Piano and College Applications

Posted by: Mermanof83

Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 12:41 AM

I'm a senior in high school, which means I will in a few months be applying to colleges. I want colleges to know that I've been playing piano, and possibly get a scholarship or two from that also. But, I haven't done any music through the school, or anything else like that, so I'm not sure how I'll show colleges that I've been playing for years. Any suggestions?
Posted by: cast12

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 01:18 AM

Send a recording.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 01:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
I'm a senior in high school, which means I will in a few months be applying to colleges. I want colleges to know that I've been playing piano, and possibly get a scholarship or two from that also. But, I haven't done any music through the school, or anything else like that, so I'm not sure how I'll show colleges that I've been playing for years. Any suggestions?


Your question is not clear.

If you are planning to apply for a music "scholarship or two from [playing the piano]" (what does that mean, actually; do you think colleges give out multiple scholarships as casually as you make it sound?), then you'll have to apply for the scholarship and your musical background and audition recording will be part of that application.

If you're saying that you are hoping to get a scholarship for a program other than a musical one but that you want them to know that you've had some musical training, that, too, will come up in your application process under something like "extra-curricular activities" or "other interests."

Regards,
Posted by: beet31425

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 01:37 AM

When I applied to colleges (20 years ago, but still relevant, I imagine), I sent a recording with each application. A large "classical" piece I had worked up, some improvisation, a composition. All of this was from my private lessons, not "music through the school". Colleges like people with well-developed passions!

-J
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 03:18 AM

Originally Posted By: beet31425
When I applied to colleges (20 years ago, but still relevant, I imagine), I sent a recording....

I didn't send one.
I think that's why I got in. ha


But seriously folks smile .....

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
.....Any suggestions?

Yes. A few things.....

Is there a "college advisor" or anything like that at your school? (Most schools have them, as far as I've ever known.) Assuming there is, ask him/her the same question. Put a lot of weight on what he/she says.

Have you had a TEACHER? If so......same thing as above: ask him/her.
If you haven't.......While it's hard to generalize and there are always exceptions, I would have to guess that it would be very rare for someone to be advanced enough or well-prepared enough to have a fighting chance at what you're asking about without having done some serious work with a teacher.

Finally......Especially if neither of the above is yes, but maybe even if they are: Contact the colleges you're interested in, and ask them. I think just the fact of asking them will help get their attention, and that could be helpful -- in addition to whatever you might learn from their answers.

Good luck!
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 04:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Is there a "college advisor" or anything like that at your school? (Most schools have them, as far as I've ever known.) Assuming there is, ask him/her the same question. Put a lot of weight on what he/she says.


Sadly, most of these counselors are overworked. They each have to cover 400-600 students, check their schedules, and keep up with their academic performance. And that's on top of parent conferences and other discipline issues. A student might have to wait weeks just to get a 10-minute consultation with these bureaucrats. frown
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 04:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
possibly get a scholarship or two from that also.

Unless you are a serious music major, don't count on that.

Colleges want achievements. That's why I tell my 8th-grade piano students to start gathering data: write down every music festival they've attended, every music exam passed (level, score, and date), every competition won, etc. Get a box to collect all the certificates, medals, plaques, trophies, etc.

If you are applying to a major university, a lot of applicants play the piano or another musical instrument. It's about your experience, achievement, and other stuff that separates you from the other applicants. Have you performed with famous people? Do you play an unusual style?
Posted by: Mermanof83

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 10:40 AM

Thanks! I totally blanked on being able to send recordings! Or maybe I just assumed they didn't care about random CDs sent in with regular applications...

I'm not planning on being a music major. And don't worry, I wasn't expecting easy scholarships. But my high school career being summed up on a sheet of paper looked very sparse, and writing 'Piano' down at the bottom hardly captured the truth of the matter.

The counselors at my school (3 of them for a grand total of around 600 students) are lazy, worthless human beings. They don't have any answers when you ask them about anything, they advise against taking hard (honors and AP) classes because they will be 'difficult', and they often take their lunch break when our student lunch is...I've seen them walking off campus looking over their shoulders as if trying to avoid doing their job with as much vigor as they should be applying to their job.

But I will speak to my teacher about this, and asking colleges directly is another good idea. I just wanted to bounce this off of someone first.

Thanks again.
Posted by: oceanix

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 10:44 AM

I'm planning on applying mostly to smaller liberal arts schools (not necessarily to become a music major). All of them have separate parts on the application for a recording if you want to send that in. A couple offer smaller scholarships based on that.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 12:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
Thanks! I totally blanked on being able to send recordings! Or maybe I just assumed they didn't care about random CDs sent in with regular applications...

I'm not planning on being a music major. And don't worry, I wasn't expecting easy scholarships. But my high school career being summed up on a sheet of paper looked very sparse, and writing 'Piano' down at the bottom hardly captured the truth of the matter.

