So You Want To Be A Music Major?
This fall, I’m doing something different with my blog to spice it up a bit. I’ve invited several admission counselors from around the country to contribute posts about topics they feel high school students and their families should be paying more attention to as they go through the college search and application process. As much as I like to share tips and advice, why not get it straight from the horse’s mouth?
Today’s post is the third in this series and it’s by Reuben Councill, Associate Director of Admissions from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania:
While the college search process is always an involved one, music majors definitely have a few different aspects to consider. While there are certainly schools where you can major in music without taking an audition for entrance into the degree program, I think the vast majority of potential music majors will choose to attend a program that has an audition requirement. Proper preparation is key to a successful process and I am happy to give you some points to consider.
First and foremost, you need some professional assistance. If you are not already doing so, you need to have lessons from a private instructor who is a specialist on your particular instrument or voice type. This person will be in the best position to help you prepare an audition that will showcase your strengths and allow you to have the best options for acceptance into a variety of schools. If you need help locating a suitable instructor, good references include your high school band or choir director, professional musicians from a local orchestra or choir, and music professors from any colleges or universities in your area.
Second, you need to decide on a list of potential music programs. Most students will audition for a variety of schools – some more competitive than others for program acceptance. As a prospective student, it is important for you to be in contact with each department or school of music for which you plan to audition. While requirements will be similar, you need to be sure that you are preparing exactly what each program expects to hear from you at the time of audition.
Third, it is important to evaluate the type of degree offered by each institution you are considering. Without going into too much detail, as a performance major, you can expect to see Bachelor of Music in Music Performance or Bachelor of Arts with a performance emphasis. A significant difference with a Bachelor of Music degree is that the student will receive a much more in-depth curriculum particularly regarding theory and history requirements within the music major. However, the Bachelor of Arts can be the perfect degree for someone wishing to complete a dual major with a truly rich musical experience.
Music Education has a wider range of options. The three programs most widely available are Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Bachelor of Science in Music Education, and Bachelor of Arts with Music Teacher Certification. While each can be the means to a successful career as a music educator, the three programs go about it in different ways. In the Bachelor of Music in Music Education, the music department retains the majority of curriculum oversight. Most of your practical education courses will be taught by music professors with music specific environments and experiences. The Bachelor of Science in Music Education still provides a core music curriculum, but the majority of education requirements are handled through the education department. In these circumstances, music teachers are spending a good deal of time with students from other disciplines in a more general methods environment. The Bachelor of Arts with Music Teacher Certification provides a general music curriculum and then tacks on enough education related coursework to meet the requirements for state teacher licensure.
Hopefully that is not an overwhelming overview! I am happy to serve as a resource if you have additional questions. At Susquehanna University we are pleased to offer a very rich musical experience at the undergraduate level. We offer Bachelor of Music in Music Performance, Music Education, and Bachelor of Arts degrees in a very well-rounded department that includes opportunities for singers and instrumentalists including a full orchestra and opera program. Being undergraduate only, students will have a wealth of opportunities throughout their four years without having to compete with graduate students for the best ensemble placements. Please be in touch if you would like more information.
Reuben Councill currently serves as Associate Director of Admissions at Susquehanna University. Prior engagements have included Executive Director for the Williamsport Symphony and Coordinator of Music Admissions also at Susquehanna. As a musician, he performs regularly as Principal Flute with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra.
If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a free 60-minute consultation. Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.