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Anyone else have an aspiring music major?


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I thought I had the college admission thing somewhat figured out after doing it with my oldest, but then my second (he's a junior right now) decided to major in clarinet performance to ensure that we'll be starting from scratch again. This was supposed to be our year for college visits and sample lessons, but of course that plan got complicated; he's doing lots of virtual tours and info sessions and has started doing sample lessons via zoom, though, while I fret over helping him put together a list of schools and trying to figure out the financial aid landscape for music school. He's still doing private lessons with his local teacher online, but his youth wind symphony did start back up in person (outside), so he actually got to do a concert last weekend for the first time since March. 

Anyone else with a kid headed to music school? How's it going? 

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No, much to my surprise, I don't have a student headed to music school.  Thanks to the instability COVID has brought upon the performing arts world, my talented junior has recently decided that music is not the right field for a profession and is looking into other options.  I'm still hanging on to info from in-state schools that also have programs in fields dc is considering, since dc could still enroll in lessons and in their excellent performing groups.  At least, I hope so - I need to have dc call to ask.   On the plus side, I won't have to travel all over creation for auditions next fall, but I'm still a little sad.

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@kokotgMake sure you check back becasise I think we had 2-3 music/music+another major kids that are freshmen this year so their names & memories will be fresh. I am blanking on all of them, but you'd recognize their names. I'm sure they will try to help as much as they can!

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On 11/18/2020 at 11:57 AM, kokotg said:

I thought I had the college admission thing somewhat figured out after doing it with my oldest, but then my second (he's a junior right now) decided to major in clarinet performance to ensure that we'll be starting from scratch again. This was supposed to be our year for college visits and sample lessons, but of course that plan got complicated; he's doing lots of virtual tours and info sessions and has started doing sample lessons via zoom, though, while I fret over helping him put together a list of schools and trying to figure out the financial aid landscape for music school. He's still doing private lessons with his local teacher online, but his youth wind symphony did start back up in person (outside), so he actually got to do a concert last weekend for the first time since March. 

Anyone else with a kid headed to music school? How's it going? 

Yes!! When all is said and done, I'll have two music performance major kids and one performance minor! (and two student athletes!)

Kid who is IN college right now is at a school that is handling Covid very well. With the hopes of a working vaccine on the horizon, things look good for next year's freshmen, which has been a huge relief to the current music students.

I tried to talk my current senior into a gap year, but he's marching forward. Already has a provisional acceptance to his first-choice school, so we are just working through the steps to finalize the deal.

My older music major is probably not going to wind up actually performing as a career, but what she really wants to do has more to do with contacts and experience than degree, so she opted for the performance degree as it won't really impact her future career decisions. She has about a million other/outside endeavors going on at any one time.

Younger music major is going to perform. As a caveat, I have to admit that I (personally, only speaking for myself) would *not* support his current trajectory if he were not very, very devoted; very, very skilled; very, very hardworking; very, very talented; very, very organized; and very, very well-connected. He has friends who are going to continue to pursue music performance in college and they are mediocre, at best. If they were my kid, I'd be pushing hard for music therapy or music education (or, ya know, engineering, lol!!), because the music world is going to take some time to rebuild after all of this.

Both of my music major kids plan to get post graduate degrees as well. That also impacts my wholehearted support for their current plans. It's scary out there for the arts people right now!!!

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22 hours ago, klmama said:

No, much to my surprise, I don't have a student headed to music school.  Thanks to the instability COVID has brought upon the performing arts world, my talented junior has recently decided that music is not the right field for a profession and is looking into other options.  I'm still hanging on to info from in-state schools that also have programs in fields dc is considering, since dc could still enroll in lessons and in their excellent performing groups.  At least, I hope so - I need to have dc call to ask.   On the plus side, I won't have to travel all over creation for auditions next fall, but I'm still a little sad.

aww--that is bittersweet!

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music theatre here.

we were mostly un-prepared for the insanity that is auditions. He ended up in a BA program, which was not what he wanted. He 100% loves it, though. He joined the top-lvl choir (got in as a freshman! woot!) and loves his voice coach. They're recording videos of their performances (can't watch live) and it's amusing.  40 kids in a gym-sized room, each at last 8' from anyone else, all wearing 'singing masks' (they stickout from your face and make you look like a duck). 

OTOH, there isn't any music theater going on pretty much anywhere in the world right now and no idea when that will return. His plan includes a MS in music pedagogy (teaching) if the world is still without performances 18 months from now. or maybe even if it is.  we'll have to see.