The counselors at my school (3 of them for a grand total of around 600 students) are lazy, worthless human beings. They don't have any answers when you ask them about anything, they advise against taking hard (honors and AP) classes because they will be 'difficult', and they often take their lunch break when our student lunch is...I've seen them walking off campus looking over their shoulders as if trying to avoid doing their job with as much vigor as they should be applying to their job.



I had thought that 'guidance' counselors of that sort had gone the way of the dinosaurs. Advising students to avoid 'hard classes' is a form of counseling malpractice these days.

Merman,

My son is in exactly your boat at present (rising senior applying to colleges), so we're going through the same process.

I think the common application has a supplement page that you can use to advertise your musical accomplishments. That's where you include your piano information. You can also include a formal music resumé as part of your application if that's something you wish to advertise. My son is going that route. In a page you can list your teachers, your major competitions and performances, and any other honors you have received. In addition, you should most definitely send a CD with 3-4 works on it that represent your portfolio.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 12:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
The counselors at my school (3 of them for a grand total of around 600 students) are lazy, worthless human beings. They don't have any answers when you ask them about anything, they advise against taking hard (honors and AP) classes because they will be 'difficult'

Sounds like mine! Fortunately, my high school had a "Career Center," and the lady who worked there really, really went out of her way to help us find scholarships. In fact, for one local scholarship, she gave one to the class valedictorian and one to me!
Depending on where you live, you might find a number of local organizations who give out scholarships. Those are much easier to win than the national or state ones.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 12:53 PM

Many colleges also require essays, and depending on the prompt given, you can probably work your piano background into one of those. E.g., a common essay topic is something like "Describe a time you had to work hard to achieve a goal" (and believe me, you can tell a lot about a student's priorities by the 'goal' they choose to describe!). You could talk about learning a complicated piece to play at a recital in front of 200 people or whatever.

Since you are not applying to the music program specifically, I don't know if a CD would be that helpful or even paid any attention to. I'd recommend adding in a link to a YouTube channel (if you don't have any videos uploaded, go ahead and do so) when you describe your extracurriculars, so that people reading your application over can easily look up your recordings if the CD gets lost/separated.
Posted by: Avguste Antonov

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 01:04 PM

When applying for a music scholarship, each CD is important.
I would also work on having a resume, a list of repertoire and accomplishments. And I would send all of this to the admission office and to the respective piano division director.
Then I would call the piano division director and talk to him directly.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 01:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Avguste Antonov
When applying for a music scholarship, each CD is important.
I would also work on having a resume, a list of repertoire and accomplishments. And I would send all of this to the admission office and to the respective piano division director.
Then I would call the piano division director and talk to him directly.


Yes, but if you read the OP's response, he is not applying for a music scholarship, hence Monica's response which you seemingly contradicted.
Posted by: Avguste Antonov

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 01:36 PM

He said he is not planning on being a music major

"I'm not planning on being a music major"

However, he does seem interested in a possible music scholarship with piano.
Which is where my response comes in.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 01:38 PM

... and there are indeed some schools that offer music scholarships for students who do NOT intend to pursue a music concentration. Many of those scholarships require an on-campus audition and not a submitted CD.
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 01:51 PM

Good luck with your applications, Mermanof83 Brian.

I would stay off the subject of the worthlessness of your school's academic counselors when you go to write your essay. Just saying. You seem to write well, though, and that is a good sign.

Do you have anything in mind for music in college, other than as a major or to plump up your application? A minor, perhaps? What major do you have it in mind to declare?

And (I hope), did you disregard the worthless advice and take the difficult courses anyway? How did that work out for you?

When I was your age, I was so totally clueless (and yet, convinced that I knew everything). I take it for a good sign that you're looking even this far ahead, and that you're asking for advice. Some of the people who have answered you are educators--- and don't be fooled by how simple it sounds. Once you try to do what they've suggested, it's going to take an effort to bring it forth. But that effort will show in your college applications, and it's one thing the admissions officers really have their eye out for.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 03:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
... and there are indeed some schools that offer music scholarships for students who do NOT intend to pursue a music concentration......

Really? (Are you sure?)

Really???

Sorry for the repetition smile but I find that very surprising.

I was about to be saying that I doubted he could think in terms of "a scholarship of two from [piano]" if he's not planning on (or not good enough for, or whatever) a strong concentration in music.

If there are things like what you said (and it sounds like you know what you're talking about)....it seems so odd, that I'd have to wonder if there's way more than meets the eye.

Please do tell. smile
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 03:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
....I'm not planning on being a music major. And don't worry, I wasn't expecting easy scholarships. But my high school career being summed up on a sheet of paper looked very sparse, and writing 'Piano' down at the bottom hardly captured the truth of the matter.....

How not?
Speaking of which......I don't think you've mentioned anything about how advanced or accomplished you are with piano. Reading between the lines, I was figuring you probably aren't extremely so, but this makes it seem like maybe you are.

