Tips for the Aspiring Music Major

Do you know the way to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice practice! It's a corny, old joke, but there is a lot of truth in it, and it is my first piece of advice for those of you who would like to major in music. Keep in mind this in addition to the other general suggestions helpful in gaining acceptance to the school of your choice. Auditions are generally a requirement for admission into any college music program. Make sure you know the deadlines and requirements for the schools in which you have interest. Perhaps you could search the internet for details on the school's music leanings or claims to fame and also those of their faculty (especially the directors). It can't hurt if your philosophies and leanings are consistent with theirs. Be ready to make your best first impression, as you may not get a second chance in this highly competitive field.

What else can you do to stand out ahead of your competition? Do not rely solely on your high school's music program, no matter how good you believe it may be. If you are serious about pursuing a music degree you should be taking private lessons from a qualified music teacher who has experience teaching college bound students and let them know your ambitions. Attend related activities such as summer music programs and camps. Another requirement in most music programs, regardless of the instrument you play, is piano and singing. It would make you stand out if you have, at the very least, some experience in both. Studying music theory and music history, besides looking good in the application process, will give you a good head start in your college classes. Ask your music teachers to give personal recommendations, as an endorsement from them will go a long way.

Performance experience is a must! Seek out opportunities to play in public such as with community based orchestras, bands, ensembles and choirs, or church and religious center's music programs. Performing in local, state, or national competitions will take you to another level in the eyes of those reviewing your application. Challenge yourself!

On a final note, although music is a challenging major in of itself, for practical reasons, many who major in it choose to have a second major or minor in another area. You may think SAT or ACT scores aren't as important as your playing ability but they are. Along with your GPA, they let the school know you are able to handle the challenge.


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