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Thread: What looks good on a college application?

  1. #1
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    What looks good on a college application?

    Threw out the next two years Im going to be doing everying I possibly can to make my college application look good. So I wanted to know what would look good on a college aplication. Im planning on making music my major, so I thought musicians would know the most about that.

    I already have some things on my aplication that makes it look good.

    1. Im going to a school of the performing arts.
    2. Im a member of a jazz society.
    3. Im also a member of a celtic music group.

    But, I realize this is but a drop of water in what I could be doing. So let the suggestions flood this thread.

  2. #2
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    proper spelling and punctuation threw out your application could help :-P

    sorry... couldn't help myself

    anyway, for applying into music, all you really need... is to be pretty darn good at playing music. So... for the next two years, play as much music as you can and try and become the best musician that you can. I only sorta figured out this last year that I for sure wanted to head into music, and as soon as I decided that, I involved myself in absolutly every musical thing possible that I could... 3 school bands, my own band, lotsa jamming with whoever felt like jamming... 2 lessons a week for the 3-4 months before university auditions. Just get out there and play whenever you can, and when you have free time and you're not out playing, work on learning more stuff in music, on building up your chops. Shit, even when i'm at work (im a grocery store cashier) im busy figuring out new chord voicings and shapes (for guitar) between customers.

    Nothing you say will mean anything, if you can't back it up with some proper playing. And if your playing is good enough, anything you say probably won't matter, because they'll be thinking about how good their institution will sound with you in it... as long as you still show some maturity and work ethic and what not (so keep them grades up...)

  3. #3
    Can't think of a witty title Shade of Blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seb09
    proper spelling and punctuation threw out your application could help :-P
    Damn! I was gonna say that.

    Anyway, everything seb said is absolutely right; your playing is a lot more important than what "looks good" on an application.
    That's not to say that you shouldn't participate in things that look good, just concentrate the most on your playing.
    As for what looks good on the application, it can't hurt to join bands and audition for groups, especially if you make them. All-district, all-county, any local jazz bands, etc.
    Worked for me (got in to Oberlin Conservatory).

  4. #4
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    Are you applying to a music school, or to the music program at a more general education school?

  5. #5
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    Well........

    If you plan on attending just a conservatory-type program, your musical ability is going to be of the upmost importance. Many of them don't even look at your academic record (although they say they do). However, if you are going to a music program affiliated with an actual university, you will have to be accepted by both the music school AND the general university, which means you need to have your grades in order. Remember too that many financial aid awards are based on things like your academic record, school activites, etc. Also look into third-party music-based financial scholarships through a local organization of some kind. I had many friends who paid their way through school with those kinds of awards.

    Musically, you probably have a good start since you go to a performing arts high school (i've always been jealous of those kids who have that, I went to a crappy public school and I was the only jazz musician there, i didn't even know there was a Grammy band till I was in college, sorry, had to get that off my chest). I figure you are an aspiring jazz musician so I would really prepare myself for that. One thing you'll find, depending on what school you go to, is that many times "jazz" oriented schools pay less attention to the fundamental musical things that a standard conservatory would. Things like sight-reading. I've seen many people get accepted and go through school and never have more than avergage sight-reading skills. Make sure you concentrate on the things that are important to your instrument. Being a saxophonist, there are certain things that a young player should be able to do technically by the time he is at college level. I admittedly wasn't as prepared as I should've been. Don't let that happen to you.

    Above all, your at the stage in your development where you should really be digging into the history. Many young players find one or two players they like, copy them, then go off and do their own thing. You'll find that when you get into school, your time to do the kind of exploratory learning is going to dwindle, both due to work load and the fact that when you hit college age, you'll find you want to explore LIFE. Take the time you have now to go back and dig the earlier cats, the history. Hopefully you'll do this your whole career, but a young person who has a grasp on that knowledge is WAAAAYYY ahead of the game.

    Lastly, prepare youself to be humbled. I don't know where you're from, but you might be a big fish in a small pond right now. That'll change when you get to a place where you find everyone wants the same thing you do and is seemingly closer to reaching it. It can be hard to deal with at first. Don't be discouraged, but don't be an a@#hole either. Good luck.