Anyway.....putting together everything you've said on here so far, I would guess -- unless you're more advanced than I think it seems -- that your best chance is to not think in terms of "music scholarship" or "piano scholarship" per se, but to think of music as an extra thing that adds to your overall credentials, and which therefore gives you a better chance at a 'regular' scholarship.

P.S. Good job thinking about and responding to all the specific points that people are mentioning, and good to hear that you do have a teacher. When all is said and done, he/she might be THE BEST resource on this question.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 04:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
... and there are indeed some schools that offer music scholarships for students who do NOT intend to pursue a music concentration......

Really? (Are you sure?)

Really???

Sorry for the repetition smile but I find that very surprising.

I was about to be saying that I doubted he could think in terms of "a scholarship of two from [piano]" if he's not planning on (or not good enough for, or whatever) a strong concentration in music.

If there are things like what you said (and it sounds like you know what you're talking about)....it seems so odd that I'd have to wonder if there's way more than meets the eye.

Please do tell. smile


Well, Mark, here is a prime example:

Richmond Scholars Program

This one is a complete full ride to a rather expensive private institution, and it is available if you simply minor in one of the arts.

Another one is offered by Case Western Reserve University. Their "Music Achievement Awards" have in mind non-majors who want to continue their music training. This is available by on-campus audition only. I may soon be taking a trip to Cleveland for this.

Here it is: Case Music Awards

Stanford University has its "Friends of Stanford Music" that provides stipends for lessons and other scholarships for Stanford students.

You just have to look around.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 04:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
...Well, Mark, here is but a single example:

Richmond Scholars Program....


Thanks. There IS more than meets the eye. smile
I think what you said before was misleading, and might give inappropriate hope to the OP.
It's not "for" people who aren't going to major in music; as per what you just said, it merely doesn't exclude them. I think you made it sound like you were talking about programs specifically for people who won't major in it. And it looks to me like they're still talking about people who are thinking of a much more serious focus on music than the OP is indicating. I think they include mention of "minoring" mainly so top-notch candidates who aren't sure if they'll be majoring in music won't feel they can't apply for it.

Also.....continuing about there being "more than meets the eye": They say it's for people ".....with extraordinary talent...." Of course it's possible that the OP meets that, but, as per what I said (and no knock on him, because very few people would), it doesn't seem from 'reading between the lines' that he would. I wouldn't have either, so maybe I'm projecting. smile

So.....I'm left still doubting that there are music scholarship programs designated for people who don't intend to concentrate on it more than what the OP is indicating.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 04:49 PM

Well, you may think it's misleading, but I think it's something that good musicians who want to major in something else can at least try for.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 04:58 PM

P.S. It looks like the Stanford program allows more wiggle room on how "extraordinary" the person has to be, but I'd guess strongly that even for that program you have to be way up there.
Plus of course you need to meet the general requirements for Stanford, which are at the highest level.

I guess what it comes down to is, do we want to be giving advice that has only a small chance of being relevant to the OP?
I would be wary of suggesting things like this unless the person has shown or told us something that tells us he has a good chance of being in that ballpark. We don't know for sure that the OP isn't, but we haven't seen anything that remotely suggests he is -- which, as I said, is no knock on him, because most people wouldn't. When we go ahead anyway and point people in directions like this, I think we are much more likely to mislead them than to serve them well. It seems that the OP's best shot might be to view music as something that enhances his overall application and his chances for a 'regular' scholarship.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 04:59 PM

Look, I have no idea how talented or well trained the OP is. The point is that there is money out there for students who are good musicians, but who would prefer to study engineering or economics as their primary concentration. That's a fact. Who knows whether or not it's relevant to the OP. He asked whether or not money was available. It is. It's up to him to follow that golden road if he is able.

I suspect Brian is also concerned with how music as an extracurricular activity can be presented in a way that enhances his chances of acceptance. That's simple too. Use the application process to highlight your musical training, and send along a demo CD as evidence. Having talked with music faculty, I have a sense of how that process works. The admissions office sends promising CDs or DVDs over to the music department. If they are judged worthwhile, that information is conveyed back to the admissions office. The applicant can get a bit of a positive bump from that.
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 05:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I guess what it comes down to is, do we want to be giving advice that has only a small chance of being relevant to the OP?
I would be wary of suggesting things like this unless the person has shown or told us something that tells us he has a good chance of being in that ballpark. We don't know for sure that the OP isn't, but we haven't seen anything that remotely suggests he is -- which, as I said, is no knock on him, because most people wouldn't. When we go ahead anyway and point people in directions like this, I think we are much more likely to mislead them than to serve them well. It seems that the OP's best shot might be to view music as something that enhances his overall application and his chances for a 'regular' scholarship.


