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Comparing Schools

Questions you might ask at each school you consider:

•Are the percussion faculty sincerely interested in having you join their program?

•Are the percussion faculty excellent performers and teachers? Have you seen their biographies? Have you heard them perform live or heard their recordings?

•Is the percussion curriculum flexible enough to adequately address your individual career goals?

•Have you been provided a complimentary private lesson and been invited to observe the percussion faculty teach private lessons? Can you study with them to help prepare your audition and assess their teaching before you commit to their program?  

•Will you study with the percussion faculty during your freshman and sophomore years? Some schools, to reduce costs, require freshman and/or sophomores to study with graduate assistants.           

•Is the percussion faculty sincerely interested in assisting in your career advisement and professional referrals? What do present students say about this? Are percussion alums rountinely invited back to campus to share their career experience with the present studio?     

•Percussion Ensemble. Are you afforded performance, touring, and recording opportunities? Will you have similar opportunities in other school of music ensembles? Have you heard these ensembles? Do they have recent recordings available for you to evaluate? 

•Instruments and facilities. Have you received a facilities tour? Are the facilities clean and well organized? Are the instruments and facilities of excellent quality? Are there enough practice rooms relative to the number of majors? What do the current students say about this?             

•Do you have info about the accomplishments of the percussion alumni and their testimonials?

Other considerations:

   Ideally, all qualified music students would receive a full music achievement scholarship. Therefore, they would not need a part-time (non-music related) job during the academic year and could dedicate all their efforts to their education and gaining professional musical experience. Realistically, however, most students must work a part-time job to finance their education. The question becomes how do you maximize your time for studies and musical experience? 

   The solution includes the following. One, prepare the best audition you can - as this is the primary determinant of music scholarships. Two, earn the highest GPA you can — as this is the primary determinant of academic scholarships and is also a requirements (minimum 3.0 GPA) for most music scholarships. Three, consider student loans as an investment in ‘time’ to pursue your education. Four, choose a teacher and university where you will be have opportunities to earn income via music related employment.

   The primary challenge for most music majors is the considerable time management issue of allocating at least 21 hours per week practice time. Considered as an aid to buy yourself time, student loans are an outstanding investment, especially considering the low interest rates and re-payments.            

   How many performance and teaching referrals will you receive from your university teachers and student colleagues? Have you asked faculty and current students about this? Professional work income is invaluable. Some students spend 15 or more hours per week working non-music related jobs to help finance their education. Although financially effective, this is not musical experience and may limit your career progress. We help our students gain musical employment opportunities to hasten their transition from student to professional musician. 


•Financial calculations:      

1. Costs:                                   

     •Tuition and out of state fees

     •Books and other student fees

     •Room and board

2. Financial assistance

     •Academic scholarships

     •Music scholarships

     •Miscellaneous scholarships

     •Student Loans

     •University work-study opportunities

     •Student income

3.  Calculations                                   

     •Costs minus financial assistance and student income = the bottom line       


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