Don't want to be musician but want to stay involved in music

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Don't want to be musician but want to stay involved in music
By Theo (Theo) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 04:06 pm: Edit

I play violin. I don't want to be a music major, yet I want to go to a college that has a music program and ensemble I can join, but not somewhere where the program is so good that I won't be able to make it, or I'll be overwhelmed. I'm not an amazing prodigy, it's more of a hobby. Does anyone have any suggestions?

By Shennie (Shennie) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 04:31 pm: Edit

You should look for midsize to large schools that are not particularly well known for producing a lot of music performance majors but also have an orchestra program. Smaller schools may not have orchestra, although some have excellent ones. Avoid schools with well known conservatory type programs such as Oberlin, Northwestern, Rice, etc. The other thing you want to look at is the quality of the orchestra at schools you are considering and what your expectations are. My son is a violist who plays in a very good youth orchestra. He, too, wants to continue to play his instrument but not major in music. He wants to play in a group that is close to or better in quality than his youth orchestra. We have talked to lots of kids from our youth orchestra who have gone off to schools and been disappointed with the quality of the school orchestra. These are usually small schools. However, if you will be happy playing in any kind of orchestra then any school with an orchestra program should be suitable.

Also, depending on your talent, you may be able to use your skill to get some scholarship money from a school that wants to have a decent orchestra but doesn't offer music performance as a major. You also want to ask schools if their orchestra is open, if it is audition only, or if it is only open for majors. A large school will offer several options. Hope this helps.

By Lookn4norml (Lookn4norml) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 12:19 pm: Edit

I am interested in this issue as well-D plays bassoon-not professional level or music major-is keeping involved w/ it possible? Do groups travel too much to keep grades up or accommodate classwork if non major? Looking for "not extremely" liberal or huge, East Coast locale-south of NYC, north of Carolinas.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 12:57 pm: Edit

Try Lawrence University in Wisc. It has a music conservatory where non-majors can participate and take classes. Excellent academics and nice friendly student body that is tied together by an interest in music.

By Shennie (Shennie) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 04:07 pm: Edit

Lookn4norml- Your daughter should not have any trouble with being involved in a music group. The groups MAY travel once a year, but many don't even do that. There may be anywhere from 1-4 concerts a semester. You can tell how often they perform by looking at the calendar on the website of any school you are interested in. My son attends a conservatory and rehearses 2 hours a day, 3 days a week. My guess is a non-conservatory program will meet less than this. As a college student I sang in college choir and we rehearsed for an hour, 4 nights a week. My guess is there are a lot schools that will have what you are looking for. I would suggest that you look for schools that your daughter would be interested in attending and then find out what would be available for her in the music realm at each of those schools.

By Lookn4norml (Lookn4norml) on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 10:04 am: Edit

Shennie, thank you-checking the calendar had not occurred to us. Will definitely do that!

By Haon (Haon) on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 02:54 pm: Edit

Another option is looking for LACs with strong music departments.

Out of LACs I'd recommend has one of the strongest music programs out of all of the non-conservatory colleges in the country, and students of all degrees of seriousness actively participate.

Yale has a good music grad program but I've heard it's hard to become involved as a non-serious undergrad. I'd avoid schools like Oberlin or Peabody that have an affiliated conservatory or school of music (anyone other than serious students will not get the best teachers or even lessons).

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