Why not. Feed the person as much information as possible and it's up to them to figure out which things might be relevant to their own situation. He can visit a website as quickly as you or I can to make a quick determination of whether the scholarship is appropriate for them. It's not like he's going to start booking plane trips based on some general recommendations from this forum.

Plus PD's post that you're responding to wasn't a direct response to the OP but a reply to someone else asking for specific information on a general statement (there are scholarship opportunities that factor in musical performance abilities but are not necessarily for music majors). Therefore I took PD's post not to be meant necessarily for the OP, but to address the question. I think his main point is that such beasts exist and so it's worth fishing around for some more.

I personally found the information interesting and useful and even if those specific examples don't meet the OP's needs, I don't think they were OT and should at the very least get the OP to start googling other potential opportunities.
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 05:23 PM

You'll probably just put it down in any sort of supplementary applications where you can list what you do other than schoolwork, that's how it worked for me. If you've participated in competitions, going though some kind of grading system (like RCM in Canada), that all helps to show that you've been a musician all of this time.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 08:18 PM

Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
....do we want to be giving advice that has only a small chance of being relevant to the OP?
I would be wary of suggesting things like this unless the person has shown or told us something that tells us he has a good chance of being in that ballpark....
Why not. Feed the person as much information as possible and it's up to them to figure out which things might be relevant to their own situation....

I think what I said is a good general rule for giving someone guidance: Emphasize what seems likely to be relevant. Even if doing otherwise doesn't mislead the person (which with this particular example I think it probably would), it usually fails to help point the person in a good direction.

And isn't that what we should most try to do?
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 08:29 PM

How is mentioning the existence of music scholarships for students who do not plan to major in performance a misleading approach. NOT to do so would be more misleading. Why pass a priori judgment upon what this person is capable of achieving. Why pass judgment (by self censoring) upon what other readers of this thread might be capable of accomplishing? Every reader is aware of their own situation and can use the information accordingly. If Brian's best hope is to get into a completely non-selective school, he will chuckle at my mention of 16K scholarships at Case Western Reserve. If some other reader happens upon this thread who is good enough for the Cleveland Institute, but who would prefer an engineering degree from Case while they hone their art, then I have just provided some potentially very useful information.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 08:34 PM

Because when you brought it up, you made it sound like a program geared specifically toward non-majors.

Let me emphasize (if I need to) smile .....this is all "IMO."
And I do feel strongly about it. I think too much guidance (especially maybe on internet boards) refers to the unlikely rather than the likely, and I think that misleads the person. But obviously there can be different views -- and we're seeing them here.
Posted by: Mermanof83

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 08:51 PM

I'm probably going to be majoring in engineering, and minoring in music (if those two fields are vague enough for you. I'm young, how should I know what I'm doing with my life?) so I will definitely continue studying piano in college seriously. It's the closest thing I have to a passion (and cars, but that's a whole other discussion!)

Monica, that is part of my fear, that a CD would be discarded or something along those lines. I'll have to talk to the college about that. And like Avguste mentioned, someone in the music department as well.

Jeff, I'll try to avoid insulting faculty in my essays. It will be difficult though...
Anyway, I did take plenty of advanced courses, and regret every lost hour of my free time haha. I suppose it will eventually pay off though. My test scores keep me optomistic.

As to speculations on my skill level, I'd say I'm somewhere in the broad range of intermediate to advanced. But more importantly, I have a...'knack' shall we say, for piano, and am very serious about continuing my study and would like every opportunity to do so. I wouldn't call myself extraordinary (yet, at least) but I have some potential.

Piano*Dad, you're spot on about this helping my chances of acceptance. This could help me stand out against other applicants, at least a bit. Is that standard practice for them to take all recordings sent in with applications and shift them to the music department? Because that is very reassuring...
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 08:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
I'm probably going to be majoring in engineering, and minoring in music....
....I'd say I'm somewhere in the broad range of intermediate to advanced. But more importantly, I have a...'knack' shall we say, for piano, and am very serious about continuing my study....
Piano*Dad, you're spot on about this helping my chances of acceptance. This could help me stand out against other applicants....

Great reply, Brian!
And it sounds like you have a good handle on where you are.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 09:06 PM

Mark,

What is so difficult about this:

From the Case website:

Quote:
The Music Achievement Awards scholarships are designed for students who have attained a high level of proficiency in music performance, but who do not necessarily intend to major in music. These scholarships are up to $15,700 per year for four years and are awarded by audition.


I do not understand why you are fighting so hard about the parsing of my sentence. Indeed, the scholarships of the sort I am discussing are not ONLY for engineers and sociologists. Music majors can indeed apply. But the language seems pretty clear. They are attempting to encourage non-majors to continue their study of music at a high level. Why else would they use the 'designed for ... but who' language?

Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 09:15 PM

BTW.......P.S. .....
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Is there a "college advisor" or anything like that at your school?....Put a lot of weight on what he/she says.
Sadly, most of these counselors are overworked. They each have to cover 400-600 students....

