What Options Do You Have If You Don't Get Into Your Chosen Music School?
After practicing a musical talent for years, it’s every young person’s dream of getting accepted into a top music school. Attending the right school is a very important aspect of building a long and successful career in the performing arts. Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Berklee, Yale Music College, and many others are inundated with tens of thousands of music auditions every year from outstanding high school students – hoping to make their break in the world of music.
It takes a huge amount of time, talent, and the right connections to secure a coveted spot in one of the best music colleges in the world. Yet, every semester countless deserving students get rejected from their chosen music school. If you have found yourself in this predicament, try not to take it personally. Many music programs have limited seats and once they are filled, students must wait until the next semester to try again. Acceptance into music programs can be highly subjective, depending on the instructors who decide the suitability of every student they encounter. In other words, it may not be about your ability at this time.
So, what can you do if you did not get into your chosen music school at this time? A solid career in music starts with earning a well-rounded education in many aspects of the humanities, therefore a student must take action now to secure a bright future. Here are some suggested steps to take:
Attend a semester at a community or state college
There are a wide range of perfectly wonderful music programs available at the local and state level. In fact, many of the top music professors teach at both private and state schools. You are likely to be exposed to adjunct instructors who are performance artists in their own rights willing to teach you while you wait for a spot in your preferred school. You can also get prerequisites out of the way at a community or state college.
Work at a music festival this summer
Nothing can compare to the experience of working with classically trained, famous musicians from around the world. Volunteer or land a paid position as a musician’s assistant for a classical or jazz festival this summer. Or work as a stage hand or music technician. This will expose you to the business side of the music world, which is valuable insight you will have for the rest of your life as a performing artist. You could meet some influencers in the music world who have the connections you need to get into your desired school at the end of the season.
Land an internship with a symphony, playhouse, or choir
Each year, there are opportunities for young people to intern with community symphonies, playhouses, and choirs. Consider the unpaid and voluntary internship programs at Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the San Francisco Orchestra, for example. Learn about all the areas of music performance, including stage production, all while earning valuable college credits and connections with world-class musicians, actors, singers, and other professionals who can help propel you into career success.
Head to the school as a non-music major
Another way you can still stay focused on your goals of getting into your choice of music schools is by attending as a non-music major for the first semester. This is an often forgotten method that has worked for some people. You may be able to go as a student of music administration, songwriting, touring and management, music education, or a gamut of other complimentary career paths. During this time, get tutored by the instructors there and prepare to impress during your next audition. Then you will be able to switch majors and pursue your performance goals.
Whatever you do, never give up the hard work that has gotten you this far. Keep performing as often as possible. Spend some time exploring other areas of the arts, which can inspire your music career. Use your social influence to build a strong fan base in music. Head to coffee bars and clubs to perform for the community. Connect with your peers through meetups and networking groups. Produce some recordings of your best work. Collaborate, perform, and learn from current music students as well as other performance artists. Keep dreaming, working hard, and pursuing your career goals.
By following the above tips, it may be possible to land a spot in a top music school of your choice. Now may be a time for you to do some extra learning about life while you perfect your skills. You’ll be wiser, more mature, practiced, and ready for when the right time comes.