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On 11/19/2020 at 2:13 PM, easypeasy said:

 

Younger music major is going to perform. As a caveat, I have to admit that I (personally, only speaking for myself) would *not* support his current trajectory if he were not very, very devoted; very, very skilled; very, very hardworking; very, very talented; very, very organized; and very, very well-connected. He has friends who are going to continue to pursue music performance in college and they are mediocre, at best. If they were my kid, I'd be pushing hard for music therapy or music education (or, ya know, engineering, lol!!), because the music world is going to take some time to rebuild after all of this.

 

Being his mother, I of course am nervous about the music major thing (and at the moment we don't have any stand alone conservatories on his list, which I'm not sad about; options are good!)...but I will say that deciding that that's what he wants to do has made him much more motivated and focused than he ever was before--not just with the music itself but with academic stuff that will help him get into a good school/get more aid. So I figure developing those skills is going to help him out no matter what he ends up doing. At the moment he shows no signs of changing his mind (he's open to either a performance or education major--my husband's a high school teacher, though, and this year has been bad enough for teachers that I'm not sure I'm any more likely to encourage a kid to pursue that than music right now!)

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Our high school senior is trending toward musical theater. He Had a major role in the high school production of Fiddler on the Roof, but covid scuttled that opportunity when schools shut down. He's back in school using a hybrid model, though rumor has it that schools might shut down again. He's in the concert choir (meeting via zoom), singing tenor in the community chorus (again via zoom), and possibly participating in the chorale from where we used to live. (Again, zoom) He is also a talented jazz drummer.

At any rate, he has signed up for an interview and audition (zoom) at our local college. In town kids get a scholarship for half tuition.  It's not his first choice, but would be a good back up school.

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3 hours ago, Ethel Mertz said:

He's in the concert choir (meeting via zoom), singing tenor in the community chorus (again via zoom), and possibly participating in the chorale from where we used to live. (Again, zoom)  

How do they make this work???  It seems like some people's devices might have lag time, which would make singing in unison impossible.

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On 11/20/2020 at 8:49 PM, kokotg said:

Being his mother, I of course am nervous about the music major thing (and at the moment we don't have any stand alone conservatories on his list, which I'm not sad about; options are good!)...but I will say that deciding that that's what he wants to do has made him much more motivated and focused than he ever was before--not just with the music itself but with academic stuff that will help him get into a good school/get more aid. So I figure developing those skills is going to help him out no matter what he ends up doing. At the moment he shows no signs of changing his mind (he's open to either a performance or education major--my husband's a high school teacher, though, and this year has been bad enough for teachers that I'm not sure I'm any more likely to encourage a kid to pursue that than music right now!)

That bolded is the important part!!! I told my kid, so long as HE is steering this music ship himself and self-motivating, then I'm behind his plan, 100%! But if I'm nagging about homework or reminding him to practice... then he's not taking this seriously enough to make a career out of it (because it's hard work, making a successful career in music!). A friend of his had this same epiphany at the beginning of their junior year and walked their way right into Juilliard!

Haven't had to nag him *once* since he made up his mind.

Decision is a powerful motivating tool. I *wish* my kid had decided to be an engineer so that a high-paying starter job would just be waiting for him after 4-5 years of school... but he is motivated, happy, and making his own path in life! 🙂  I'm just a bystander at this point! 🙂

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49 minutes ago, Ethel Mertz said:

I don't know, but I've seen the result and it's perfect. Here's a random example: zoom chorus

It looks like they are all listening to a track and are singing/playing along, then someone put together the individual recordings for a finished song.  I'm wondering, though, how they handle a daily class via Zoom.  If you get a chance to ask your ds, please let me know!

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On 11/21/2020 at 3:30 PM, klmama said:

How do they make this work???  It seems like some people's devices might have lag time, which would make singing in unison impossible.

Click tracks!!!!

For my dd, live rehearsal Zoom chorus has been a lot of solo singing and a lot of group singing while muted (the song/notes/track are on the screen). But she's only had to do this maybe twice all semester - the rest of the time they were in person.

Only 5 covid cases within the entire music school all semester - and zero of them were traced back to the music program itself!

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DS college shut down ALL group activities of any kind - practices for all sports, all meet-ups, dining in the cafeteria by anyone, etc. But yet the let the choir continue to practice in person because they've had 0 cases traced to choir and only 5 of 50 quarantined all term (contact w/ roommates who had a scare. all negative) Overall, positive test rates on campus have been much higher than Im comfortable with, but the choir has done fine. <shrug>

It's almost like if we'd actually all wear a mask and actually all not stand next to each other then this wouldn't be all that bad!

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On 11/22/2020 at 1:52 PM, klmama said:

It looks like they are all listening to a track and are singing/playing along, then someone put together the individual recordings for a finished song.  I'm wondering, though, how they handle a daily class via Zoom.  If you get a chance to ask your ds, please let me know!