If that's anywhere near typical, obviously it's very unfortunate, and maybe part of why Brian has been sort of at a loss.

I don't think it necessarily depends on the sheer 'numbers.' In my high school class there were over 900 students (yes, per "class," not the whole school), we had just one "college advisor," and anyone who wanted this kind of attention and advice from him was able to get it. Maybe it's different now, for a lot of reasons including that more kids are going to college.

I think most of us would agree -- even without any illusions that we're going to change the world smile -- that if it's like that, it means the school needs another college advisor or two.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 09:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
...I do not understand why you are fighting so hard about the parsing of my sentence.....

I'm not. I'm certainly not parsing your sentence; I'm talking about what your emphasis seemed to be, and besides, after my initial reply, I've been just answering what people are addressing to me about it, including when you asked what I thought had been misleading.

BTW.....we do have different takes on what that Richmond program is saying, including (as I said) that I don't agree they mean to particularly encourage non-music majors about it. In any event, what is absolutely clear is that they're emphasizing that the candidates have to be "extraordinary," and I thought that was the main issue about it. To the extent that in some of my posts I've talked more about the "non-major" part of it, that was because I was trying not to talk so much about things that are personal about the OP, and anyway I do think both aspects are significant.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 09:30 PM

Quote:
Piano*Dad, you're spot on about this helping my chances of acceptance. This could help me stand out against other applicants, at least a bit. Is that standard practice for them to take all recordings sent in with applications and shift them to the music department? Because that is very reassuring...


Brian,

I really can't say for sure what constitutes standard practice. At several of the schools my son is considering, that's what he was told. I imagine that this is the general approach. How could the admissions staff, with their amateur eyes and ears, effectively judge piano performance, dance routines, violin sonatas and the like. Well, they could try, but then they would be, well, amateurish! smile
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 09:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
[...]
As to speculations on my skill level, I'd say I'm somewhere in the broad range of intermediate to advanced. But more importantly, I have a...'knack' shall we say, for piano, and am very serious about continuing my study and would like every opportunity to do so. I wouldn't call myself extraordinary (yet, at least) but I have some potential.


To put some aspects of this discussion into a more focused perspective, why not tell us some of the more recent repertoire you have studied. Have you participated in any performances? If so, with what repertoire?

Regards,
Posted by: DivaLouise

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 10:39 PM

I agree with you AZNpiano and do the same thing with my students starting in middle school.

As far as sending a recording, all of my students do when it comes time to apply to college. Over the past 5 none of my graduating seniors have gone on to be music majors, but they are attending or have graduated from great universities and colleges-Harvard, St. Andrews, U Chicago, MIT, Stanford, Yale to name just some. In that group we have future physicians, engineers, scientist...all of whom still play the piano and all sent a recording of themselves and their music bio, history etc.

Some counselors say, don't bother, but I've found that many colleges and universities like to see and hear stick-to-it-ive-ness

TakeCare, Lou
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/23/10 10:52 PM

It can't hurt to send the CD, even if (as I fear) many admissions officers won't bother to play it. Simply having it as a physical addendum to the application tells the admissions office that the applicant is serious about piano and not bluffing about being able to play.
Posted by: Mermanof83

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 12:05 AM

P*D, good point about the need for experienced eyes and ears. It's only logical that that is how they might handle it (not that the world runs on logic).

BruceD, I haven't done any performances...at least in quite some time. I started playing when I was 5 and stopped at age 11 or so, probably because I had no feel for the emotion in the music as a child. I only picked piano back up a year ago (shortly before my 17th birthday), and resumed with a teacher this summer. I've just finished a few Nocturnes (Chopin, of course) and while I am wrapping up #19, I am working on Elegie Op. 3 No. 1 by Rachmaninoff. That piece would be a good measure of my skill set...I'm not breezing through it, but it is definitely within reach. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKpUjssa3v8 if you haven't heard it. Though, I think that piano roll is a bit faster than what is humanly possible for the climax starting at 2:36!)
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 12:13 AM

Brian: I can't help noticing how well and how maturely you WRITE. You talk quite modestly about your piano level, but it looks like you're very high on some things -- I would guess you're pretty high in some other academic areas also besides writing -- and I would guess you'll be a very appealing college candidate in an overall way. Do you not think you'd be highly competitive for a "regular" scholarship? (For which, as I said, the music would enhance your chances.) And if so, why such a focus on music scholarships, which would seem to be a longer shot?

One might ask, why not try in both directions. But sometimes when you do that, it takes away from how well you can focus on the better path.
Posted by: Mermanof83

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 01:01 AM

Well thank you Mark. But it's hard not to be modest about these things when at this moment itunes is presenting me with Horowitz positively flying through the coda to Chopin's Ballade 1...and with such inspiring energy as well. There is just so far to go yet...

