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Best musical instruments for college scholarship?

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#1 katilac

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:00 PM

dd13 plays piano, and wants to add an instrument next year. which ones are more likely to lead to a scholarship? I'm talking about a partial scholarship to play in the orchestra at a 'regular' school or department; she isn't aiming for a degree in music.

She did have some group lessons in viola a few years back, and did very well for the time she was there. She's open to ideas!

#2 Plucky

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:18 PM

dd13 plays piano, and wants to add an instrument next year. which ones are more likely to lead to a scholarship? I'm talking about a partial scholarship to play in the orchestra at a 'regular' school or department; she isn't aiming for a degree in music.

She did have some group lessons in viola a few years back, and did very well for the time she was there. She's open to ideas!


I would pick the harp for many reasons. One you can make a lot of money playing at events and help with college costs. Now it is expensive to get a harp and instruction, but I think it is worth it. I wish one of mine had the desire. Sadly, most musicians are very picky about their instruments. :001_smile:

#3 Barbara H

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:24 PM

I agree with the harp suggestion - can be good money playing for weddings for sure. Harps are expensive though and you have to have appropriate sized transportation as well. Also, I've known a couple of students who have done very well financially with the organ. They were able to pick up quite a lot of work with small churches even during high school and college scholarships.

#4 Running the race

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:50 PM

bassoon, French horn

#5 Bluegoat

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:21 PM

I was going to say organ as well. Universities with connections to liturgical churches may have positions for organ scholars available in university chapels.

#6 Miss Marple

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:40 PM

I have a friend whose son received a scholarship for the bagpipes! She would send him outside to practice. I always enjoyed listening to those outside practice sessions - several acres away :)

I would guess that the fewer people who play a particular instrument, the more apt one would be to get a scholarship.

#7 Mom2boys

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 02:48 PM

I've heard oboe and tuba are good choices for scholarships, as not many kids play them. Sadly, my boys picked trumpet and saxophone.

#8 Hoggirl

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 02:57 PM

bassoon, French horn


I was going to say basson as well. I think the organ is a great choice for a pianist. I have been trying to get my ds interested for awhile. You will, however, have to go somewhere to practice.

#9 Reesegirl

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 04:53 PM

Here are my thoughts: My dd is going to be a sr. next at her lac (actually it is a small private university). She isn't a music major but has seriously taken piano since she was 7. When she went as a fr. she did not receive any scholarship for piano, but continued to take piano at the university. She took her music history class from the dean of the music department and became very good friends with him. In her jr. year he reccommended her for a $2000 scholarship from an outside source of the university, which included lessons from the dean and participating in the masters class which is mostly made up of piano majors. She is receiving the same scholarship this fall but was offered another music scholarship if she will take organ lessons! It will require another 4 hours a week to practice but she see it as a part time job. She never had any interest in the organ but for the money she will fit it into her schedule. She is going to a Christian university and has had the opportunity to travel in the summer as a member in a travel music group that goes to churches and summer youth camps and has been a part of the school's many chapel music groups....all of which has been contemporary in style. She loves Classical and concentrates on this mostly in her lessons so doing organ should be a fun experience.

#10 SuperDad

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 05:02 PM

Oboe
Organ
Bassoon
Harp

Basically, the more unusual, the better.

#11 AK_Mom4

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

Decent Basson and Oboe players were being offered full-rides at both universities where DD18 auditioned. French horn players were being recruited at one of them.

#12 katilac

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:20 PM

Wow, thanks for the replies, I'm taking notes . . .

#13 LuvingLife

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:25 PM

Harp, my sister and I are going to learn how to play as well!:)

#14 K-FL

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:05 AM

I'd add viola. There are tons of violinist, but since you have to read alto clef w/viola there are not as many players.

#15 i.love.lucy

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 03:32 PM

Decent Basson and Oboe players were being offered full-rides at both universities where DD18 auditioned. French horn players were being recruited at one of them.

So when you say full ride, was this to be music majors? Was this in AK?

#16 J-rap

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:22 PM

I've heard oboes. My petite hs junior is learning the tuba, however, partly for that very reason. (She used to play the clarinet.) She is in the public school band class. They let her keep one tuba at school and one at home because she can't even lift it.

#17 dmmetler

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:25 PM

I agree with the above-I'd also suggest that if there's a specific school of interest, find out if there's a specific college scholarship program for it. A prime example-Carnegie Mellon University has dedicated scholarships for Bagpipes, because they want a piper, in tartan garb, to lead the football team onto the field for games. I was also able, about 2-3 years ago, to find a student a specific scholarship for Mandolin (I'm not a mandolin teacher, but since I was working at the university level at the time and had access to those resources, I was well placed to do some research for a great kid). There are quite a few niche scholarships for cultural or heritage instruments, especially at private schools.

#18 1Togo

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:00 PM

It's always good to look ahead, but I would choose an instrument based on the child's interest. At the high school level, daily practice is in the hours and constant if the student wants college scholarship money.

Edited by 1Togo, 24 May 2012 - 07:09 PM.


#19 Gwen in VA

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:18 AM

It's always good to look ahead, but I would choose an instrument based on the child's interest. At the high school level, daily practice is in the hours and constant if the student wants college scholarship money.


This sounds silly, but different instruments also are used very differently. For example, the violin is a social instrument, played mostly in orchestras and chamber groups. The sax is used more for jazz. The organ is used mostly in churches. Bagpipes are often used in bagpipe bands.

A person may be very interested in music but hate bagpipes or dislike jazz or dread the idea of accompanying hymns.

In summary, the instruments are not interchangeable. Your kid needs to really be passionate about the instrument and music before he will practice enough to even thing about a music scholarship!

