Should I submit arts supplement to Harvard?
I am planning to apply to Harvard later this year, and I was think about submitting an arts supplement along with the rest of my application.
Any idea of the rough standard of violinists who submit arts supplements? I read somewhere that in order to be competitive and evaluated favourably by the Harvard Music Faculty members, one has to play on the level needed to get into Julliard and NEC. If this is true, will recordings of Ysaye's Obsession and Brahms' Sonata No. 3 (4th movt) be of a comparable level?
The reason why I am unable to submit a concerto movement or showpiece is the lockdown restrictions in my country, which means that it will be impossible to do a recording with an accompanist in the next few months at least (the Brahms 3 is an old recording)
Considering the circumstances, I think solo Bach would be a better choice than either Ysaye or Brahms. A couple of movements from the G minor Sonata perhaps. Good luck with your application.
> Any idea of the rough standard of violinists who submit arts supplements?
Thanks for the responses!
@Frieda I meant anyone who decides to apply
@Frieda when you say "nationally competitive", does that also to international applicants like me from other countries?
What is an arts supplement?
Basically, when you apply to a US college, you are allowed to submit a supplementary portfolio. For instance, you can submit a portfolio of art, or recordings of your playing, or a book of poetry, or things along those lines.
Thanks for the advice Lydia! Yes I do have some recordings of unaccompanied Bach, Mozart 5, and the Brahms d minor, but none of them really demonstrate my technical standard at the moment.
On a separate note, Princeton's arts supplement requirements state that chamber ensemble recordings can be submitted if there is "a prominently featured solo". Does Arensky's Piano Trio (4th movt) fit this requirement?
For a virtuosic work, I wouldn't worry about accompaniment.
Stella Chen, a former Harvard/NEC program student, won first place in last year's Queen Elizabeth competition. She was a psychology major at Harvard. https://stellachen.com/
@Lydia oh wow that is sure impressive! If every year there are a few potential Queen Elisabeth Competition winners submitting arts supplements to Harvard, perhaps I should just give up the prospect of submitting my recordings already haha
Maybe I'm too idealist but I say let the colleges get to know you and if violin is a big part of your life then why not?
Frieda, great to have someone so knowledgeable on this forum, just curious, are you a violin faculty somewhere, or something of that kind? (Your v.com bio info is empty.) Sorry to be curious, just ignore my question if you think it's none of our business :-)
You don’t need to be a future Queen Elisabeth winner to submit a supplement and get into Harvard. It’s an academic institution and not Curtis. You’ll be judged on your grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, personal essay, and teacher recommendations.
It cannot hurt to submit a recording. It will show that you are not just a bio medical nerd.
I know a violist who applied to Princeton, was borderline academically, and was about a Book 6 level and viola got her in. You never know. I really think it can't hurt to submit it.
And if you are a wizard at an instrument they might really need a player for -- bassoon, for instance -- your odds of getting in and getting a scholarship will be much higher (though they might ask you to commit to playing in the orchestra). If you're not a music major, be wary of how many hours a week such commitments end up being. (Sometimes it can be better to get a job, money-wise.)
Also, to answer the question about whether the Arensky trio would be appropriate, it's probably OK. (The first movement would probably work better.) They just want to know how you play. There are applicants who send in videos of themselves playing somewhere in the violin section of a chamber orchestra, or like being the 4th violinist in the Mendelssohn Octet. I think they're trying to steer people away from that.
Strictly speaking, most liberal arts schools in the US don't do merit scholarships. Conservatories and trade schools, yes. But until recently, it was considered infra dig for ladies' and gentlemen's schools to compete beyond giving financial aid to those who needed it.
Bruce wrote, "It cannot hurt to submit a recording. It will show that you are not just a bio medical nerd."
Sometimes by implication they wonder not only if you're going to play in the orchestra but if you're going to be enthusiastic enough to also do other musical things on campus -- to go play in the pit orchestras, to play chamber music for fun, to participate in talent shows or intramural music, to volunteer to teach music to kids in the outreach program, and so forth.
When I applied to Yale undergrad, I sent in supplemental recordings. I have no way of knowing whether those helped me get in, but I'm sure they didn't hurt. If my memory serves, I either sent in some movement(s) of Bach Violin Sonata in D Minor or the 1st movement of the Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No 5. With academic schools, quality is the most important thing and far outranks quantity. Overall, I'd just say that you should send in a tape that you feel represents you well. It doesn't have to be top-tier conservatory-level, but it should show the music faculty that you can hold your own as an instrumentalist and have something unique to offer.