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Articles / Applying to College / One Long Guitar Piece for Common App Arts Supplement?

One Long Guitar Piece for Common App Arts Supplement?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Oct. 16, 2008

Question: I am thinking about recording some guitar for my Common App arts supplement and ran into some questions. Mainly, it says to upload a 10-minute piece, but most guitar pieces aren't that long, so what should I do?

First, read the entire Arts Supplement instructions carefully (not a bad plan for all college directions :) ).


You will see that you are asked to, "Enclose a 10-minute CD or DVD with this form that demonstrates contrasting examples of expression and technique." (If you are using the online form--which some students claim to find more confusing than the .pdf version--then you need to direct admission staff to a Web address where they can listen to your performance.)

In other words, your 10-minute CD or DVD should not include ONE guitar piece but SEVERAL, in order to show admission committees (and, possibly, music professors, if the disc or URL is forwarded to them, as it often is) you facility with a range of music and styles.

Note also that your submission should include a list of the pieces that are on it. You must also solicit a reference from a teacher and, when you submit the supplement form, attach a résumé that summarizes your experience with your instrument, years studied, name(s) of teacher(s) or group(s), etc.(Using the online version, you will upload these required documents.)

So, again, make sure you read the form carefully and thoroughly.

Hope that the process is clearer now!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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