<p>I think you narrow the list down like anyone does. The child has to develop criteria like size, location, challenge of the school, and then examine the music program itself (get the brochures and look at website) and determine if the offerings are of the nature she is looking for. For instance, many involve classical singing. This is an issue you have discussed on here a lot regarding your D not wanting that. So, that will narrow it down a lot. </p>
<p>Going where the "action" is , in my view, is more important when going to get your career jump started. If she were going straight into looking for work, then yes, NYC, LA or Nashville are where it is at. But my opinion is that the location of the college program is NOT critical to that decision at all. When in college, her time will be spent in rigorous conservatory training, as well as performance opportunities via campus programs. She is not going to have time to pound the pavement looking for recording contracts and gigs outside of college so much. She will spend four years honing her craft and then pound the pavement. I liken this to my own D who I told you is going for a BFA in musical theater. Of course, NYC is where that is at. But her college need NOT be in NYC because this is about her training years. Even if she went to school in NYC, she would be unable to audition for work there during the grueling, long hour conservatory and college classes, and rehearsals for college productions. So, while she would like to be in NYC because she LOVES NEW YORK, going to college there, even SHE realizes, is not that important to her career at all. She has maturely figured out that she needs to go to the best program she can get into. One of her two first choices is in NYC but the allure of NYC is there but she knows she does not have to BE in NYC during her college years and she has the rest of her life, starting in four years, to try to "make it in NYC". College years are not going to be the time for that pursuit, but will be a stepping stone to that goal. Some of the very top programs in her field, in fact, most of them but one, are located OUTSIDE of NYC. Same with for your daughter. Just my two cents. </p>
<p>Also, many kids who have professional performance backgrounds, still take four years to go to college. I don't see it as either/or for your D. She does not have to "make it" at fifteen (I forget her age but I think that is about it) OR choose college. She can hone her craft now, seek professional work if you want, as well, but still go to college at 18, and then hopefully go on at 22, even more skilled and prepared and educated and seek more professional opportunities. Most of the kids I know who have worked on let's say, Broadway, are still pursuing college when they turn 18.In other words, I don't see the situation as "if I don't make it, then I will go to college." Rather even if she makes it now, she still can go to college. As well, even if she does NOT make it now, she can go to college and make it later!
<p>PS...again for YOUR daughter's interest, one of the best programs is at Berklee School of Music.</p>