Yes, I am highly performing in several academic areas, but the problem is, expectations are also very high. It is extremely intimidating that the top colleges not only demand a 4.5 GPA, but you must also be captain of the football team, in leadership, drama, art, AP classes, music, as well as heavily invested in one or two extracurriculars like clubs...and on top of that, you have to have something special that stands out. You have to be a jack of all trades, and a specialist as well. Maybe I'm being unrealistic in that view, but I feel like I need everything I can get...because all I really have going for me is academics, and piano...

I probably would be competitive in a regular scholarship, but frankly, with costs of good colleges as they are, I need to be on top of my game or I'll end up with well over $100,000 in debt when I'm 23 or 24...so I will be shooting for both, to redirect this rant or ramble...whatever you may call this stress derived speech.

Judging where I'm at in terms of my level of playing, do you think I have a shot with any of this? Do you think my being able to play at this level might earn a scholarship, or be worth sending to a college?
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 01:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
....Yes, I am highly performing in several academic areas, but the problem is, expectations are also very high.....You have to be a jack of all trades, and a specialist as well. Maybe I'm being unrealistic in that view, but I feel like I need everything I can get....

Absolutely, as does just about everyone else.
All I'm saying is that it looks like you'd have a good chance for a "regular" scholarship, and that the music would help you for that, and that I didn't see why you seemed to be focusing earlier on the possibility of a "music scholarship" per se.

Quote:
....Judging where I'm at in terms of my level of playing, do you think I have a shot with any of this?....

I think I've pretty well covered that. Of course I could be wrong, but from what you've indicated, I think "music scholarship" per se would be an extreme long shot and probably a distraction from the good possibilities, like a "regular" scholarship. Even sending a CD could be a big distraction -- not the fact of sending it, but the focus on it and the time and effort that I imagine you'd be spending on preparing it. (I know how those things can be -- "sending a CD" usually involves a lot more than just "sending a CD." smile It can take over your life for a while.) I think that for your purposes, just mentioning about your music on your applications and talking about it in your interviews are likely to be sufficient and even best. But, regarding all of these things, please rely more on what people like your piano teacher and (maybe even) the college advisor might tell you.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 11:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
It is extremely intimidating that the top colleges not only demand a 4.5 GPA, but you must also be captain of the football team, in leadership, drama, art, AP classes, music, as well as heavily invested in one or two extracurriculars like clubs...and on top of that, you have to have something special that stands out. You have to be a jack of all trades, and a specialist as well.


Where did you get this info??

The last time I checked, community service still counts a lot.

I was in a similar boat in 11th grade. My counselor gave me zero info. My high school career was completely misguided. I wasted a billion hours with the pointless AP classes.

But now you have the Internet. My best advice to you would be to conduct a thorough research. Look up all the colleges you want to apply to and see what scholarships they offer. The more you research, the better you'd be informed.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 01:32 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
....you must also be captain of the football team, in leadership, drama, art, AP classes, music, as well as heavily invested in one or two extracurriculars like clubs...and on top of that, you have to have something special that stands out.....

Where did you get this info??....

I assumed it was hyperbole. smile
i.e. an exaggeration
......and that he just meant the basic point, which I think is valid.

Absolutely he needs to do what you said about checking on the internet, and for most people that would probably tell them most of what they're looking for, but I think it's doubtful that what he's wondering about would be covered there. I think most likely if he's going to be getting info directly from the colleges, it'll probably need to be from his asking.
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 01:35 PM

The concept of a 4.0 'A' being replaced with a 4.+ 'Super A,' frightening though it is, has been with us for some time now.

You're right about community service projects, though. It may not be enough to root out the totally selfish, me-first yuppie mentality rightly deplored by admissions officers (and alumni associations), but it does show some heart, and that counts for something.

One of my favorite projects over the years was helping community groups plant street trees in San Francisco. I still see some of them when I go there.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 02:16 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Mermanof83
It is extremely intimidating that the top colleges not only demand a 4.5 GPA, but you must also be captain of the football team, in leadership, drama, art, AP classes, music, as well as heavily invested in one or two extracurriculars like clubs...and on top of that, you have to have something special that stands out. You have to be a jack of all trades, and a specialist as well.


Where did you get this info??

The last time I checked, community service still counts a lot.

For the most competitive colleges, he's not far off. It's not hyperbole that some of the most selective colleges could have filled their entire freshmen classes with valedictorians and had plenty left over.

Of course a lot of students they end up admitting *aren't* valedictorians, but they have made themselves distinctive in some other way. This means more than just belonging to a lot of clubs but rather showing leadership in some setting. In other words, "volunteered 5 hours a week at a soup kitchen" is nice, but it won't help nearly as much as something like "started a community organization that collected day-old bread from supermarkets and redistributed it to homeless shelters" or the like.
Posted by: Gyro

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 02:53 PM

Here are my views on this. If you're not going to be a music major,
then I don't believe a video or audio clip is necessary. On your
application, they want to see how you write, so impress them
with a vivid written description of your piano experience.

