2. Take Trial Lessons
Often times, if you know someone who has an “in” with a music school, you can take a ‘trial lesson’ with a teacher at the school you are interested in attending.
This accomplishes two major ‘trials.’ First, the teacher is trialing the student, seeing whether that student would be a good fit for admissions into his or her collegiate studio.
Secondly, this is your opportunity as a student to personally trial out the teacher.
You may have heard dozens of great reviews about this teacher and even liked a masterclass he or she gave, but if you don’t get a good feeling about your lesson with him or her, that will provide you a world of insight you would never have had if you didn’t take the trial lesson.
1. Work On Your College Audition
Finally, after doing all of this hard work to discover your right-fit studio professor, the most important thing you can do to land your right-fit music teacher is to work on your audition.
There are many ways you can work on your audition. Most teachers would say to just “practice and make perfect” your audition.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work nearly as well as you may think.
There are so many factors that go into a great audition beyond just working hard in the practice room.
I was working with a Boston University voice professor recently with a student of mine and her upcoming audition. He told to me that how a student presents himself or herself in just the opening few moments of the audition can significantly impact the adjudicating committee’s perception of that student.
What I find most effective for music students after years of doing this personally is do a series of mock auditions & interviews as well as finding a tailored roadmap for them that will help their chances of succeeding the audition process.
This includes trial lessons with teachers at schools, finding summer programs whose faculty includes studio professors working in major music schools, putting together meetings with students and administration at various schools, etc.
Of course, you’ll also have to be cognizant of the repertoire you choose to perform at your audition.
You may read on a school’s website, for example, that a Beethoven Sonata is acceptable for your piano audition. But I can tell you that you better not choose either of these pieces by Beethoven if you are applying for a high-level piano program.
What About Non-Performing Music Students?
Music theory, musicology, and music business students may get it “easy” and not have to perform an entrance audition at some schools.
Sometimes they will though, especially if they are attempting to enter a high-level program at a school where any music student is required to also be a performer, such as at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.
Composition students often, but not always, have to take performance auditions as well for admission into a collegiate music program.
Frequently, composition students will be evaluated three-fold; once for a performance audition, once for a composition portfolio review, and once for an admissions interview as well.
So How Do I Get Started Moving Forward
I would start by connecting with local musicians who have a Bachelor’s degree in music and seek out their experiences. Even talking to one professional musician can help you shape the roadmap forward.
Of course, you’ll have to take any musician’s opinion with possibly a grain of salt – I have heard plenty of musicians, for example, both espouse the horridness and greatness of a music school they never attended or really know much about.
After that, I would starting visiting schools and see if you can meet someone besides your collegiate tour guide. This can be very helpful for your education about music schools moving forward in the long run.
If you would like to find out more about how we can assist you throughout the entire college research, audition, interview, and application process, just shoot me an email personally or fill out the form on our Music College Consulting page.
Otherwise, I’ll be posting more articles over the next few weeks related to this very subject.