This article provides information for people who are interested in enrolling in a music school. Typically, most people believe that the ability to make music is only for those who have natural talent, but the truth is music school is not about singing or playing instruments alone; music can be taught as well! This is because music has universal appeal and has always been one of the ways in which human beings express themselves. Read on to find out more about how to enroll in a music school.
Types of programs and degrees
Standard curriculum in a music school includes the following:
- Musical theory
- Singing and instrumental training in various genres
- Basics of performance
- Creating music – lyric writing, composition
- Recording – studio and live
- Sound engineering
- Technical expertise
Students who want to follow a career in music can choose from a variety of programs such as degrees, diplomas or certificates. Most music schools in the US offer a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor degree, in addition to numerous diploma and certificate courses.
Choosing a school
Most colleges and universities have some kind of music program in addition to other subjects, while there are a few institutions which are dedicated to music alone. Before picking a school/college for enrollment, check whether the institution has obtained the necessary certification/accreditation to offer music study programs. In the US, the accredited agency for music is the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
Preparation prior to enrolment
If you or your child has a serious interest in pursuing a full-time career in the music industry, it makes sense to start prepping for enrolment as early as possible, beginning with high school. Listed below are some helpful guidelines on pre-enrolment preparation:
- Participate in any school-organized music programs such as the choir, after-hours music clubs, school band, etc.
- Sign-up for classes which can provide a basic foundation for future music study, depending on the classes offered in your school. For example, music appreciation, performing arts, media studies, etc.
- Look for music-related activities available in your local community, which you can participate in after school or during weekends and holidays. Here, you will also be able to interact with professionals in the music business, who can offer valuable advice on your future plans. Taking this one step further, sign-up for holiday music camps or volunteer to work on forthcoming musical events in your town or city.
- Prepare an audition tape of your performance, since most institutions list this as an important criterion in securing admission.
- Research and gather any and all information related to music – industry news, developments, statistics, etc. Armed with information, you can be well-prepared for the enrolment process, which includes interviews, group discussions, etc.
Completing the enrolment process
The following is a step-by-step guide to completing the enrolment process:
- Review a list of schools/colleges and other institutions that offer music programs. This will depend on the kind of program you want to pursue, i.e. degree or diploma or certificate.
- Once you have a shortlist of potential institutions, gather information about their music study programs. You can do this by visiting the institutions in person or attending ‘open house days’; speak to former alumni or current students for their feedback; check out the material available online, from the institution’s website and other resources which grade such institutions.
- Apply to the school(s) of your choice, and complete the necessary paperwork. Have your audition tape ready and prepare for the interview.
To get into the music school of your choice, you need to ensure that you score well in high school, have a decent SAT score, good communication skills, both verbal as well as written, provide evidence of active participation in extracurricular activities, etc.
Once you ensure that you have the necessary prerequisites in place, enrolling in a music school becomes easy!