However, your post seems to suggest that you're applying
to expensive, selective schools that you can't afford without
financial aid. This, in my experience, is a very bad idea.
The scholarship fund at such schools is limited, and so
you're likely to get only partial funding at best, which means
that someone is going to have to take out a loan for the
difference. This makes no sense in my opinion, because the
course content at any jr. college or state univ. is the same
as at the most selective schools. So the smart thing to
do is to go to the nearest state school. If you don't believe
this, then try pulling down a 4.0 at a state school. That's no
snap to do, because the course content is the same as
at the most selective schools. With a 4.0 at a state school,
you'd have your pick of grad schools.

Another option is to enter the military. You'd get free training
and then they'll pay for college when you get out. This is
such a good deal, that it is a wonder that high school
counselors don't have this at the top of their list of options
for students.

Still another option is to forget about college and go right
to work after high school. Heck, you've learned all you
need for life by about the eighth grade anyway. As for what
to go into, in my opinion, carpentry can't be beat (you
can build your own house). The Bible is supposed to
have many words of wisdom for people, and I think it's no
coincidence that Jesus was a carpenter. You think maybe
they were trying to tell you something there?


Posted by: BruceD

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 03:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
The concept of a 4.0 'A' being replaced with a 4.+ 'Super A,' frightening though it is, has been with us for some time now.
[...]


... and the result of this is that so many high school teachers, their departments and even some entire schools are blatantly involved in "grade inflation."

There's something to be said for some European countries which have "national standard" examinations for college/university entrance rather than individual high school transcripts.

Regards,
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 03:39 PM

Gyro, I actually agree with a lot of what you just said. An excellent education can be obtained at many institutions other than the most highly selective ones, and there is much to be said for finishing one's degree with a light or nonexistent debt load. I would in any case urge Brian to apply widely to schools with a wide range of selectivity, just so that he will have plenty of options when the time comes to choose a college.

That being said, there are at least two benefits to selective schools that you don't get with a lesser-name, state school:

1.) A group of higher-achieving and more academically motivated peers at the more selective institutions. I like to say that the brightest students I see at UK are just as bright as the ones I have known from Ivy League universities. But they are the exception, not the norm, and I know from personal experience that a lot of my honors students have been disappointed in the quality of class discussions and their peers here. A couple have even transferred in search of a more intellectual environment. College is so much more than just the content of classes; it's also what you learn from your peers. It's hard to foster an intellectual atmosphere at a party school. frown

2.) Prestige still matters in the real world--more than it should, undoubtedly--but it matters. This is less of an issue if you intend to go onto graduate or professional school, but if the B.A. is the terminal degree, you'll have more options coming from a selective institution, all other things being equal, than a generic State U.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Gyro
Here are my views on this. If you're not going to be a music major, then I don't believe a video or audio clip is necessary.....impress them with a vivid written description of your piano experience.....

That might be the first thing we've ever agreed on. ha

Very well said. I hadn't thought of that, even though I talked about his fine writing.....but that's right on. Seeing how beautifully he writes, I think he would be better advised to focus on writing a nice little bit about his music (which shouldn't be too hard) than on doing a CD. Of course this assumes he'd be going for a "regular" scholarship rather than a music one.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Gyro, I actually agree with a lot of what you just said.....

Yeah -- how about that, folks?? ha

(Me2, but not necessarily most of the stuff about higher education.)
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:27 PM

I guess the piano faculty member at Duke who specifically suggested to us that we send in a music CD or DVD was just kidding around. She said that those materials are sent from the admissions office to the music department for evaluation. If the relevant professors like what they see, they send their opinion back to the admissions office and that applicant's chances of being accepted go up. This has nothing to do with whether or not that applicant is interested in a music concentration.
Posted by: Mermanof83

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:30 PM

Oh lovely. I'd forgotten about community service.

Gyro, the problem is, any school I go to, be it state or UC or ivy league, I will need financial aid to afford. Expensive, selective schools actually have decent need-based aid, so the difference in cost won't be as bad as you might think. And as Monica said, the quality of your peers is crucial, and having a B.A. at an ivy league school, or a top performing public school, matters a lot. You might have a B.A. in liberal arts, but if you got it from Harvard, you have more opportunities just because of the prestige. You pay for the name, but after, people pay you for the name on your resume. And just thinking about only going to school with the top 10% of students brings a smile to my face...

I've genuinely considered the military option, but after several years of planning on joining the military, I finally decided it wouldn't be for me. I also don't want to get a leg blown off in Afghanistan.

