HS Class 2023 Music Major College Search

My S23 has decided to major in music. Undecided whether music ed or vocal performance.

Anyone other hs class of 23 kids heading towards music?

Hi @2plustrio - My son is looking to major in Music Performance for Bassoon. We’ve started visiting schools. This is completely overwhelming!


I suggest that he look at the curriculum requirements at the schools he is considering, which can help him get a feel for how many electives and other choices he will have. At many schools, a BM in music is a very full and prescribed curriculum with not much choice of classes.

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Yes. Things to consider.

Example, I feel Loyola New Orleans’ Music Industry Studies could be something he should look into.

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Any front runners or schools that have gone off the list?

My son wants to major in music, probably either composition or jazz. We’re just starting our college visits next month!



Do share your impressions after tours!

While it can be overwhelming, I found that reading past posts on this forum really helped. Also, I have found this book helpful - College Prep for Musicians. An AO at CMU recommended it to me.


We just returned from our east coast college tour focused on music programs. My son is a junior interested in Jazz Composition/Studies. We are from LA but he wants NE or CA which rules out a number of the go to schools for music. I wanted him to see different kinds of schools so we saw a few small liberal arts schools as well.

We toured Berklee, New England Conservatory, SUNY Purchase conservatory, NYU (general tour - he is interested in Steinhardt), BARD and their conservatory and Sarah Lawrence. Walked through UMass Amherst and dipped into Manhattan School of Music but did not have a tour. We also visited University of Michigan - seeing my older son who is currently a freshman there. My younger son does not want to go to UMich but he has a friend studying composition at the school and he met with him and had a first hand tour of the facilities.

Berklee is his first choice and we attended the open house first day of our trip. I believe they may have recorded it for those that could not attend. It was informative and offered a detailed sample audition. We saw some of the facilities on our tour and they were impressive. Very hard act to follow!

NEC is a conservatory in Boston. The facilities are pretty, um, “historical” (ie dated) but I understand it is a fabulous program that turns out great musicians. I think if you have a student who is all about practicing and performing it might be a great fit.

UMass Amherst has a dated but active music building we were able to walk through. The campus is huge and it felt isolated … not a good fit for my city raised kid but the kids there seemed very animated and happy.

NYU tour was only exteriors but it’s New York City and such a great vibe down there. There were many tours happening at once and only one person can join the student. My son loved it despite not seeing much. Would like to return if we can at some point enter Steinhardt, see facilities and hear program specifics. But it’s New York and the energy is undeniably fabulous.

SUNY Purchase was the best tour of all of them. They offer a tour focused on Music Conservatory. It was led by a current student who was a junior in the Studio Composition program and he was wonderful. He had great first hand knowledge and took his time to show us everything - facilities, studios (they have many), practice rooms, dorms, dining, student run center with 2 performance spaces. Following the tour we had a Q & A with admissions and it was very thorough. The school is located on a 500 acre campus in Westchester County north of NYC. The feeling on campus is a bit rural but in fact you are a quick bus ride to White Plains and a 30 minute train ride to NYC. Small school - about 4K total with 400 in conservatory and that is split between music/drama/dance. They have a long held reputation for strong performing arts. I really liked this school.

BARD is about 2 hours upstate from NYC. It is a beautiful but rural campus with a music conservatory program (dual degree), a performing arts center designed by Gehry and a huge art museum. Too isolated for my kid but I imagine a good match for a student who wants to be away from all distractions. There is transport to a small town where you can get train to NYC. I think a 2 hour trip one way.

Sarah Lawrence was a lovely campus located in Bronxville, NY. Very close to NYC by train. They have a music building but our tour was only exterior so we left not knowing what facilities were like. Students do not pick a major there and my son is wanting something much more music focused so not for him.

University of Michigan is a huge school. My older son attends but is not studying music. They have a well regarded music program. I think even if a student is preferring a small school - as my son is - a big school can offer a “small” experience when there is a separate music school where they mostly attend classes (as in the case of a BM). The resources of a bigger school can provide outstanding facilities that are harder for a small school.

That’s my wrap up. I look forward to hearing about others touring experiences and impressions!


It is time to start getting serious about the college search for our 2023 hs grads.

Audition dates are coming out for music majors.

My son has to cut the list down from 23 schools first!

How are your seniors doing with college lists?

S23 is still not 100% decided on major. He will not even look at colleges more seriously until after his musical this weekend.

There is no perfect school for him. The reality is I see him happiest at a midsize to large school with lots of school spirit, possibly a football team, with decent music opportunities, club/intramural sports, or esports. And one that he may get my jobs tuition remission benefit from. The list below is much too long and I know there aren’t any “big name” music schools on it. Nor many that fit what he may totally envision in a college.

GPA 3.3. ACT 35. Male vocal bass- 3 choirs. Band flute (knows basic piano and guitar). He will have done 9 musicals by graduation.

University of Redlands
University of Puget Sound
Northern Arizona U
Loyola New Orleans
University of North Florida
University of Louisiana-Lafayette
Jacksonville University
Salve Regina
Hobart and William Smith
Baldwin Wallace
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Gustavus Adolphus
College of Wooster
University of St. Thomas
University of Dayton
(Indiana U? CU Boulder?)

Redlands is definitely known for its music school among other things. I graduated in 94, not a music major, but would be happy to answer questions.

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Have you looked at Lawrence?

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We actually toured Lawrence. Its a great school. My son says 2-3 hr drive is too close. Due to other factors I respect his reasons for wanting to get away a bit more.



I think U of Redlands checks a lot of boxes for my son. He will be chasing tuition remission benefits and its a low possibility there so not sure it would be affordable.

How is the city and surrounding areas?

As a Baldwin Wallace alumna (non-music major) I’m partial to it. But I would caution that it’s not a big school. Great music program, great sport spirit and pretty close to Cleveland for performance attendance opportunities though.


My son considered NAU. When we visited we attended a performance of Pirates of Penzance. It was set in the 1970’s and was absolutely wonderful. :slight_smile: NAU is a great school in an absolutely beautiful setting.

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Hello everyone!

D23 is also working on editing her college list now, based on her research of schools, faculty and current size of studios for her instrument - flute.

She is looking at larger universities with music schools or departments, with an opportunity to study sociology and continue flute performance study in some way - from double major to flute performance concentration. On her wish list are: quality band and orchestra programs available to undergrads, as well as a large city location or close proximity to a big cultural center.

Right now she is trying to figure out how/when she should schedule sample lessons.

There are a lot of prescreening audition videos to be recorded, some schools waive the first round of those if you attended certain programs or were a winner/finalist of Young Arts competition.


We are in LA and Redlands was originally on our list. However our high school college counselor said she had a number of students in the past few years who chose Redlands and were not happy there - lots of drinking and they felt general vibe from students was academic light. I don’t know that this was an experience from Music department but it has put us off.


Is anyone prepping for auditions yet? It seems most are still allowing a video to be sent in. Do you think this will change?