Safeties ...

<p>Trying to find some safeties for classical percussion for a kid with average academic stats (3.0uw gpa/3.5w, 27ACT). We will need financial aid.</p>

<p>Someone is sure to jump in and remind you that no auditioned program can ever be a true safety. </p>

<p>That said, what are you considering as reaches and matches? (One kid's safety can be another kid's reach.) Geographic preference?</p>

<p>What are your first choice schools? Where are you located? Performance or Music Ed?<br>
My son is also classical percussionist so I may be able to help but more info is needed.</p>

<p>I would be glad to include some non-audition options but I haven't seen anything that has what he needs.</p>

<p>Son's dream is a conservatory so the reaches are top conservatories and the top percussion colleges all listed here. We have no matches and interest is in performance, not music ed. I had no idea that classical percussion was so competitive; I called a few places and the admit rates are below 10% and I don't think he'll make that cut. (The teacher said it's not out of the question-- but the numbers are against him.) Son isn't picky about location or even size but his dream is playing for a symphony so he wants someone strongly classical. He is happiest playing 5 hours a day-- especially on his marimba. I won't limit size at all. While I know he would do better with the close contact of a small size school, I'm concerned about opportunities at small schools I've seen and think that being in a music school at a university is a good option.</p>

<p>What state are you in? Have you looked at your state flagship U?</p>

<p>Our state flagship is not a safety-- musically or academically. Location honestly doesn't matter. He's used to the east coast and midwest.</p>

<p>I mentioned your flagship since you said that you needed financial aid and an in state would at least be a financial safety.</p>

<p>Ithaca, Temple, NYU, Purchase.</p>

<p>bigjdp, Are you sure those are safeties? Ithaca was one of the schools I called and their admissions rate for percussion was right around 10%.</p>

<p>And musicamusica, I understand and thanks... but, unfortunately, it's not much of a safety.</p>

<p>We may have different ideas of top percussion programs. As far as my own situation here, Ithaca is definately a safety and may actually come off the list. Professor Stout accepts around 12 students per year. He sees about 60 auditions per year.</p>

<p>I don't know what their admission rate is but I've heard good things about the University of Kentucky's percussion program. Percussion</a> Studies at the University of Kentucky</p>

<p>Hmmm... I was told 70-75 apply and about 10 admits but, even if your numbers are correct, 20% isn't a safety to me.</p>

<p>SUNY Potsdam, or Fredonia may be more what you're looking for.</p>

<p>Thank you. I will look into them. I'm just really trying to find some match/safe places, especially since our flagship really isn't a safety.</p>

<p>Peabody would be a good option. They are a good conservatory with a high admit rate.</p>

<p>I think the term safety is a relative term, it all depends on your son's level of playing and also what the school is admitting that year. 10% may not sound like a high number, but in some cases that would be considered a safety (compared, let's say to Juilliard, that admits roughly 6% of those who audition/apply, whatever). Plus there are other considerations, with NYU your son's academics alone might not make it a safety, and while Steinhardt is not necessarily in the same league with top conservatories, it is still very competitive.</p>

<p>In terms of getting admitted, it isn't as simple as saying "Okay, NEC is out of the question, but school Z is much easier admit", it doesn't work like that. As has been said in other threads on here, someone could get into lets NEC and get rejected from podunk U, it has happened. </p>

<p>Okay, now that I have frustrated the heck out of you, what do I think? I think the answer is to get a fair assessment of your son's abilities, that is key. If you think your S's teacher is good enough, use him/her; if you think you want a different set of eyes, see if you can find someone who teaches at a high level program to assess your son, give an evaluation and see what he/she thinks. With safeties being relative, that is going to be key. The person doing the evaluation may even be able to suggest schools. </p>

<p>Okay, then how would I handle the idea of where to apply.</p>

<p>-The reach schools, the top schools, which might include the top conservatories or music schools. Again, with music schools inside colleges, be careful of the academics; conservatories generally don't care much, but music schools within colleges do. I would check with them to see if they are admitting percussion for next year and ask how many slots they have. If a school says they have 1 opening and it is for either grad or undergrad, might not be worth applying there. These are the dream schools, and you never know what they are like.</p>

<p>-The up there but not totally at the top tier schools (instead of safeties). These are schools with respected programs that might not have the name rec say a Juilliard or NEC or whatever has. Again, key is checking on how many they tend to admit, even a 'slightly lower' level school may not be admitting many percussionists that year. </p>

<p>-Schools that are relatiively no name, but have good teachers and may not attract the really high level kids, who often think they need to go to a 'name school'. </p>

<p>The key thing with all this is you simply don't know. Even high level programs have different characteristics, Indiana is a great music school, but they also tend to admit a lot of students, their music program is big, so it may make it easier to get in only in that instead of 5 percussionists, they are admitting 15 (hypothetical numbers). And with merit money and financial aid it is hard to tell who will do better, girl I know got into NEC with a large amount of aid and merit money, and got admitted to a second tier school that gave her very little. Conventional Wisdom says that the big fish applying to the small pond will get more seeds and nuts, but that doesn't always happen. </p>

<p>Point being, you only can audition and hope for the best. Only real 'safeties' I would guess would be non auditioned schools or maybe where a school has a dearth of percussionists and few applying (good luck finding that), but for the most part you audition and then see where the cards fall and make decisions when you get the responses.</p>

