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Jennifer Louie

Some advice for high school students thinking about majoring in music performance

October 6, 2008 at 2:26 AM

I never dreamed that I would write a blog. Over the past two years, I would sit and read blogs. I made a decision to blog because I would be ask advice time and time again about the career path that I was taking. I love performing and teaching and I am thrilled that after ten years of college graduation that I am making a living as a musician in the Southeast. I cannot guarantee that the same results will apply to someone else. I decided to break the career advice in small segments.
Advice to the high school student applying for college:
1. Enjoy playing your instrument. I loved orchestra in middle and high school. I started to learn the violin in a group class in 4th grade in Seattle. I never dreamed of majoring in it in college in 4th grade. Don't worry about all-state placements or districts. Work as hard you can on your technique.
2. Talk to your private teacher and/or orchestra teacher. If you have a professional symphony member give sectionals they can also be a great source of information. They will also give you a reality check with programs.
3. Keep your grades up! While test scores are one source of factor in gaining admission to college, I have been told by music faculty of conservatories and universities that they look at grades, especially if deciding between scholarships or even admission on a probationary basis. Two of my violin teachers in college checked my transcripts before admitting me in to their programs. Excellent grades can show a teacher that you are serious and disciplined.
4. Research schools. As a general rule, private schools as well as out-of-state schools are more expensive. If your parents are saving for college find out how much they have saved. Will you have to work part-time during the year or take out student loans? I'm thinking on financial terms, because that is an area that you will deal with when you graduate.
5. Talk to your parents about your desire to major in music. Some parents will be supportive while others will not be. If your parents are hesitant about you majoring in music,(and if they are paying for college) it may be wise to attend a state/private university with a strong music program so that you can take liberal arts classes. Schools like Indiana and Oberlin for example that graduate excellent musicians or others. Don't give up on the dream of being a musician. Sometimes it takes a while for parents to see that music is what would make their child happy. You can always go to a conservatory for a master's program.
There, I have a few words for advice: Practice, Practice, Practice!" Good night.
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