College Admissions

Edited: November 13, 2020, 3:28 PM · Hello again,

I posted at the beginning of last summer seeking advice regarding pursuing a BA in Music or BM in violin performance. After much thought, long talks with my violin teacher, other mentors and many sample lessons from conservatory and university violin professors, I decided to go for violin performance.

The good news is that I have already been accepted into a few universities but I won't know about my acceptance into their music programs until after I submit the music application, pre screening videos, and do the actually playing audition and interviews.

A somewhat negative thought occurred to me though.... What if I don't get excepted in to the music school even though I've been accepted into the university?

My violin teachers tells me to stop worrying and thinks I'll do fine, and thinks only two of the schools on my list out of ten are a bit of a "reach"

But still I wonder what would happen? Maybe some of you or your students have been in such a dilemma?

This is a very exciting, yet stressful time for me!

Replies (9)

Edited: November 10, 2020, 4:43 PM · Do your best and that's that. First year acceptance is generally very high. At least at the University of Toronto (where I study), it seems that the skill level amongst first years spans from virtuoso to Vivaldi A minor.

Maybe a little hyperbolic, but a lot of people made it in.

Edited: November 10, 2020, 10:01 PM · If you are applying to ten programs and get accepted into none of them, that will tell you a lot about your possible future in music.

At that point, you could simply take your existing acceptances and pursue another path, or you could take a gap year and try to re-apply next year.

But I would relax. Given your previous posts, it sounds like you're a great candidate.

Edited: November 11, 2020, 1:19 AM · I agree with Lydia. I realize this is a very stressful time but the odds are in your favor.

Another possible worst case scenario option is to enroll in one of the universities you have been admitted to and take secondary lessons as an elective in preparation for auditioning again. That’s exactly what one of my daughter’s friends did at Indiana. She did not get into Jacobs as a freshman, but she enrolled in the University and re-auditioned successfully in the spring.

November 11, 2020, 5:17 AM · Lydia and Mary Ellen have given great advice -- every university has certain gen-ed requirements in addition to your major so if you are not accepted into the music performance program as a freshman you can use that year to fulfill many of the gen-ed requirements while taking violin lessons with one of the violin faculty and re-audition in the Spring to get into the program for your sophomore year. With the gen-ed requirements out of the way freshman year you'll be able to focus more on the B.M. requirements.

But also relax -- your teacher seems confident that you will pass the auditions for at least some of the schools so you should feel good about your chances.

Please keep us posted as to how the auditions go!

November 11, 2020, 4:35 PM · Yes, I need to relax! I guess since I starting to get acceptance letters from the Universities, and I haven't even auditioned yet, I wondered what would happen if I didn't pass the audition. I wasn't even sure if the Universities would give me a chance to take my "basics" and try out again the following year if I didn't pass. I'm just stressed out, but I am certain I'll make it in somewhere. I've been told the violin performance major acceptance rate range from about 10% to 70% depending on the school. The next several months are going to be agonizing!
November 12, 2020, 6:13 AM · Once a university has accepted you, you're in as a student if you choose to attend and can pay the bills. If you're concerned about whether you'll pass the audition or not and wondering whether you could re-audition during your freshman year for acceptance into the B.M. program the following year the only way to know for sure is to ask the music department of whichever universities you are considering attending.

One word of advice in entering a program -- find out if any of them have courses on business aspects of being a violin performer. Things like taxes, pricing your services when asked how much you charge for various things, record-keeping, copyright issues are all things which many schools fail to teach and once out in the field trying to make a living as a performer people are left to scramble for information about, often after they've run into trouble. If any of the schools require such a course as part of a B.M. in performance I would heavily suggest considering attending that school, all other factors such as quality of teaching and quality of the ensembles being equal (or just about equal).

If none of the schools offer that sort of course, then while you're still an undergraduate find out as much as you can about such things, either by doing research online and in the library or by consulting various professors both in the music department as well as in the business department of whatever university you attend.

Edited: November 12, 2020, 7:17 AM · If you're thinking you'll attend some university and just start taking "business courses" because you think that might be good for you, be careful. Many such courses are restricted to those majoring in a business area. But I'll support David's advice that you really just need to ask questions and get official answers from an admissions advisor or the music department's director of undergraduate programs (usually a faculty member), or their designee (usually a staffer). One thing you can always do is double-major in violin performance and accounting (or marketing or finance, etc.) and then just drop which ever major does not work out for you. It's a good strategy as long as you don't wait until your grades are in the tank (or your fingers are falling off) to make the tough call.
November 12, 2020, 7:50 AM · “One word of advice in entering a program -- find out if any of them have courses on business aspects of being a violin performer.“

While I assume such courses can be useful—they did not exist when I was a student— I would not consider the absence of one to be a dealbreaker. Anyone intelligent enough to learn to play an instrument at a high level is intelligent enough to pick up the necessary record keeping, marketing, copyright, tax, etc., knowledge without too much extra trouble. There’s always Google (which also did not exist when I was starting out as a young professional, and yet I managed to pick up what I needed to know).

November 14, 2020, 10:46 AM · More useful are courses that cover entrepreneurship, I suspect -- less vocational skills, and more thinking about market positioning, your audience, effective business communications (including advertising), etc.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

House of Rosin
House of Rosin

Holiday Shopping Business Directory
Holiday Shopping Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

ARIA International Summer Academy

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine