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#355210 - 11/14/07 06:43 PM Lawrence
T.S.R. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/06
Posts: 231
Loc: Chicago, IL
Hey guys! I'm back after some time being inactive. Some of you may or may not remember my plan that I devised this year. I was a junior in the beginning of this year, but I switched to a senior division and I am not graduating this year.
The issue was whether or not to take a year off. I have decided that I'm going to take a year off while taking a few community college classes that might just transfer in the future.
I came into contact with a representative from Lawrence University, who said that the conservatories will demand more of me if I'm out of high school already, as opposed to being in school while auditioning. He also said that there are less spots available for transfer students at ANY conservatory (odd), he also said that they have a shortage of pianists at Lawrence (another thing that seemed odd), so I was wondering whether he was just trying to convince me to go there? I mean, the conversation was nice, but why would it matter to the college whether I have a high school diploma right before I enter or a year before I enter? I mean I'm skipping a year to entirely devote myself to the piano!

So, being in doubt, I called up a local (not my own) teacher whom I knew, and he said that that is absolutely ridiculous and that people have tried multiple times to get in and it doesn't really matter whether I go right now or in a year. He also said (knowing my abilities) that I am not ready for the top notch auditions and that I'm going to need to need the time to work on the repertory and my pianism in general.

The other guy seemed to stress the fact that their approach was that they're looking for teachability not raw talent.

I don't think I'm as extreme as all these crazy brutal serious kids out there (at least not yet). I definitely need an atmosphere that is competitive but that most importantly fosters my growth technically and musically!

So, now, what is the best?
A) Taking the year off, as intended, taking a few community college classes, and getting down to practicing 5 hours a day, then applying to many schools including the top conservatories?
B) Taking the year off, not taking any classes, playing all day, then applying to conservatories?
C) Not taking a year off, applying to all those schools now, doubting my ability to get in, but taking the chance anyway.
D) Not taking a year off, go wherever I get accepted and disregard the top conservatories?

My financial situation, is, as for most, a factor here. If a school would like to recruit me, I wouldn't mind that, but I would love it if I went to one of those legendary places too. Can I have my cake and eat it too?

I received my ACT score back today. I got a 30. What do I do with that, and will it help with scholarships? (I intend to take just one more retake and get a 32-33)
Sorry for the long post, thank you for your input!

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#355211 - 11/14/07 06:45 PM Re: Lawrence
T.S.R. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/06
Posts: 231
Loc: Chicago, IL
I also forgot to say staying in Chicago remains a factor because I work here as a church organist, which gives me a supplementary and substantial income. What is the quality I can achieve here v.s. out-of-state, and should I worry that much about the financial situation?

#355212 - 11/14/07 10:50 PM Re: Lawrence
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13739
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think it depends on what you are looking for in a school and a degree. Some schools are excellent but they're big and competitive, and you may get lost. Other schools are smaller and will give you much more attention, but there's less competition. Sometimes this is good, sometimes, not so good, all depends on your personality. What's the degree for? To learn as much as you can, or to get the piece of paper in hopes that it will get you better paying jobs?

I'm of the opinion that the degree itself doesn't matter much, as long as you can play well, unles you plan on teaching, in which case having the degree helps. But no one will hire you because of your degree. They'll hire you because you play well and you're a hard worker.

Do you currently have a teacher? I highly recommend you go with your first or second option, but do so with a teacher who can prepare you for audtiions at whatever schools or conservatories you wish to apply to. You don't want to audition and feel as though you're not fully prepared. Just my thoughts.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#355213 - 11/15/07 05:09 PM Re: Lawrence
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13827
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Taking a year off is usually a red flag. Most students who enter late do so because they had problems, not because they wanted to better themselves independently before auditioning.

However, I suspect the person from Lawrence is trying to recruit you. (And why not - a year of lessons in a university atmosphere will probably be better than a year of lessons by themselves.)

That's actually what I ended up doing. I wasn't good enough after high school to really play as well as I wanted, but I went on to college anyway and spent 5 years getting my bachelor's degree. (Naturally, it made sense to me since I went to college in my home town and had a FANTASTIC teacher for those 5 years.)

And although I can't speak for most schools, my guess is that if you play a great audition, nobody will care what you did the year before. They'll probably ask, but then you say "Well, I had a great teacher and felt like another year would really help me. It did, and now I'm here!"

I wouldn't recommend more than a year off, though. You might start to look a little flaky, especially if your audition isn't excellent. (They'll wonder what you've been doing the last two years...)

Originally posted by Tomasz Robak:
I mean, the conversation was nice, but why would it matter to the college whether I have a high school diploma right before I enter or a year before I enter? I mean I'm skipping a year to entirely devote myself to the piano![/b]
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#355214 - 11/16/07 12:29 PM Re: Lawrence
terminaldegree Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3492
Loc: WI --> GA
Sounds also to me like they were trying to do some recruiting (not that there's anything wrong with that, I am trying to do some myself as we speak).

I would advise you to listen primarily to whomever would be your major teacher or the keyboard division chair, and also unsolicited advice from current music students. Conversely, I treat the admissions department and their representatives with a healthy dose of skepticism-- sort of like listening to a piano manufacturer's marketing department: often "long" on talk and "short" on really helpful information/facts/firsthand knowledge. [Yes I know I'm a cynic]
Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer

#355215 - 11/17/07 01:04 AM Re: Lawrence
DaWF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/05
Posts: 233
Loc: Wisconsin

Lawrence is where I am looking to study for my undergrad too. From what I've seen it's pretty tough, but a great environment to study your craft. Kim is supposed to be a great teacher too, so that would be good for you.

It might be better just to get in right away, you know? If you got a 30 on your ACT you should be accepted, I would think.

I don't know where you are lit. wise, definately email the prof.

#355216 - 11/17/07 03:36 PM Re: Lawrence
SillySushiBear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/05
Posts: 29
Hey, Lawrence was my first choice school last year!! I loved it, but ended up going elsewhere for the money. Thoughts on the ACT: I know Lawrence has a policy of not looking at test scores if you feel that it doesn't reflect your ACT. However, you should be golden with the 30 anywhere except the Ivies. The scholarships will be basically the same for 30 and up usually, unless it's a private school, and perfect scores often get more money. I know when I was auditioning everywhere, my ACT and GPA invariably came up at the auditions, and I got the feeling it helps decide between students with equally good auditions. For the school I'm at now, the piano department gave me a lot of money not just based on the audition but because I had a high ACT and a high GPA as well.

If I were you, I'd go with A or B. I know that I'm improving rapidly just being able to take music classes and listening to performances fairly often.


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