Susan's mention on another thread of a gap year for kids before applying to college has me wondering about this. My daughter has always been the youngest in her class, she'll begin HS as a 13 year old. She has made great progress in the last few years, and has had increasing opportunities. But, so far, she has not been In the kind of "hothouse" environment that some people in the major hubs have. Since she would be 17 at the start of college, a gap year might be a useful thing. She is in the range of being prepared by the end of HS without it, and we are taking big steps as a family to keep things moving forward.
So just a very broad question about folks experience with this and the many forms it might take. At home, overseas, at a pre-college..... Does anybody have their own experiences or kid's experiences to share?
I have no experience with a gap year but I have quite a bit of experience with being the youngest. Having done two grades in one year in elementary school, I did not turn 18 until after completing my freshman year at Oberlin. While in retrospect I can think of strong arguments against skipping grades in general, I don’t think my college experience was damaged by my tender age.
My daughter is also one of the youngest in her grade (late summer birthday) and we haven't had any issues other than her being really small, though she just tends to be small in general. Having said that, I would not hesitate doing a gap year for her given her age if I thought it would benefit her.
Yes, I was thinking of her taking advantage of her youth to be in the best position for college auditions.
Looking now, I see the other private school has a post HS grad year, too. Which I wasn't aware of.
I skipped three grades, and my parents forced me to take a gap year after high school. I did not want to do so, since all my friends had gone off to college. It was a somewhat lonely year, largely rescued by my youth symphony and the friends I made there.
I was 17 when college started. In retrospect, a gap year would have been a great idea for me, but I wasn't in a position at the time to use it for what I would have needed, which would have been to get a lot sorted out with my mental health. So if I had very strong mentorship and structure, with certain goals of personal development, it could have done me a lot of good - I especially could have used some time to really think about what it might be I wanted to do in the world, rather than starting to slog through engineering because I couldn't think of anything.
My younger kid was a November baby and like your kid will be 17 when she starts college. She does well with music and with school, has not had any issues with maturity, and I am glad that she is only two grades apart from her older brother rather than three. Wouldn't change a thing.
It depends on why you are considering a gap year.
Stan- Not viewing it as a problem but an opportunity to further prepare for college auditions.
Matthew, I think not being in a hot-house environment during early childhood has its upsides too.
I started school a year ahead, and was nearly always the youngest in my class even while one of the taller ones, and fairly successful academically.
My Grandson's "gap year" extended from the end of his freshman college year at UC Santa Cruz until he was 25 and spent a year finishing his degree requirements (in music and film) at the New School in New York. During the intervening years he formed the "Steep Ravine Band" that performed all over the western USA and issued 3 studio CDs (in addition to my grandson's 4 solo CDs). He composed almost all the songs on those CDs (his band members did a couple of the others). (Some good stuff on YouTube - especially their "Dark Eyes").
BTW, Matt, I learned this year after watching the class above my son's go through the college audition process that the level his teacher said he needs to be at is really the "may get in to Curtis or Colburn" level. It's not the level to get into Juilliard, NEC, CIM, Eastman, Oberlin, or Indiana.
I'm guessing that all the kids in MIC are very good players, even the ones who don't reach as high of a repertoire level. I'm betting that a kid from MIC that auditions with, say, Bruch, is playing a sterling Bruch -- technically clean, musically thoughtful. (I'm faintly amused that Susan's non-serious child is playing Bruch at 12. My own son at age 6 is surrounded by 12-year-olds in his Suzuki program who are in Book 2.)
Matthew, congratulations to your daughter!
Lydia I think what you say is likely true, but the more we've looked at this, Mary Ellen's suggestion to me a while back to look at Oberlin was excellent. A third of the music students there are doing a 5-year double degree program, so unlike most places, a double degree seems to be supported and encouraged. (Bard College shares faculty with the nearby top conservatories and requires a second non-music major to study music, but I wonder if the playing level at Oberlin is higher.)
My daughter fits into the "most populous violin category of Asian and Female".:)
She could switch to percussion? :-)
We are curious about the Bard program. The school where my wife teaches has a tuition exchange program with them. Free if you can get selected. Adele Anthony and Gil Shaham among others....
They very transparently put up their student chamber music recitals and end of year solo recitals and orchestra concerts on youtube, recommend you listen.
Yes, I will look. A parent hears "free" and it gets your attention.
Application year for us, like Susan.
Eastman and University of Rochester?
Yes she has a friend going to Eastman, good suggestion. One of the teachers there pissed me off a few years ago though and I think I must have done the same :-).
A girl I know lasted less than a year at Eastman (not violin). I am not so sure if the culture at that school is for everyone.
I bet the admissions office at Bard knows who ALL their competitors are and could list them straight off.
I really like the Oberlin program, and all the kids we know there are super happy. It's top of the list for my younger kid, regardless of whether she ends up going into music or not. They have all sorts of unique programs like a 5-year performance + conducting undergrad degree (unheard of anywhere else in the US). I don't think it is the best fit for my son, but it is definitely one of the better dual-degree ones out there.
Every school has a culture that will suit some students and not suit others. Eastman is not unique in this regard.
Paul, what I meant was I had a very idyllic early childhood. My fondest memories are picking up berries with friends and playing in the wheat field during the harvest season. My recollections are probably rather romanticized but I think there is something to be said about growing up in a rural environment. I wouldn't trade my childhood experiences with my daughter's urban upbringing. I don't think my parents did it by design but it's probably the best gift my parents have given me.
It's rather common knowledge that Columbia and Harvard are fine institutions. What of Oberlin and Case? Well, Oberlin's chemistry program was mentioned -- and I want to point out that Oberlin has a truly
I have a childhood friend who did CIM/CWRU in the most brutal fashion possible -- performance + bioengineering. Took him 5 years. He worked as an engineer for a bit, went back for an MM, and went on to win a significant orchestra audition and eventually took a full-time professorship after a few years.
Paul, thanks, chem/biochem is a potential major for my daughter...enjoyed AP chem and has requested IB chem next year, specifically to make up for the missing lab time over the pandemic. I've also encouraged taking the 5-6 comp sci classes for a minor because she's good at it and because you can easily make good money with it when music isn't paying the bills :-).
Other places that have some good things going in a music school and the arts&sciences end might be Rice, Michigan, and Northwestern. Which is not to say the links are well supported.
Rice has a strong chemistry department too, but I'm less familiar with it than I am with Michigan (where my wife was a postdoc) and Northwestern (where I was a postdoc and my wife got her PhD) and Indiana (less obvious connection). Departments that award PhDs will often have particular research focus areas that are better known. One advantage of the smaller school is that basic logistics -- getting from here to there, or signing up to see your advisor -- are just a lot easier. That can be stressful when your class schedule is packed like sardines in a can and the music department is half a mile from the chemistry department, like it is at Virginia Tech, where I teach. I attended Hope College in Michigan and that was one of the joys of the smaller place. One of the drawbacks is that research opportunities are more limited, but my guess is that a chem-violin double major isn't going to be piling on a lot of research hours. A standout place like Oberlin will have easily enough opportunity to prepare students for grad school, med school, etc.
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