  6. #6
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    Where are you looking to go to school? You should go down and visit those schools, talk to the dean of students the heads of the music departments, and ask them directly what they are looking for in terms of grades, extracurricular activities, musical ability, etc.... If you do that then you can tailor your background to what the schools seem to be looking for.

    Depending upon the program or school, schools in general take students for a variety of reasons other than grades and ability. They may look to take only a certain number of local students, a certain number of out of state students, a certain number of students from other countries, etc... Sometimes those factors are stronger in why you get accepted or rejected from a school than your current level of playing, grades, etc... (unless of course your grades or playing are completely amazing)

    And during your visits to those schools, you should talk to the students currently in the program. Do they like it? What kind of stuff are they working on? YOu should see if you could tag along with a student for the day to see what a typical day would be like in that program you are looking into.

    This is a research project that you will really need to do on your own. Most highschool counselors leave a lot to be desired when it comes to giving you the type of information that you would really like to have before making a decision on a particular school or on how to get into that school.

  7. #7
    www.jakehanlon.com Jakeweiser's Avatar
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    what matters for going to music school is 1 thing.

    Do you have the potiential to become a good player and musician as a whole

    Skills that will help you get in

    Sight reading well
    Knowing tunes
    Having transcribed solos already
    Having the makings of good tone

    For the university, they will want you to have the grades they require to get into their university or college.

    The Music department won't really care a whole lot if you've been anywhere or played with anyone. Name dropping is pretty useless unless you've really played with some top guys. Playing in your local Jazz band is experience that helps but all in all, the only thing that the guy auditioning you will care about is if you can play and have the ability to grow into a better player.
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  8. #8
    Compose /Arranger / Jazz Prod. Phil Kelly's Avatar
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    Notwithstanding all the other salient points that have been previously made here :

    Ask yourself the question ..WHAT do you plan on doing in music eventually? ( assuming you have mastered all the skills described here ) ..and WHY are you doing this?

    Music is a terribly difficult profession to achieve any sort of financial security in
    ( even with great talent, skill and a good deal of luck ) and unless you can aanswer those two questions with a positive constructive answer, you probably should reconsider the choice ..

    Finally , the attitude "what looks good on an application " is indicative of an attitude of superficiality ,semantically speaking.
    Swing ..or I'll kill you ( Bill Potts )
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Kelly
    Notwithstanding all the other salient points that have been previously made here :

    Ask yourself the question ..WHAT do you plan on doing in music eventually? ( assuming you have mastered all the skills described here ) ..and WHY are you doing this?

    Music is a terribly difficult profession to achieve any sort of financial security in
    ( even with great talent, skill and a good deal of luck ) and unless you can aanswer those two questions with a positive constructive answer, you probably should reconsider the choice ..
    yup.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Kelly
    Music is a terribly difficult profession to achieve any sort of financial security in
    While what Phil is saying is true, I can tell you that you can go into a whole host of graduate programs with a degree in Music if your music career ultimately doesn't pan out for you. As long as you have a BA or BS in something, and your GPA is good, there are quite a few grad school programs you could go into with a degree in just about anything. (Obviously that is not the case with all grad programs, but you'd be surprised at the number of programs that will accept people with just about any major).

    People I went to law school with had all sorts of backgrounds that had nothing to do with law. Some were music majors. If I had it to do over again, I would have been a music major because that is what I "wanted" to study. All I'm saying is that if music is something that you really "want" to study and pursue, that you should take the time to do it while you are in college. Plus, there is always the possibility of a double major or minoring in some other completely unrelated subject to music.

  11. #11
    AAJ's Spammer Exterminator Tenorman's Avatar
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    What looks good on any application???

    HONESTY

    Don't claim things you cannot do and have not done.

    By all means promote yourself: but do not claim anything that you cannot stand up in front of an audience and prove.

    Dishonesty "might" get you a place, but the embarrassment of being thrown out, when fact does not live up to the fiction, is far worse than being turned down

    How do I know?: I have been trained as an interviewer. I know how to take candidates apart when they are not being truthful, and believe me -- it is not a pretty sight.

    Birth Controller to the Jazz Community. (click on the underlined text for more information)

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