<p>I think the term safety is a relative term, it all depends on your son's level of playing and also what the school is admitting that year. 10% may not sound like a high number, but in some cases that would be considered a safety (compared, let's say to Juilliard, that admits roughly 6% of those who audition/apply, whatever). Plus there are other considerations, with NYU your son's academics alone might not make it a safety, and while Steinhardt is not necessarily in the same league with top conservatories, it is still very competitive.</p>

<p>In terms of getting admitted, it isn't as simple as saying "Okay, NEC is out of the question, but school Z is much easier admit", it doesn't work like that. As has been said in other threads on here, someone could get into lets NEC and get rejected from podunk U, it has happened. </p>

<p>Okay, now that I have frustrated the heck out of you, what do I think? I think the answer is to get a fair assessment of your son's abilities, that is key. If you think your S's teacher is good enough, use him/her; if you think you want a different set of eyes, see if you can find someone who teaches at a high level program to assess your son, give an evaluation and see what he/she thinks. With safeties being relative, that is going to be key. The person doing the evaluation may even be able to suggest schools. </p>

<p>Okay, then how would I handle the idea of where to apply.</p>

<p>-The reach schools, the top schools, which might include the top conservatories or music schools. Again, with music schools inside colleges, be careful of the academics; conservatories generally don't care much, but music schools within colleges do. I would check with them to see if they are admitting percussion for next year and ask how many slots they have. If a school says they have 1 opening and it is for either grad or undergrad, might not be worth applying there. These are the dream schools, and you never know what they are like.</p>

<p>-The up there but not totally at the top tier schools (instead of safeties). These are schools with respected programs that might not have the name rec say a Juilliard or NEC or whatever has. Again, key is checking on how many they tend to admit, even a 'slightly lower' level school may not be admitting many percussionists that year. </p>

<p>-Schools that are relatiively no name, but have good teachers and may not attract the really high level kids, who often think they need to go to a 'name school'. </p>

<p>The key thing with all this is you simply don't know. Even high level programs have different characteristics, Indiana is a great music school, but they also tend to admit a lot of students, their music program is big, so it may make it easier to get in only in that instead of 5 percussionists, they are admitting 15 (hypothetical numbers). And with merit money and financial aid it is hard to tell who will do better, girl I know got into NEC with a large amount of aid and merit money, and got admitted to a second tier school that gave her very little. Conventional Wisdom says that the big fish applying to the small pond will get more seeds and nuts, but that doesn't always happen. </p>

<p>Point being, you only can audition and hope for the best. Only real 'safeties' I would guess would be non auditioned schools or maybe where a school has a dearth of percussionists and few applying (good luck finding that), but for the most part you audition and then see where the cards fall and make decisions when you get the responses.</p>

<p>Do not just look at the rates of admission: they tell relatively little. You need to know what the calibre of the applicant pool is. </p>

<p>Some schools have applicant pools that are very talented (e.g. the violin pool at Curtis is very small because the required audition repertoire is about triple that of any other school and therefore the average calibre of violin applicant to Curtis is considerably higher than that at Juilliard, NEC or any other top school), whereas other schools have almost every Tom, Dick and Mary auditioning for their vocal or percussion program because the repertoire requirements appear to be easy.</p>

<p>So a school with a 20% admit rate that has a low-level applicant pool can be a safety for many students, but another school with a 40% admit rate (but very able applicant pool) would be a reach for the exact same students. </p>

<p>Obviously, there is no numeric way to rate the calibre of applicant pools. Hence the need for the wisdom of at least a couple of instructors who are familiar with the applicant pools and admissions at potential schools. The best people for this are the instructors at the schools themselves. Not only can they give the best informed opinion on your son's chances at their own school after hearing him, but they are usually very familiar with what level of playing is required to gain admission/merit aid at competing schools.</p>

<p>Bottom line: arrange some trial lessons at two or more schools which interest your son.</p>

<p>I tried getting a fair assessment of his abilities by taking to his teacher. He basically ruled out 1-2 conservatories and said he could realistically apply everywhere else but all those places have very low chances, and-- if associated with a university-- the admissions people have say, so it's all a crapshoot and you have to apply to several safeties. He mentioned a couple of places-- am sorting through those-- but basically told me to 'do my research' and find out what places have and, if I have the names of the teachers, he probably knows them so run them by him. The problem is there are thousands of schools out there and I'm not sure how to 'do my research' in August of senior year.</p>

<p>Violindad, I cross-posted with you. Ok, I will try to schedule trial lessons at some schools-- is that even possible this late in the game?</p>

<p>Yes, it should be possible to schedule trial lessons prior to sending in applications. The earliest music applications (aside from early admission) are usually due on Dec. 1 but most schools are somewhat later. </p>

<p>One of my son's trial lessons was scheduled only two days in advance (I don't recommend that but he ended up attending that school largely because of that lesson) for a day that was one of the busiest of the year for the teacher (I think the teacher had to go without one of his meals). </p>

<p>Most teachers can probably schedule something in the next couple of months--the tougher part may be fitting it into your son's schedule. Many teachers will not schedule anything on a weekend (but some prefer trial lessons on a weekend). While some teachers are still in vacation mode, others are back and not as busy now as they will be in a few weeks, so if your son's school has not yet started, see if you can arrange a lesson or two prior to the start of his classes. </p>

<p>When you schedule the lesson, be upfront about your intentions: your son wants not only advice on his playing but also on whether the school is a good fit for him.</p>