Lastly, after seeing how my parents live, I've decided college is necessary. Having a good job that allows some free time, as well as free money to spend on your passions is crucial in life.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:35 PM

Actually, it's likely cheaper for someone from a poorer background to go to Harvard than it is to go to Virginia Tech, provided you can get in.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
I guess the piano faculty member at Duke who specifically suggested to us that we send in a music CD or DVD was just kidding around.....

I had thought it was quite possible you were sort of 'projecting' from your son's situation in your input on this thread (which would be understandable), and I think that sort of confirms it.

Nothing I've said here pertains to anyone like your son, who is a totally different story. I've made it clear again and again (or at least tried to) that I'm targeting my input to what the OP is indicating about his situation.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:50 PM

Quote:
Nothing I've said here pertains to anyone like your son, who is a totally different story.


Why? That piano faculty member knew nothing in particular about him. Just that he was another kid interested in Duke who happened to want to study piano on the side. She had not heard him play. Her advice was applicable to anyone.

I imagine the standards at a place like Yale, which has an embedded music school, may be different than the standards at universities like Duke that have no performance majors at all. Yes, there are some very fine universities that have music departments, but NO performance major. Heck, I teach at one. A student who is a decent instrumental player has a leg up on admission. And I don't think they have to be God's Gift to Juilliard to qualify. Well, that's because most of God's Gifts to Juilliard are AT Juilliard (or Curtis).

Yes, I will agree that your CD needs to stand out. A hacked out Chopin Etude is unlikely to advance one's cause. The OP will make that judgment for himself. But my advice is not really tailored to the OP. It's general advice for anyone reading this thread. There is mileage in sending in a CD if you can do a more than creditable job.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:53 PM

Piano*Dad: Maybe we should stop tussling on this. In general we are quite like-minded on most things but for whatever reason, we're butting heads here. I have a different take on the interchange you're referring to from Duke, but I don't think we'd get any further trying to reason that out than we have on the rest of this. Suffice to say, I think what was advised for your son (and which quite obviously is good advice for him) would not be good advice for our OP.

Our guy can clearly see what our differing views are. I'm confident he can sort them out as he sees fit.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:56 PM

Yeah, I just edited my post above in a way that narrows the differences.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 10:58 PM

....and I edited mine a little too. smile

Your son truly is "extraordinary" (no buttering-up intended) ha and I think that even if some admissions officer (or whomever) hasn't heard any of his playing, the way the question is presented to him/her will usually convey a lot of the picture. I think the person who gave you the advice most likely did have some impression.
Posted by: Mostly

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/24/10 11:43 PM

That's all really interesting from my point of view.
I didn't major in piano performance first, and came back to it when I was finished with my first cursus. Sadly in France, the Conservatoire national has an age limit (21 y o), as do most schools, so I had to go to a private school - meaning much more expensive. Also, most of my friends are a few years younger and play better (it does count when some 19 years old play better than you. I still handle my liquor better though.) I definitly recommand starting with the non-professional cursus if your parents can support it (I guess I mean majoring in piano for you ?)
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/25/10 01:48 PM

The information provided by Piano*Dad is very useful although some of it is generated from a sample with a size of one. In some universities, whenever the admission office receives a CD or DVD, the recording is forwarded to the music department. Because ex ante one cannot tell whether the university that you apply to will forward your recording to the music department for evaluation, you should send in the recording if you think that will enhance your likelihood regardless of whether you are preparing to be a music major or not.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/25/10 04:26 PM

Some quick thoughts:

Every college/university is different.
Every year's entering class is different.

laugh
Posted by: oceanix

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/25/10 04:35 PM

A lot of the schools I'm applying to are interested in whether or not you play an instrument, even if you aren't a music major. The music department will still want you to participate, etc. I'm applying to smaller liberal arts schools, and all of them have an application supplement for things like this. As far as I'm aware, the music department listens to these, then makes recommendations to the Admissions Committee as to who they want admitted. Schools with music scholarships will also take care of that.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/25/10 05:56 PM

Quote:
The information provided by Piano*Dad is very useful although some of it is generated from a sample with a size of one.


Yes, my Duke example is indeed a single data point, but my use of that example is just the usual anecdote to make a point. As Oceanix also knows, and as I pointed out earlier with information about 'arts supplements' to applications, there exists a wide set of schools out there that are indeed interested in the artistic accomplishments of their applicants. This is for multiple reasons. Some of them want that bassoon player for the orchestra this year and many will not care if that bassoon player wants to be a music major. Others just consider music along with other extracurriculars as signals of a well-rounded contributor to the quality of the freshman class.

This is a longish way of saying that Kriesler is right:

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Every college/university is different.
Every year's entering class is different.


You don't know what that college will value this year, and strong signals that you have musical talent will not hurt your chances.
Posted by: Avguste Antonov

Re: Piano and College Applications - 08/25/10 10:01 PM

At the end of the day, if one hopes to get any type of money from the music department, send a recording, a resume listing your accomplishments (anything from church playing to retirement homes)and talk to the head of the piano department.