#20 katilac

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

It's always good to look ahead, but I would choose an instrument based on the child's interest. At the high school level, daily practice is in the hours and constant if the student wants college scholarship money.


Oh, if she had a strong interest in a particular 2nd instrument, I'd go that way. But she doesn't yet, and as long as she's asking for suggestions . . . ;)

#21 1Togo

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:01 PM

Adding this to confuse the issue. While at our local luthier a few weeks ago, dd tried out one of his violins. He mentioned that it belonged to a girl who has been offered a full-ride music scholarship to play the oboe even though she is a violinist. She is selling her violin to pay for an oboe. On the other hand, we know several homeschool girls on full or partial scholarships for violin at nearby uni. We love violin and would recommend violin. It's portable, challenging, and played well, so lovely.

Edited by 1Togo, 25 May 2012 - 05:30 PM.


#22 Rhonda in TX

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:31 PM

For string instruments, look at viola and double bass. Those are the instruments most in demand. Also, if your DD ever wants to play recreationally, it's very easy to find groups that need those instruments. DH didn't play his double bass for over 10 years. When he started playing again, he joined a community orchestra within 6 months and was recruited for 2 more community orchestras within a year. Also, my children play in an area youth symphony. They always need violas and double basses. They never have enough.

#23 Laura in CA

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:51 PM

I'd heard tubas are in demand (and could totally see my younger son with a tuba ... but he wanted to stick with piano, violin, and guitar :001_smile:), which I was rather surprised at until we went to a football game and saw the UCLA (or was it USC?) marching band in action -- there must have been 10 or 12 tubas! or maybe even more ...

My other son plays viola and yes, he's always in demand, especially for pit orchestras.

#24 flyingiguana

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 07:53 AM

Part of the reason it's so hard to find tuba and bassoon and double bass players is the expense of the instrument. Often, if a college wants someone on one of these instruments, they'll rent the instrument out to them and the student learns it while at college.

It's hard to know about scholarships. I've heard that some schools do recruit particular instruments, but the ones I have had dealings with are just as happy to have current students learn the instruments the school needs. And they give out music scholarship money to a lot of kids (based on talent, not the needs of the school music program) -- problem is, it may only be a few thousand dollars.

#25 katilac

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 10:35 AM

For string instruments, look at viola and double bass. Those are the instruments most in demand. Also, if your DD ever wants to play recreationally, it's very easy to find groups that need those instruments. DH didn't play his double bass for over 10 years. When he started playing again, he joined a community orchestra within 6 months and was recruited for 2 more community orchestras within a year. Also, my children play in an area youth symphony. They always need violas and double basses. They never have enough.


Yes, that's another consideration. I love the idea of music being a life-long hobby that she can share with others!

#26 onaclairadeluna

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 11:54 AM

The wind instruments that are always needed for All State level groups are Tuba and French Horn. You can't really have too many of these instruments. A band does not want too many oboes. In college my band rotated the oboes because we had too many so unless the musician was just amazing I would not call oboe a scholarship instrument. It certainly is impressive to have on your transcript (as it is difficult) but not so much "in need".

If your child plays something like the clarinet you might want to add Bassoon because that is more of a need. Still it's the low brass that people are usually actively recruiting.

#27 1bassoon

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:18 AM

I guess you know what I recommend :D

Worked for me!

#28 LibraryLover

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 01:06 PM

I have been hearing a lot of talk for viola. ETA: Yes, I've heard French Horn is another. Anything that is a bit different, but always needed. Violinists, even great ones, are many.

#29 HodgesSchool

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 12:21 PM

I'll cast a vote for violin/viola combo.

Violin is such a wonderfully versatile instrument--good for solo playing, with piano, with chamber, with orchestra, classical, klezmer, jazz, bluegrass, celtic fiddle, etc. Not band, though.

Violins are cheaper and more portable than violas when you're just starting out. (You can get a VERY expensive violin, too, of course...) It is also easier to find a teacher for violin if you happen to live anywhere off the beaten path. (Incidentally, clarinet is also extremely flexible--band, classical, klezmer...)

Many viola players start out on violin. It is not a difficult transition--with the one exception of learning the new clef. But a pianist already gets the idea of multiple clefs. (A third is easier to pick up than a second.)

Violas are in demand. Often orchestras are very competitive for violin but let it almost everyone who auditions on viola. On the other hand, viola parts are often boring compared with the violin parts. If you want to enjoy the instrument by yourself, violin seems preferable.

I've known kids with scholarships for both violin and viola--but the former are usually quite competitive.

#30 bzymom

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:01 AM

So much depends upon the needs of the school. Do they have a big football program? If so, think marching instruments. Is their orchestral program a big draw? Oboe, bassoon, viola.

My d/s is a tuba player and gets zero in scholarship, though he carries a 4.0 with a double major. His school needs more strings!

I think you rarely go wrong with viola. Always in demand at every orchestra we've known.

#31 katilac

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 04:45 PM

So much depends upon the needs of the school. Do they have a big football program? If so, think marching instruments. Is their orchestral program a big draw? Oboe, bassoon, viola.

My d/s is a tuba player and gets zero in scholarship, though he carries a 4.0 with a double major. His school needs more strings!

I think you rarely go wrong with viola. Always in demand at every orchestra we've known.


Oh, marching band is way too physical for her tastes, lol! I would love for her to go back to viola.

#32 Wildcat

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:59 PM

Oh, marching band is way too physical for her tastes, lol! I would love for her to go back to viola.


This year, a friend's daughter (viola) was heavily recruited and offered major $$ at several schools. Some were just "great offers" and others were full rides.

How much begging would you have to do to get your dd to switch back? :D

#33 ValRN

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 09:45 AM

viola. orchestras are notoriously lacking in the viola section.



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