For musicians who want to take their craft to another level with rigorous, academic teaching, music school can be a great choice. In these schools, students are trained in the performance of musical instruments, singing, musical composition, conducting, musicianship, as well as academic and research fields such as musicology, music history and music theory.
It might seem intense, but some of the best music schools such as Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, or Eastman School of Music allow you to immerse yourself in a culture obsessed with and determined to perfect the art of music.
Here are a few things to remember if you want to attend one of these institutions.
1. Play with others.
Music is an inherently social event, so don’t get too caught up in your studies or personal work and ignore the people around you. Remember to play, practice, and study with others.
Groups can help members perfect their skills by providing constant help and support. If you can’t find people at your college, you can always join a local band or orchestra.
2. Only go to the school you truly want to attend.
This tip can be particularly hard, as many people feel the need to apply to schools that are out of their reach or simply not a place they want to attend. Prestige and endowment matter, but the real quality of your education is derived from the experiences you have and the people you share those with.
A great idea is to tour some of your favorite music schools. When you go on tours, you get a feel for the culture and environment that is fostered at that school.
For example, here is a virtual tour of Berklee College of Music.
3. Don’t wait to apply.
If you have the academic grades, test scores, recommendation letters, and everything else, there are some great music schools out there that will love to have you attend. The thing is, they need to know you want to attend. Don’t put off applying, and do not procrastinate. Applying for colleges can take a significant amount of time, and you don’t want to rush it.
Months before deadlines start approaching, ask teachers or music directors for recommendation letters and start to make a plan. The tours mentioned above can be a month-long process of reserving a spot and then traveling to the school, so waiting until the last minute can ruin the process.
To get the process going, here is a video outlining what you should be doing to get into a great music school such as Juilliard.
The process of applying for and attending colleges focused on music can be stressful, but these three points will help in making it as painless as possible. Remember your passion for music because that is the one thing that will carry you through all of this.
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Sean Harris is a writer in the midwest US who plans on majoring in computer science or physics at college. He enjoys listening to music, blogging, and reading.