinet professor, and while I don’t know what the long-term plans are, he has taught all the clarinet majors for the last three semesters.

1 Like

Thanks! Since I posted this, he did an info session for Blair and had a sample lesson with the current clarinet prof. He liked him a lot, but I do have some concerns about whether he’s going to be there long term or not. But Blair’s still definitely on his list, and I will hit you up for info if he has questions going forward :slight_smile:


I was checking Blair’s Facebook today, and on June 11 they announced a new Assistant Professor of Clarinet. I’m not certain, but it looks like she’s replacing the adjunct who we had been discussing.