Seniors pursue careers in music

October 10, 2013 — by Gwynevere Hunger

For most seniors the common application and school-specific supplements are their most hated enemies. However, in the music quad, some students have a whole different set of complaints. Applying to a music conservatory requires a completely different application process than applying to a regular college. 

For most seniors the common application and school-specific supplements are their most hated enemies. However, in the music quad, some students have a whole different set of complaints. Applying to a music conservatory requires a completely different application process than applying to a regular college. 
“Applying to a music conservatory is different in that they require something called Pre-Screening,”said senior Vivian Wang, a talented piano player who has been playing since kindergarten. “It is a system in which the schools require you to upload video or audio files of your performances.”  
The standard application includes four different videos, usually one piece from each of four different musical time periods, a musical resume and a repertoire.
 Another contributing factor to the application’s difficulty is the deadline. While the regular common application is due on Jan. 1 for most colleges, the pre-screening application is due on Dec. 1 using online application systems such as Unified Apps and Decision Desk.
 Along with academic materials such as transcripts, a resume, letters of recommendation and essays, music students are also required to have an audition playing their their main musical instrument. 
“Since conservatories emphasize evaluating your musical career, they don’t decide your acceptance solely based on your academic performance,” Wang said. 
For some students, devoting their entire college to music can be a little too much to handle. An alternate path incorporating both music and academics in college is to apply to a music school within a university. 
Senior Lauren Casey-Clyde, a drum major for the marching band who plays the euphonium since fifth grade said the main reason she’s applying to universities over conservatories is to have the option to study a minor in something not music related. 
As music majors, students are part of the collegiate music program within the regular university. Music majors take the same general education classes as non-music students, allowing them to be well-rounded in both music and academics. Students practice their instruments in their free time.
“You’re expected to practice as much as a couple classes would take and that can be the majority of ‘study time,”’ Casey-Clyde said. 
The main difference in the application process between a music conservatory and music school is the audition. At a conservatory, the musical audition is very rigorous and competitive, restricting the choice of audition pieces to only a few composers and time periods. On the other hand, students at a university choose pieces that prove their own musical worth to set them apart from other musicians.
Wang will be performing musical pieces composed by Bach, Mozart, Lecuona and Chopin at her conservatory auditions.
“These pieces were picked because they allow me to show my interpretation skills of different musical genres,” Wang said. “All the pieces really just offer plenty of different aspects of my musicianship that will hopefully represent me well at the live auditions.”
Regardless of whether a student is applying to a conservatory or a university, pursuing music as a career requires uncompromising dedication.
“It’s all about practicing and perseverance,” Wang said who is applying to only two conservatories out of her whole college list.  “I admit being a musician can be a little anti-social in that so much time is sacrificed in sitting at the instrument and perfecting whatever piece you are playing.” 
Although playing an instrument may be tedious and time-consuming, the end result after years of practice can be rewarding. 
 “In the end, if music really speaks to you, it doesn't hurt to go for it,” Wang said. 
 
 
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