The kids are on a hybrid schedule - 2 days at school and 3 days virtual. The class stuff gets handled in person. DS is in a quartet and they are preparing to sing madrigals outside, at a drive through performance. 

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My senior was strongly contemplating going directly into the music industry (no college) but has changed her mind due to Covid.  She is now going to school for engineering.  Ha ha!  She figures she will at least pick up a degree to wait and see how the music industry shakes out post-pandemic.   

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On 11/22/2020 at 12:26 AM, easypeasy said:

 

Decision is a powerful motivating tool. I *wish* my kid had decided to be an engineer so that a high-paying starter job would just be waiting for him after 4-5 years of school... but he is motivated, happy, and making his own path in life! 🙂  I'm just a bystander at this point! 🙂

There you go! My oldest is doing a much more practical math major; I figure we have four kids, so we can afford one starving artist type 😉

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On 11/24/2020 at 12:19 AM, AEC said:

DS college shut down ALL group activities of any kind - practices for all sports, all meet-ups, dining in the cafeteria by anyone, etc. But yet the let the choir continue to practice in person because they've had 0 cases traced to choir and only 5 of 50 quarantined all term (contact w/ roommates who had a scare. all negative) Overall, positive test rates on campus have been much higher than Im comfortable with, but the choir has done fine. <shrug>

It's almost like if we'd actually all wear a mask and actually all not stand next to each other then this wouldn't be all that bad!

DS's wind symphony sent out a very long, detailed plan before they started back in person (outside, 6 feet apart, except trombones have to be 9, etc), complete with links to two studies about covid and wind instruments, so we felt reasonably good about letting him go (though we still likely would have told him to take the year off if it were a run of the mill hobby for him). The full orchestra he plays with hasn't gone back and just announced that they'll be starting back in January only for strings--no wind at all this year except for some planned online sessions. Maybe wind players can be moved up on the schedule of when different people get the vaccine: health care workers, nursing home residents, clarinet players... 😂

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On 11/26/2020 at 8:31 AM, kokotg said:

 Maybe wind players can be moved up on the schedule of when different people get the vaccine: health care workers, nursing home residents, clarinet players... 😂

😂😂 if only!! The poor winds players this year!! Breaks my heart!

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I have a college sophomore who is a music performance major.  He is a double major actually, his 2nd major is comp sci.  He auditioned at 8 schools I think and applied to 11 schools in total.  It was a mix of program options he wasn't totally sure what route to take when applying.  The audition and application process was brutal and so much work.  The biggest thing I would say is teacher and program fit are the most important and follow the money.    We are in a large metro and have done large scale music programs for many years so I just know many kids who've been through the process.  I know students in fancy programs who are unhappy with their private teachers.  I've seen very mediocre recordings out of very high end programs.   These programs need a mix of full pay and scholarship and FA kids.  Everyone who applies is reasonably talented but I don't think most programs can afford every talented undergrad.   My kid had a teacher tell him directly, you are great and I wish the program could afford you next year please consider us for grad school.  Getting an offer is a complex thing and being a fit for the program is just one element.  We saw a small midwestern school very obviously pull out the stops at a music audition day for students who were from unique demographics.   That said, that might guide some applications to schools where you might be a more unique applicant.  A lot of music students go onto grad school, so getting an undergrad with little to no debt is a very good thing.  Even if they don't, music students have more flexible options upon graduating if they aren't in the shadow of a student loan.  Anyway - my kid ended up in a great but  smaller program at a great price.   The faculty went of their way to get him there financially and otherwise and it shows in the way he is treated in the program.   I would also say look at faculty carefully.  My kid is at a large state school in a decent sized metro.  The music faculty is all amazing - out of Juilliard, Eastman, etc.   Many of them were teaching at higher rated music programs prior to moving to this metro.  Some of the faculty we came across at more rural schools even in well regarded in music were surprising to me at times.  Those faculty jobs are more competitive near more metro areas especially.  Music program rankings are really dicey and not super meaningful IMO.  

We know a lot of people working in the arts. I think it's a personality thing more than anything else.  You really need a diverse skill set - performance, direction, arranging, teaching, tech skills, business skills, hustle/interpersonal skills, etc.  I don't know anyone who is JUST performing, I think that is pretty rare.   Even those employed in our high end professional metro orchestra are teaching, working with non-profits, etc. I  actually wish more music programs were building more diverse skill sets instead of just very specialized performing programs.  Anyway - that has been good discussion to keep going here.  I do think my kid is likely for grad school, but he could go a number of directions with that.  

I'm happy to PM with people individually, I don't like to put too many specifics out on the interwebs.  🙂  Good luck with applications!    It is such a hard time for the music/performing people right now, I really hope by next fall things are looking better.  

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